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General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
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CPAP for athletic training?

Postby Guest on Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:15 am

While I've found several articles online showing that nocturnal CPAP use in those with sleep apnea improves the patient's blood pressure, sleep quality (workout recovery), and lung performance (several measurements)... it seems that CPAP can also improve the endurance of athletes using CPAP while exercising (stationary bikes and 7-10 cmH20 used in one study).

Most of these studies focus on people with breathing problems, and the CPAP basically looks like it's allowing the individuals to perform at levels they would without the breathing obstruction, although one study hypothesized the CPAP increased the subjects endurance due to reduced inhalation efforts... hinting at, not not explicitly stating it's possible use as a training aid.

My question is whether anyone here:
a) is aware of a study showing effects of CPAP use during exercise in individuals with no breathing problems (i.e. say a sleep-apnea patient using his CPAP to elongate his training till fatigue)
b) has used / is using their CPAP as a training aid (in addition to nightly apnea treatment).

Yes, I understand this is not their intended use, though the studies are out there, and the pressures used in such studies are consistently about 4-10cm H2O... which should be doable by a regular CPAP.

I assume the increased respiration rate and hence volumes result in much higher flow rates than a CPAP machine would see with a sleeping patient, but how much more is a bit subjective. I'm curious if a nocturnal treatment CPAP is able to maintain a positive pressure for an athlete while training. Maybe notching up the CPAP to higher settings could get the CPAP to keep up with the flow rate / volumes needed for exercising athletes.

If this IS possible... I'm curious to know if there is an increase in O2 absorption in the lungs from the denser gas, or wether the increases stated in the studies I've seen were strictly from reduced energy consumption from the easier breathing. If the gas exchange rate does go up (one study mentioned a higher anaerobic threshold level using a CPAP) this may even be useful for lactic-acid recovery.

I was previously on a national team where we used Polar Heart Rate monitors for monitoring our training (both during and after) and am curious if my new CPAP may have an "undocumented use" I could use with my fancy Polar S810i. :)

I know it seems dumb on the surface, but there are niche sports communities where an extra 30 minutes of training capability per day would be a miracle... and I figured if anyone's seen, heard, or tried this they'd probably be here. :)


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CPAP/Athletics

Postby bgalb on Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:49 pm

It should be easy to prove or disprove some of the Ideas you have mentioned concerning using CPAP while doing exercise by using a recording oximeter with and without the CPAP during the same type and duration of exercise.

My suspicion is that there would be little or no benefit from using the CPAP, especially if the person is a mouth breather during exercise.


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Postby S-Dubya on Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:15 pm

I don't think XPAP would make a difference in someone who does not have apnea. XPAP provides a benefit to those of us with apnea because it ensures we get the O2 we are starving for.

There is only so much air that the lungs can hold. Anything extra is lost from the exhaust vents. The advantage an athlete would be looking for is to increase the O2 in his/her blood. XPAP does not increase the amount of O2 in the room air. So, with the lungs at capacity you really aren't adding anything significant.

I'm no doctor, but that's my logic.

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Postby Guest on Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:14 pm

True it doesn't change the O2 concentration in air at STP (standard pressure), but I'm curious how much affect the pressurized air will have on O2 absorption which is passive and based solely on concentration levels.

Pressurizing to atmospheric (~1030cm H2O) + 20cmH2O would increase O2 concentration by 2% and reduce abdominal muscle fatigue as mentioned earlier allowing you to burn calories in striated muscle groups instead of the smooth muscle diaphram.

As mentioned in the other thread this wouldn't help with the diaphram strength, as endurance athletes who want to work on that train at high altitudes (low pressure = low O2 concentration), in oxygen depreviation systems. I even have an interesting mouth-piece training tool that has a valve to adjust vent pressure and requires to you push and pull air harder than normal (wish I had that when I was competing!).



My main question I guess is whether anyone's seen studies on this that break down the actual increase in blood O2 levels a CPAP "supercharger" has on exercising sessions... and weither a nocturnal CPAP is capable of this. :)


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Postby bgalb on Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:47 pm

You could do such a study, yourself, on an informal basis if you had access to a recording oximeter. All the big words boil down to only ONE thing. Blood O2 saturation level..... Everything else is just dependent on the way your body uses the oxygen in your blood.

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Looking for a sponcer.... :p

Postby Guest on Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:52 am

True... how much does a machine that monitors O2 saturation cost though?

I have a CPAP for night use... free.
I have a Polar 810i for sports use... records every heartbeat for 20 hours... not cheap, but free to me now.

A O2 saturation monitor... ummm.... anyone know where I can get one on the cheap? :) I'll be glad to share my results!


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Postby Guest on Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:49 am

I thought the function of the cpap was to splint open the throat to make normal breathing possible. Is it doing more than that?


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Postby Julie on Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:54 am

There is also the concern about 'creating' central vs obstructive arousals by using a high pressure (or any) when you don't need it, either according to titrated results or not having apnea to begin with. Centrals are different in that obstructive apnea is a result of airway blockage in one form or another, but centrals mean that for some neurological and/or related medical reason, your brain forgets to tell you to breathe at all, and apparently if Cpap pressure is too high, it can trigger centrals in some people - and you sure don't want to do that!


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Re: CPAP for athletic training?

Postby cbl99201 on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:17 am

I'm just getting started on this subject, but I do want to say that I have read that positive pressure helps to ventilate CO2, which as a sufferer of emphysema is what I'm looking for, so that I can extend out my exercise sessions.

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Re: CPAP for athletic training?

Postby Woody on Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:48 am

Just for the heck of it I just tried it. At least for me it made a short 3 min. walk at 1.5 mph .
I used an apap set to my normal 16 to 18 " setting and it made just this walk much
harder. In particular exhaling was harder and somewhat tiring. Perhaps if I had been
using a bipap things would have been different.

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Re: CPAP for athletic training?

Postby LSAT on Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:53 am

Woody wrote:Just for the heck of it I just tried it. At least for me it made a short 3 min. walk at 1.5 mph .
I used an apap set to my normal 16 to 18 " setting and it made just this walk much
harder. In particular exhaling was harder and somewhat tiring. Perhaps if I had been
using a bipap things would have been different.


You must have had a very long extension cord and carrying that machine would have made your walk more difficult. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: CPAP for athletic training?

Postby linuxman on Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:12 am

I haven't seen anything related to exercise. I have seen some study on use in reducing cardiac load in patients with various kind of heart failure, so it's reasonable that it could potentially increase how hard you could train. Of course it would be absent during the actual event you might be training for, so it would only serve to increase the training intensity itself.

Besides the lack of evidence that it helps, there are practical issues with standard cpap machines. The main one is that it can't increase the flow rate fast enough to keep up with your breaths. I can easily outpace my machine on inhale with a fast deep breath resulting in very high resistance at my target pressure of 16.5cmH20. I can overwhelm the exhaust easily as well..enough to push air back into the humidifier tank and blow bubbles there (if the water's high enough) at the same pressure. This mostly is about how fast it can accelerate the fan..but I'm not certain it could keep up even steady state at heavy exercise levels without undo resistance. Same issue on exhale. You have to get rid of all that CO2, and you're making a lot while exercising hard. When I'm doing hard exercise I''m stretching my lungs to the maximum, and fast, so flowing a lot air. I'll have to try it out sometime on the treadmill w/cpap just to see how much it really is. I suspect I wouldn't be able to even get to moderate intensity before it can't keep up.

To fix this, you'd have to have a motor big enough to flow the required amount. You'd also have to either improve the motor response time or increase the mask/hose volume. The bigger that volume, the more overall system buffering you have (because of more stored energy in the system), and the less responsive your motor has to be to keep up target pressure. You can't get away from the overall flow requirement though. Input/output has to be large enough to service the steady state demands of the exercise.

UG! Just saw it was a 2007 thread...duh. Oh well, I'll leave my response anyway. It was fun to ponder. :)

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Last edited by linuxman on Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: CPAP for athletic training?

Postby Woody on Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:52 am

I should have said I moved the machine to my be next to my treadmill. The treadmill
was set to the default 1.5 degree incline. And then I used a speed of 1.5 mph that just
elevates my breathing rate to about twice it's resting rate. I won't be trying that again !

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Re: CPAP for athletic training?

Postby kteague on Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:48 am

cbl99201 wrote:I'm just getting started on this subject, but I do want to say that I have read that positive pressure helps to ventilate CO2, which as a sufferer of emphysema is what I'm looking for, so that I can extend out my exercise sessions.

With lung disease one has to consider not only that air is moving, but also how the lungs can handle added pressure and the lungs' ability to process the air. I'd want a pulmonary specialist to weigh in before possibily adding stress to already compromised lungs. I have interstitial lung disease and no matter how much air I pump in, my lungs can't do any more with it to help my breathlessness. Emphysema may be different.

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Re: CPAP for athletic training?

Postby Goofproof on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:45 pm

cbl99201 wrote:I'm just getting started on this subject, but I do want to say that I have read that positive pressure helps to ventilate CO2, which as a sufferer of emphysema is what I'm looking for, so that I can extend out my exercise sessions.


Maybe if you can get the straps tight enough, you can use the mask as a Athletic Supporter, not sure of the pressure you would set the XPAP for.... Jim

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