CPAP Machines – How to Tell If the CPAP Pressure Is Too High

CPAP Machines – How to Tell If the CPAP Pressure Is Too High

When it comes to CPAP machines, it’s important to get the pressure at just the right setting. When the pressure is set properly you’ll have a much easier time getting used to the CPAP therapy. Sometimes adjustments will need to be made to the pressure and it may take some time to get it right. There isn’t really a right pressure setting or a wrong one. The right pressure is the one that gives you a good night’s sleep and keeps your breathing regulated.

There is an ideal setting for you and it’s important that you take the time to find it. This will ensure that you are getting the effective, safe and comfortable CPAP therapy that you require to keep you healthy and this will also prevent any unwanted side effects from occurring.

The Average Pressure for CPAP Canada Machines

The average CPAP machines are able to make automatic adjustments when there is a reading of cmH2O. This means that there is anywhere from 4 to 20 cm of water in the tank. Cmh20 is a unit of measurement that calculates the amount of pressure in the CPAP machine and the pressure of water based on how many centimetres of water are in the unit. One cmH2O is how much air pressure would be required to make a water column rise by 1 cm.

With this in mind, the average pressure for CPAP Canada machines is 10 cmH2O. If a person is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, however, the average is anywhere from 6 cmH2O – 15 cmH2O. You may be prescribed a pressure that falls within this range or you may need a lower or a higher pressure. Your doctor will prescribe a recommended setting for you and may later consider a new sleep test based on your feedback.

What Happens If the CPAP Pressure Is Too High?

If the pressure has been set too high on your CPAP machine you may find that it is difficult to exhale properly. Usually this occurs when the setting required is higher than 20 cmH2O. In this scenario, the doctor may recommend a BiPAP machine. This type of device allows for different settings to be made for inhalation and exhalation. The person would have a higher setting for inhaling and a lower setting for exhaling. 

The highest setting found on most CPAP Canada machines is 20 cmH2O. This can vary depending on the model you choose. 

If you find that you are waking up during the night, this may be an indication that the pressure has been set too high. It can be difficult to know if this is the case when you are just starting out with CPAP therapy, however, since many people that are using it for the first few times may wake up anyway. They simply aren’t used to the mask being on their faces. If you find yourself waking up and you are new to your CPAP treatment, it’s best to keep going to see if the problem continues. If it does, it’s time to talk to your doctor and let him know what is happening.

If you find that you are still waking constantly but feel that you have gotten used to the CPAP therapy, your doctor may ask you to undergo another titration study. It may be that your CPAP pressure needs to be tweaked in order to give you a more comfortable sleep.

Some of the most common issues that sleep apnea sufferers run into due to a CPAP pressure that is too high include the following:

  • Significant mask air leaks
  • Feeling tired and lethargic during the day
  • Dry throat and mouth even when using the humidity chamber
  • Stomach cramps, gas and bloating due to swallowing air during the night
  • CSA, which indicates that the brain is sending out faulty breathing signals

If you notice any of these side effects you should contact your physician. If the air pressure is too high or too low, you won’t get the benefits you would expect from your CPAP therapy.

Can CPAP Masks Cause the Problem?

In some cases you may be experiencing a problem with your mask. If your mask isn’t fitting right it can affect the amount of pressure that you are receiving. If the CPAP mask isn’t fitting right you will not receive the right amount of pressure that was prescribed for you. Mask leaks are not uncommon and can cause a low pressure. Pay special attention to how your mask is fitting to determine whether there are any leaks with it. You should not be able to feel any air blowing on your cheeks, chin or eyes when using your CPAP mask.

It’s important to find the right mask that works for you based on your facial structure. Sometimes it can be a case of trial and error until you find the right one that works best. There are many different types of masks available and finding the right one can make all the difference in the world in terms of your CPAP treatment. Getting a new mask is a small price to pay when you consider all of the wonderful benefits that are available from CPAP therapy.

Can I Adjust the Pressure on My CPAP Machine?

You shouldn’t adjust the pressure on your own and should wait for the advice from your doctor. He will arrange a new titration study for you to assess the proper pressure level. You can also talk with your physician about the option of switching over to a CPAP machine that adjusts automatically. This is called an APAP machine and it adjusts the pressure level for you automatically based on certain algorithms.

When you use an APAP machine the chance of experiencing a pressure that isn’t right for you is much lower. These are great machines but just make sure that your doctor says it is okay for you to get this device before making the investment in one.

For more information about CPAP machines and how they work please visit our website now at

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