Can a CPAP Machine Damage Your Lungs | The Sentinel Group

If you or someone you love relies on a CPAP machine to open their airways, ease breathing, and sleep soundly, they might also experience damage to their lungs. This dangerous side effect can happen when a CPAP machine is dirty, or bacteria in the machine leads to infection or irritation. 

The machine can also cause damage when improper pressure levels result in more air being pushed the into lungs than a person can comfortably handle. 

You can fight for justice after suffering damage to your lungs from your CPAP

Our network of mass tort attorneys is committed to helping clients who suffer from these or any other types of lung issues. When our team represents you, we help you prove the correlation between your use of the machinery and your adverse health diagnosis. 

We also help you create a list of your recoverable damages and assign them a monetary value. Our team will prepare your case for compensation and negotiate with the machine’s manufacturer for financial compensation.

What is a CPAP system, and why is one needed?

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is designed and prescribed to help treat sleep apnea in various forms. According to Mayo Clinic research, the most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA causes the muscles in your throat to relax and contract at irregular levels. This can cause you to snore and make it difficult to get good, restful sleep.

If you suffer from OSA, you might experience symptoms that include:

  • Dry mouth 
  • Sore throat
  • Mood changes
  • Extreme snoring
  • Decreased libido
  • Gasping or choking
  • Disrupted breathing 
  • High blood pressure
  • Headache on waking
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Sleepiness and fatigue 

Further Mayo Clinic research cites the CPAP’s ability to eliminate snoring and prevent sleep apnea among the benefits of using it. The device delivers a continuous air supply through a specialized mask to maintain open airways and passages. A CPAP machine is often prescribed to treat OSA and maintain a positive airway while you sleep.

How does a CPAP machine work?

A CPAP machine has a motor that generates a constant pressurized air stream. It moves through the machine and its air filter into a length of tubing. Your doctor will fit the mask you use with the machine to form an airtight seal. It is worn over your nose and mouth and works by:

  • Directing a steady stream of purified air through its mask
  • Removing anything blocking your airway with pressurized air
  • Opening your lungs to deliver a sufficient oxygen level

While all CPAP machines have the same internal and mechanical parts and elements, they can have different mask types. Your medical team will customize the mask you use for you to accommodate your:

  • Specific breathing pattern
  • Personal comfort level
  • The type of sleep disorder you were diagnosed with

The type of mask worn on your face can include

  • Nasal pillow mask
  • Nasal mask 
  • Full mask

Our attorney network will review your medical records and examine your CPAP machine to determine which type of mask you were prescribed and whether or not your device has any defects or bacterial contamination.

Tips for beginning users

Adjusting to the daily use of CPAP therapy can be challenging for new users. If your device is not used properly, it can lead to leaks in an improperly fitted mask, difficulty sleeping, and a persistent dry mouth. The following tips can help beginning users master the device:

  • Ask about a machine that slowly increases air pressure
  • Work with your prescriber to ensure your mask fits properly
  • Wear your CPAP mask during the day to adjust to its feel
  • Request a chin strap to hold your mouth in a closed position
  • Consider investing in a CPAP-heated humidifier, if needed
  • Ensure your air filter is meticulously clean and free of blockage

Mayo Clinic research and guidance point to these tips and recommend a careful and patient adjustment to the use of your CPAP machine. If you continue to have a hard time managing your machine, your prescriber can help you cope by adjusting your machine’s settings.

The reality of CPAP machines and their potential health concerns

CPAP machines are intended to promote healthy sleep and improve lung health. If using your machine causes a different ailment or otherwise damages your lungs, you could be entitled to financial compensation. 

According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall information, certain makes and models of CPAP machines can cause potential health concerns because of the foam they contain. Sound abatement foam reduces your CPAP’s sound, and vibration during use can break down and become lodged in the machine’s air path. When that happens, debris and chemicals from the foam and device can be swallowed or inhaled.

Human error can lead to some CPAP machines causing harm to patient lungs. This can happen because the machines are not, or cannot be properly cleaned. If you cannot properly clean your machine and your lungs are damaged due to bacteria contamination, our team can help you seek compensation from the device’s builder.

What are the potential side effects of using a CPAP machine?

CPAP machines can help relieve snoring and make it easier for you to sleep soundly at night. As beneficial as the device is, it can also cause potential health care issues and concerns. Some reported concerns include rapid bacteria and mold growth in the device’s components which can damage your lungs and overall health in myriad ways.

Additional side effects of using a CPAP machine include:

  • Machines that force too much air into your upper airways and lungs and cause your stomach to fill with air
  • A leaky mask affects your eyes and can cause dry eyes, ocular abrasions, glaucoma, and periodic conjunctivitis.

Bacteria growth and lung infection can damage your lungs and require costly and extensive treatments. Our network of mass tort attorneys will help you build a personal injury case for financial compensation against the manufacturer of your CPAP machine.

If I already have lung disease, can a CPAP make it worse?

If you or someone you love is already struggling to breathe and sleep comfortably because of lung disease, a malfunctioning CPAP device can worsen your already damaged health. Two commonly diagnosed forms of lung disease include interstitial lung disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

According to Mayo Clinic research, either of these conditions can cause difficulty breathing, chronic dry cough, and shortness of breath. A CPAP device can lead to further lung deterioration if:

  • It is not or cannot be thoroughly cleaned
  • It is contaminated with dirt and bacteria
  • It has faulty or breakaway abatement foam

Other CPAP device issues might also harm your lung health. A CPAP machine is supposed to provide a steady but light, continual airflow. When the machine’s air pressure is more than your lungs can tolerate, your lungs might become damaged. When our team handles your case, our attorneys will help you prove its correlation and your lung disease.

Can a CPAP damage or weaken your lungs?

If a sleep specialist prescribed a CPAP machine to make you sleep snore-free and more deeply and comfortably, it can be distressing to find out it made your health worse. One of the ways this can happen is by introducing bacteria from damaged or dislodged sound abatement foam into the machine’s mechanism. The resulting mold can damage your airway and weaken your lungs. 

If the medical device introduces too much air, too much air pressure, or too dry air, it can also cause damage by posing a risk of infection. This can result in:

  • Increased risk of infection
  • Inflammation in your airway 
  • Dangerous mold and bacteria

You might also experience irritation of your lungs and airway, a prolonged and irritating cough, and bronchitis or pneumonia, which can further weaken or damage your lungs. If this happens because of CPAP pressures or your device’s pressure setting, you could be in line for compensation along with other plaintiffs who were injured in similar ways by the same dangerous device or its components.

Can you get lung damage from too much CPAP pressure?

When your CPAP is not calibrated correctly or sends too much pressurized air into your lungs, you might experience a range of negative side effects. Soreness and lung damage from hyperinflation is only one of the ways the CPAP machine might damage your lungs from too much air pressure. 

Your health care provider should explain the pressure level of your machine according to your specific health care condition, type of mask on your face, and other important factors. If you sustained lung damage, our team of attorneys would help you explore your health care and compensation options.

You depended on your CPAP treatment to regulate and ease your breathing pattern after falling asleep. If it worsened your health, our network could help. Our attorneys will carefully review your medical records to date and consult with CPAP experts to prove the medical device caused a deterioration in your health that entitles you to financial compensation. 

Does using a CPAP machine weaken the lungs?

Exposure to harmful bacteria and chemicals from a faulty CPAP machine can damage or weaken your lungs over time. Lung weakness can also occur from sound abatement foam or other parts or a dirty machine.  

Because CPAP is a common treatment for lung diseases like COPD and disorders like various forms of sleep apnea. So, you may already be vulnerable by the time a CPAP device is prescribed.

Our network of personal injury and multi-client attorneys will help you prove the impact a CPAP machine has on your health. We will also:

  • Help you document your related diagnosis
  • Collect supportive evidence
  • Build your case for compensation if your CPAP machine is on an FDA recall list
  • You received or were issued a faulty mask
  • Your machine’s calibration forces too much air into your lungs

How can I prevent getting sick from using a CPAP machine?

Whether using a CPAP machine is a new experience or you have been using one for a long period, the experience can be overwhelming. In some instances, the device’s full face mask can lead to feelings of claustrophobia that make effective use of the machine a challenge. 

You can avoid getting sick from the use of your CPAP machine by:

  • Using distilled water only 
  • Not letting water sit in the machine long
  • Regularly replacing masks and filters

You should also regularly replace CPAP parts and components even if they seem fully functional. That includes nasal masks, nasal pillows, and device cushions. In addition, you should avoid sharing equipment with other CPAP users and avoid purchasing used parts that might have hidden issues or concerns. These beneficial tips ensures your device provides its purported health benefits without risks.

Tips to limit the possibility of illness

One of the best methods of limiting the possibility of illness or discomfort while using your CPAP machine is to have open and frank conversations with your healthcare provider. Additional tips that help promote the product and patient safety include:

  • Being patient while your body adjusts to the device
  • Using a humidifier to avoid throat infections
  • Asking your doctor to adjust your machine’s pressure as needed
  • Using a mask barrier to protect sensitive skin
  • Wearing a properly fitted mask to avoid a damaging air leak
  • Thoroughly and frequently clean your CPAP machine

You should also avoid the potential illnesses resulting from harmful fungus or mold. In addition, work closely with your prescriber to ensure your machine’s settings are optimized for your specific needs.

Contact one of our team members today to discuss CPAP defect damages

Were you or someone your love prescribed a CPAP machine? If you suffered from harmful side effects that damaged your lungs and health, you could be entitled to monetary recovery of your resulting damages. 

Fill out our contact form today for help with your case or to learn more about how you can bring the manufacturer to account.