CPAP Frustration on The Morning Blend

CPAP Frustration
Reviewed by
Published on
July 12, 2021
Updated on
September 2, 2021

Dr. Kandula went on The Morning Blend to answer some viewer questions about CPAP frustration in hopes of more people getting the right treatment for this vastly under-diagnosed disease.

-And welcome back. Well, anyone who has difficulty with a CPAP machine can relate to this image, look at him. He's like, ah! The sad reality here is that one in three CPAP users has success. That's very low, which leads to a sense of hopelessness for the rest. So in today's Sleep Well, Breathe Well series with ADVENT CEO and Founder, Madan Kandula. We'll answer viewer questions about CPAP frustration to bring back hope. Good morning to you, doctor.

-Good morning. How are you doing?

-I'm doing well, but you know what? That statistic and that image probably relates to a lot of people, right? Like one in three, what is that, 34%, something like that, has success. Is that true?

-Yeah, that's true. It's horrible. It's it's atrocious. But it is the world we live in, unfortunately. Yeah.

-Wow. Okay. So I want to get to some of these Facebook answers or questions because I think people truly do struggle with this. They need to breathe well, right? Because this can lead to some serious health issues and CPAP is not a one-size-fits-all. You can attest to that.

-Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean most folks who have sleep apnea, that's really the only option that's given to them. And, and it isn't a one-size-fits-all. There are many options for folks who have sleep apnea and really, you know, the reason we exist, as a practice, is trying to get to the root cause and solve those problems.

-Well, and that really goes with our first question from Facebook. Someone says, "I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but only offered a CPAP. Is that common?"

-Yeah, that is almost always will that be the case. And that's sorta where that stat comes from. So the atrociousness of the success rates with CPAP partly comes back to the fact that it is used as a weapon. So a tool can be used for good, or it can be used for ill, but all too often, a CPAP machine is just thrown at somebody and not explained the conditions, not explained the reason for needing to use this is not explained. And then you combine that with the fact and the reality that most people who have sleep apnea have noses that don't really work as well as they should. It's a problem. So it's sort of like, you know, the equation as it currently exists equals that 33% success rate. So if you want to change the result, you need to change the equation.

-Yeah. Because if you're just blowing air up your nose and it's sort of being blocked back, that's going to be really uncomfortable too. Okay. The next question is, "I try to sleep with my CPAP, but often wake up with it off and don't remember taking it off. How is that possible?"

-It is. You're asleep. You know, it's that simple. I mean, you're asleep. You're having something, you have something on your face. It is foreign. I mean, you know, we, as human beings, aren't used to necessarily sleeping with something on top of us. Folks who have sleep apnea have a throat that's shutting down. So the CPAP machine is holding that throat open. So that's what's happening. But you're asleep, you know? I mean, I can attest to the fact that, you know, everybody moves when they sleep at night. And a lot of times you sort of might swipe at your face. You might take that mask and you might move it off. And you might not be aware of it. It happens all the time.

-It's like people with a retainer and they throw it in the middle of the night and they're like, "where's my retainer?" when they wake up. The same, same concept. Right? Yeah. Okay. The next one is, "if I'm on a CPAP now, does that mean I always have to be on one?"

-Possibly. So, I mean, there are other options than a CPAP machine. If you have a CPAP machine by definition, your throat is too small for your body. And so unless there's another way to change that situation, the machine, if you're able to use it and it's working well for you, may very well be something that's along for the ride with you other options, other than the CPAP machine, there are oral appliances, which are like retainers that you wear when you're sleeping at night. That's an option for folks who aren't really a big fan of a CPAP machine. And then there are procedures that we could do both to treat the sleep apnea as well as to make a CPAP machine or other appliances work better.

-Okay. So that goes with this question, too. It says, "is there anything that can be done to make my CPAP work better for me?"

-Yeah. I mean, the number one cause for CPAP failure is putting a CPAP machine on somebody whose nose doesn't work properly for them. So back to that equation, if you go back to the equation, you say, oh, we could do something simple to get somebody who knows working all of a sudden a CPAP machine that you may be fighting tends to work really, really well. So CPAP is not a bad thing. CPAP is not an enemy. When it's not working, it's just a problem that can almost always be solved by just really starting at square one. The nose is the start of your airway. If your nose is not working properly, nothing else downstream is going to work as optimally as possible, including a CPAP machine. So, you know, again, it's really just putting one and one together and you know, helping folks out, like, I think it is truly atrocious that CPAP machines are sort of thrown at people and people are made to feel sort of bad about the fact that they're not able to use them. That's not right. That's not good medicine. And there are better ways to do things.

-Absolutely. And this one I want you to address for the partner because they say, "my partner hates their CPAP machine and refuses to use it. Do you have any advice?"

-Yeah. I mean, that's an unfortunate reality for a lot of folks. And so your partner is suffering when they're sleeping at night, a CPAP machine is an attempt, it's sort of a life preserver to throw to somebody. And if they're not willing to take that you're watching somebody's life sort of slowly diminish before your eyes. That's not good. And so really it leaves people, both folks feeling helpless. So the person that maybe should be using the CPAP machine, but finds reason that they can't use it. And that person that's sort of laying next to them, or, you know, trying to lay next to them, watching them suffer. It's miserable. It's miserable for everybody involved. And there's nothing good about that. And I've said this before, but it's true, I can't think of another medical condition that impacts not just the individual, it draws others into this vortex and without a pathway out, it's both frightening and it's scary. It's something that's just, it's frustrating too. And it's frustrating. And we talked about this before, from a snoring standpoint, it drives a wedge between individuals. It drives a wedge between couples and it's just not right.

-Absolutely. And I think the biggest thing is you got to fix it because like you said, their life can diminish because of it. So thank you so much for joining us, doctor. It was so great to see you.

-Absolutely. Good to be here. Thank you very much.

-Absolutely. Here's what you gotta do. Go to You can schedule online in just 60 seconds. Most insurances are accepted. There's no referral that's required. And there's five Milwaukee area locations. There's Tosa, Mequon, Oconomowoc, Oak Creek, and Pleasant Prairie. And then they also have offices in Appleton and Illinois, but get your loved one help or help for yourself, as well.

First published by ADVENT on
July 12, 2021
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CPAP Frustration on The Morning Blend