50% CPAP Compliance & How We Can Fix It! – USA Medical Supply
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50% CPAP Compliance & How We Can Fix It!

Posted by Richard Spafford on

The National CPAP Compliance rate is around 50%. This is very significant considering Sleep Apnea is linked to higher risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, Dementia, anxiety, and depression. As providers we need to work together and patient willing to have better success. We are failing and it's not acceptable! 50% is a failing system that needs to be addressed! First and foremost, you as the patient have to be willing to give 100% to your providers to succeed. We can't force you to use your equipment but we can help you get comfortable with your equipment. A big problem I see is the high pressures that patients are getting setup with. Try sticking your head out the window at 70mph of a car and fall asleep. It's not going happen! Try sticking your head out the window at 10mph, the chances are much higher that this will happen. And that's a start. I personally have been on CPAP for 7 years. My pressure for a "normal" AHI is 15cmH20. I can't bare that pressure. I wake up constantly, I'm not compliant, etc.. I have tried what I tell my patients to do and set a RAMP of 4cmH20 for extended times to help me fall asleep. It doesn't work for me and it hasn't worked for many of my patients. We wake up as soon as that pressure gets high enough, have leak problems, over tightening straps with marks on our faces to seal a pressure that high, etc.. What is the solution? I believe the solution is setting non-compliant patients to lower settings and working up over time as tolerated. Some doctors have been on board with me with this method and others haven't. Auto-CPAP & Ramp don't work for everyone. Being perfect with diagnosing pressures is causing an imperfect result 50% of the time. In my situation, my setting is at 8cmH20 of pressure and not the 15cmH20 of pressure I should be on to have a "normal AHI". My AHI on 8cmH20 is anywhere from 8-15AHI. Still abnormal and I wish it was better so I could get the full benefits of CPAP. If I was non-compliant, I would have an AHI of 30-40 which I would be at if I couldn't change my settings. I sleep seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. I don't have my CPAP straps over tightened on my head making marks on my face that causes skin breakdown over time. I'm not waking up my wife several times a night where she has to wake me up to adjust my mask. I understand, I'm  not on a "perfect setting" or have a "normal AHI", but I've cut it in half and I am reaping the benefits of that. After all, that's better than nothing. I don't recommend anyone do anything until you have talked with your doctor or health care provider as every situation is different. Many times people can be setup with a wrong type of mask, wrong size, and it could be the patient just giving you no effort at all! You have to be proactive in your own healthcare and the healthcare of your loved ones. We aren't going to do it for you or force you to be compliant but we will be there for you every step of the way and work with you to help you succeed. I hope most of the Doctors, PA's, Nurse Practitioner's, Patients, & the rest of our healthcare system consider this type of approach as we are all failing 50% of the time. Thank you.

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