Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) Therapy is the most common treatment for those who are suffering with sleep apnea. The treatment consists of using a mask or nose piece that is connected to a cpap machine via hose, this machine will push air through the hose to deliver a steady flow of air pressure to help you breathe when you are sleeping.
The most common problems with a cpap machine is the issue of air leaking from the mask, trouble falling asleep, having a dry mouth and a stuffy nose. There is a wide range of CPAP Masks and machines that are out there, you just need to try different ones to see what suits your needs. Here are 10 of the most common problems with CPAP Masks and Machines and how you can overcome these issues.
- Wrong size or style of cpap mask
When you are going through the process of selecting a CPAP mask you need to talk closely with your doctor and CPAP Mask supplier to see what fits you properly.
There are so many different styles of CPAP Masks available. If one particular CPAP Mask doesn’t fit your needs you can easily find another and try that one out. Some CPAP Masks feature a full face mask that cover both your mouth and your nose with straps that wrap around your forehead and cheeks. This particular mask may make you feel claustrophobic but they are the perfect option for those who like to breathe through their mouth. A full face mask also provides a stable and secure fit if you move a lot while you sleep.
If a full face CPAP mask doesn’t suit your needs a Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask is a great option for those who breathe through their nose and have issues with claustrophobia or enjoy reading a it doesn’t obstruct the eyes as much as full face cpap masks do.
Ensure that you consult with your doctor and your CPAP provider to select the correct mask for you and show you how to adjust your mask to get the best fit. A properly fitted mask will not cause pain or irritation.
- Not being used to wearing the CPAP Mask
Wearing a CPAP Mask for the first time either full face or nasal pillow can be very discomforting and feel unnatural to you. Best advice is to wear it during the day around the home so you get used to having it on. Once you feel comfortable with the mask on you can start to use it in small intervals while you watch TV with the hose attached and the device turned on so you can get used to air being delivered through the hose.
Once you are comfortable with these steps you will need to use the device every time you sleep including naps. This is the only way you will get properly associated with using the machine. Taking breaks and only using it every second night will not work and you won’t get the same results if you used it every night.
- Difficulty tolerating forced air pressure
The forced air flow being delivered through the hose is not a sensation many people are comfortable with. The solution to this is using a machine that has a “ramp” option, this allows the machine to slowly increase the pressure that the air is being delivered. There are various options of CPAP Machines for you to choose from, so there will be a machine for you.
- Dry, stuffy nose.
A dry and stuffy nose is a problem that is caused by a leaky mask. Ensure that all the straps are tightened and secured correctly, if this has been done and you still have these issues you may need to look into getting a different machine that had a humidifier built in. You can also use a nasal saline spray at bedtime to help ease the dry stuffy nose throughout the night.
- Feeling claustrophobic
The feeling of claustrophobia is sickening to many people, even more so if you suffer from sleep apnea and need a cpap machine to help you sleep. There are a few steps you can take to help ease the process of using a cpap mask when you suffer from claustrophobia.
- Firstly slowly ease the mask up to your face with nothing attached, get used to that feeling.
- Once you are comfortable you can then move on to attaching the hose, turning on the machine and holding it up to your face.
- Then you can try fitting the CPAP Mask properly on your face and trying to sleep with it.
If feelings of claustrophobia still persist you can return to your doctor and CPAP provider to see if there is another style or fit of mask that will better suit.
- Leaky mask or skin irritation
If your mask is leaking or not fitted correctly you are not getting the correct amount of air pressure needed for your sleep apnea treatment, it can also be very unpleasant to have air blowing in your eyes while you are trying to rest.
Solutions for this is to try a different mask, try adjusting pads and straps to get the right fit that is comfortable for you. If you develop any sores or skin irritation contact your doctor immediately.
- Unintentionally removing the mask overnight
If you move around in bed a lot it may just be better to opt for a full face mask as there is a lower chance of you being able to remove it unconsciously while you sleep or it slipping off. You can also get chin straps to secure it even more firmly in place.
If this is a consistent problem you can always set alarms throughout the night to wake up and check if the machine is still on and secured properly.
- Bothersome noise from a noisy cpap machine
Many new CPAP Machines have been built in a way to keep the noise level to a minimum without sacrificing air pressure being delivered. If noise is uncharacteristic in your cpap machine you may need to clean your filters and mask as it may be blocked or need a routine clean.
Be patient and trust in the process of getting used to your CPAP Machine and Mask. Sleep apnea treatment is not an overnight fix and does require some effort to get used to the machine and wearing a mask every night. Work with your doctor and your CPAP provider to ensure your treatment is as smooth as possible.