Signs that your CPAP machine is not working or needs an adjustment


Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is widely considered the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea . When configured correctly and used consistently, it is very effective, although tolerance and compliance can become an issue early on.

It can be easy to tell when a CPAP machine is working, but what are the signs that it is no longer working? Let's look at some of the top signs that your CPAP machine and equipment may need to be adjusted or replaced. Here are some of the most typical scenarios.

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The CPAP machine just doesn't work

If the machine just won't turn on, it is clearly not working properly. When connected to a network, most CPAP machines can be turned on with the push of a button. If you set a specific setting, some devices will even start working if you breathe multiple times with the mask attached.

If the CPAP simply remains off or does not generate any airflow, you should take the device to your equipment supplier for evaluation. This could indicate that the device needs repair or replacement, especially if it stopped working after a fall.

While this is the most obvious sign that CPAP is compromised, there may be other signs that something is wrong:

  • If the heated humidifier reservoir does not need to be refilled more often than every 2-3 days, this may mean adjusting the temperature and humidity settings.
  • If the water never comes out, the humidifier may not work at all.
  • If the heating plate under the water chamber does not heat up, this can be a problem. Some evaporation will occur as air passes over the water, but it will generally occur much more slowly if the heating element is not working.
  • If the air feels unpleasantly cold, this could be another indication of your dysfunction.
  • If you have a hot tub and the water is condensing inside it, this may indicate that the humidity setting is too high or that the tubing is not connected properly or is simply not working.
  • The unit may also become louder or not provide enough airflow, often less than before.

Are you still snoring or do you have sleep apnea?

Snoring should never occur with adequate CPAP pressure. If the CPAP device is configured correctly, the constant flow of air will prevent destruction of the airway, in addition to eliminating the tissue vibration that causes snoring.

If you snore with a CPAP mask and the mask doesn't leak, talk to your doctor. Increasing pressure will probably be necessary to be fully effective.

Also, observed pauses in breathing or episodes when you wake up gasping or gasping when using the product are signs that the pressure is not adjusted correctly.

The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) shows the number of respiratory disorders that occur per hour of sleep. If the AHI is greater than 5, which can sometimes appear on the CPAP display in the morning or in related applications, the pressure should be increased.

If you have these difficulties, you should talk to your sleep doctor about how to adjust your pressure.

You feel worse

Some people notice a significant improvement when they use CPAP over a period of several days or weeks. This can result in fewer awakenings, more restful sleep, less daytime sleepiness, or better concentration, short-term memory, or mood.

In the long term, they may improve other conditions associated with untreated sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure, heart failure, or diabetes .

If the symptoms that led you to be evaluated for sleep apnea return, this may indicate that CPAP is not working optimally and you should speak with your doctor.

The most common complaint is the return of excessive daytime sleepiness , often with prolonged or frequent daytime sleep. This could be due to an unrecognized mask leak or even insufficient treatment pressure.

Weight gain, alcohol consumption before bedtime, and aging can lead to the need to increase CPAP pressure. Therefore, if you find that your symptoms have returned , check with your healthcare professional to see if the situation can be improved by changing the settings .

Your CPAP machine is getting old

Unfortunately, CPAP machines don't last forever. If your car starts to make a strange sound, doesn't seem to be generating the same pressure it used to, or is temperamental for some other reason, it might be time to replace the device.

Generally, most insurance companies pay to replace a CPAP machine every 5 years.

These devices have a certain degree of obsolescence, which means that they will gradually begin to fail and it will be necessary to replace them with a new one.

Therefore, if your CPAP is old enough and not working properly, it should be replaced. Fortunately, newer models tend to be quieter, more advanced, and often easier to use than previous generations of equipment.

Get the word of drug information

If you think your CPAP machine is not working properly, don't be quiet. Call your team provider or sleep specialist and get your treatment back on track.

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