Can Using a CPAP Machine Cause Sinus Problems?

Can Using a CPAP Machine Cause Sinus Problems?

Many new CPAP users may experience nasal congestion or sinus infections. While using a CPAP machine does not cause sinus problems, sleep apnea and your sinuses both impact the quality of your sleep.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, is an inflammation of the lining of the sinus tissue. Your sinuses are located on the forehead and on each cheek. When they become obstructed, they fill with mucus, which can lead to infection. Sinusitis affects 1 out of every 7 adults in the United States, with more than 30 million individuals diagnosed each year.1

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that prevents breathing due to an obstruction or blocked airway. Sinusitis affects the nasal passages, making it difficult to breathe through the nose. While no significant evidence suggests that sleep apnea and sinusitis are causally related, a patient diagnosed with both may have difficulty sleeping, even with CPAP therapy.

How to Prevent Sinus Infections

The good news is that sinus infections are temporary. If you find that you are prone to sinus infections, follow these tips:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Use steam to open nasal passages
  • Sleep with your head elevated
  • Use a humidifier in your home

How to Prevent Sinus Infections with CPAP

If you believe that your CPAP machine is the cause of your sinus problems, you may want to thoroughly clean your equipment. Ensure that your CPAP filters are inspected and changed regularly. Replace damaged or wet filters immediately.

Clean your mask, cushion and tubing daily. Clean all mask parts with warm water and a mild detergent, making sure to rinse them thoroughly and let them dry completely before using them again. Alternatively, products such as CPAP wipes and CPAP sanitizers are helpful tools to keep your equipment clean.

Lastly, if you are using a CPAP humidifier, be sure to dispose of any leftover water each morning. Warm, moist environments like humidifiers are a breeding ground for bacteria that may make you sick. Wash your humidifier regularly with warm, soapy water and make sure it is completely dry before reassembling.

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