You have just been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and just like any other person diagnosed with a specific disease, you are searching about the side effects and potential risks of the prescribed therapy. In this case, it’s using a CPAP machine. When you are new to CPAP therapy, you might stress out thinking about the side effects and infections caused by using a CPAP. Various studies show that using a CPAP machine that hasn’t been properly sanitized can cause respiratory and sinus infections and allergic reactions such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and runny nose. But can CPAP cause pneumonia? If so, how and why? Here we will address these questions and find out if CPAP can cause pneumonia, and if it does, how to prevent it.
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Before we dive into answering the question can CPAP cause pneumonia, let’s discuss what pneumonia is and how it affects your body.
According to WHO, pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The lungs are formed of tiny sacs, which are also called alveoli. These alveoli fill up with air when a healthy person breathes. However, when a person suffers from pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, making breathing difficult and limiting oxygen intake.
Pneumonia is a serious lung infection and can affect older adults, as they are at an increased risk of getting an infection compared to other age groups. According to the CDC, there are about 150,000 hospitalizations for pneumonia every year in the US.
According to a research paper published in NCBI, of 34, 100 patients (6,816 study patients and 27,284), 2,757 (8.09%) experienced pneumonia during a mean follow-up of 4.5 years, including 9.36% study patients and 7.77% controls. Patients with sleep apnea experienced a 1.20-fold increase in incidents of pneumonia after multivariate adjustment. Patients who received CPAP therapy had an even higher risk of getting infected. So CPAP can cause pneumonia, but why? We know that a poorly maintained and improperly cleaned CPAP machine, hose, and mask can lead to bronchitis, respiratory infections, and sinus infections. As noted in this study, CPAP equipment can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. As a result, pneumonia might develop.
Regular cleaning of your CPAP equipment is the best way to avoid pneumonia or other infections. Here are some additional ways to reduce your risk:
Replacing accessories as and when needed should also be considered. Follow mask replacement protocols to prevent your mask from becoming a source of bacteria. Keep your CPAP machine clean. Clean humidifier water chambers and hoses according to manufacturer’s instructions. You can also use sanitizers, sprays, and mask wipes for easier, faster cleaning in between thorough cleanings. Understand the different types of CPAP filters. Changing your CPAP filters as recommended by the manufacturer will minimize the growth of harmful bacteria in your equipment. Putting distilled water in the humidifier also reduces the risk of infection.
Cleaning a CPAP machine is essential for the health of your respiratory system and the machine itself. Dirty, clogged devices can lead to infection and even pneumonia. If you’re unsure about when and how to start cleaning your CPAP equipment, try a fast and easy-to-use automatic ozone or UV cleaner from CleanCPAP. These cleaners are highly efficient, killing 99%+ germs, so you know you’re getting an effective clean to slash your risk of getting an infection or maybe even pneumonia. Shop for these automatic, highly efficient, and hassle-free cleaners today!