Sleep Apnea

Is the pressure range of your CPAP machines too high? How to fix it?

Things to Consider Before Buying CPAP Machines (6)

Is the pressure range of your CPAP machines too high? How to fix it?

Are you suffering from sleep apnea? Has your doctor suggested you opt for CPAP therapy? Then you need to have sound knowledge regarding the pressure range of the machine to ensure very effective therapy. A high-pressure range is usually recommended for patients with severe sleep apnea. Having unnecessary pressure range without the proper need of it will cause irritations and hamper the effectiveness of your treatment. Thus, here is how you know about the pressure range of your CPAP machines and how do you fix it.

What is the average range of pressure for your Sleep apnea therapy?

As you first switch to using the CPAP therapy for your sleep apnea, your doctor is going to suggest the titration process for the therapy to determine the required pressure range to prescribe you. This means that you need to test different levels of pressure for your therapy until you discover your ideal therapeutic pressure range for your treatment. 

The average range of machines can easily auto-adjust between the range of 4-20 centimeters of water. CmH2O is regarded as the unit for the measurement of the pressure range in the CPAP machines. 1 CmH2O is the amount of air pressure is needed for raising the column of the water by 1 centimeter in the machine. If the pressure is set for 10 CmH2O, then it is going to be similar for drinking water using a 10-centimeter straw.

The most common pressure setting for a CPAP machine is 10 CmH2O, and the average pressure level is used for treating the moderate level of obstructive sleep apnea that ranges between 6-15 cmH2O. A person with severe symptoms needs to have a higher pressure setting of the 4-20 range.

On the other hand, Central Sleep Apnea is another type of sleep apnea that is going to need a lower pressure setting than the range of four. In case you need a BiPAP machine, you are going to need a pressure setting of more than 20 CmH2O. If you are struggling with your exhaling while using the CPAP machine, then you need to reconsider the pressure range setting of the device. 

How do you determine that your CPAP machine pressure needs an adjustment?

Your CPAP machines need to have to check up regularly. Often poor quality of sleep or feeling sick quite often are also the signs that you are not receiving effective treatment.

Another pressure-related problem that you can face is, waking up from your set CPAP pressure. If such happens, then you need to re-adjust your pressure setting. Also, such problems are quite common for new users. Some of the new CPAP wearers repost waking up without their mask on, which can also hamper the effectiveness of the treatment.

Therefore, it is important to visit your doctor regularly so that you may know if you need a re-adjustment or not.

Are there any side effects of the higher pressure setting?

Yes, receiving a higher pressure range for a long time without any need for it can lead you to some of the potential threats. Here are what can happen:

  • Drying out of your mouth due to the high-pressure range, even if you are having heated humidification
  • Continuous air leak from the mask
  • Swallowing of air due to the high pressure, which can result in bloating, gas, stomach cramp, etc.
  • Feeling tired or fatigued during the daytime.

How do you adjust your CPAP pressure?

It is not at all recommended to adjust your CPAP machine pressure on your own. Always ask your physician if you are having any trouble with the current pressure range.

Also, you can opt for an auto-adjusting CPAP machine which is automatically going to switch to your required pressure range for your therapy. Also, look for the ramp feature while buying a machine that is going to help in adjusting the pressure range as per your suitability.


Your treatment is only going to be successful when you are feeling comfortable with the pressure range. Thus make sure you are only switching to the higher pressure range when it is necessary. If you are feeling uncomfortable, then immediately meet your doctor to reexamine the required pressure range for your treatment.

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