Claustraphobia and CPAP
Added: Sun. Jan 06, 2013 11:46pm
Posted in: Health
One of the first issues I hear when a person comes into a
sleep lab to be introduced to a CPAP is that they have claustrophobia; that you
cannot stand to have anything on your face.
There is always an excuse for not tolerating therapy. Most of the reason has to do with feeling out
of control. There are so many ways that
can create a successful experience.
Let’s start with the mask.
It is probably the most important piece of equipment you will use and
the easiest to change. If you are unable
to use the mask during the night of your study tell your tech, however, what
usually happens is that they use the mask for 1-3 days at home and find that it
is not the best mask for them. It may
move too much causing leaks, it might cause your skin to mark or breakdown, it
might make your eyes dry; all these issues can be handles with a change of
mask. It is also common for people who
are claustrophobic to be much more successful with a full face mask due to the
ability to breathe through both the nose and mouth which will make anyone more
comfortable. Your insurance will pay for
replacement mask during the first thirty days of the therapy. After the first thirty days a new mask must
be ordered. At many centers they will
allow you to trial or borrow masks to find one that will work for you.
Knowing how to perform relaxation techniques will allow you
to be successful when you are trying to fall asleep the first few days. It can also help on days where your stress
level is high. The two techniques I have
found that help are progressive relaxation.
This is easy to learn and allows you to focus on relaxing as well as
helping you to focus your thinking.
- Start at your feet and tighten them as tight as you can, hold for the count
of ten and then allow them to relax and go limp
- Progressively move up the body focusing on one
muscle group at a time.
- To reach the top of your head should be having
spent about 10 minutes on deep breathing and your muscles may be relaxed. This centered concentration helps increase
oxygen levels and allows the mind to camp down preparing it for bed.
Diaphragmatic breathing is another exercise that will allow
you to relax and breathe deeply with a technique that takes focus. Lie flat on your back with your hand on your
stomach just below your ribs. As you
take a slow deep breath in push your hand out; when you exhale draw in your abdominal
muscles so you are pulling your hand in.
I usually like to hold the breath 3-5 second between peak inhalation and
exhalation. Having to concentrate allows
the mind to calm and it increases the oxygen level from doing nice slow
If relaxation techniques do not work for you medication or
working with a councilor that practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Your physical can help you to find assistance
that will work for you. It is not
unusual for someone to need a little extra support, this is long term therapy
and sometimes it takes a little time to become compliant with it.
Some accessories can help you with some of the small
issues. Chin Up strips can help a mouth
breather minimize the leak. A Gecko will
help with sores on the nose and leaks into the eyes. A heated hose might help with mouth
Overall working with a patient technologist or physician is
the best way to be successful when using PAP.
The more you communicate about your issues the sooner a solution to help
you be successful on your machine, and sleeping a healthy sleep.
Amy Korn-Reavis is dedicated to helping people achieve better health through
better sleep. She is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Registered Sleep
Technologist in practice since 1987 with a primary focus on helping people
solving their sleep issues and mentoring new technologists. you can write her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bettersleepcoach.com
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