CPAP therapy is a treatment meant for people that suffer from sleep apnea. Amidst all its benefits, it comes with several limitations. For example, patients from across the world report experiencing different problems while using these machines.
Some of these problems include trouble falling asleep, leaky masks, having a dry mouth, and having a stuffy nose. Fortunately, if a CPAP machine doesn’t work well for you, there are plenty of other options available. Most machines can be adjusted to suit the needs of patients. Below are some 7 problems that CPAP patients experience and what to do about them.
How to Avoid 7 Common CPAP Problems
The Wrong CPAP Mask
Since we all have faces that are shaped differently, it’s only fair that CPAP masks come in different styles and sizes. If your face mask feels uncomfortable, try consulting your doctor or CPAP supplier to find a size that fits. Some masks are designed to cover your nose and mouth. They feature straps that extend across the cheeks and forehead. These are full-face masks, and they may sometimes cause claustrophobia. However, they are a great option for those that breathe through their mouth while asleep. They are also very stable and hardly get displaced with movement.
Other masks come with nasal pillows designed to sit under the nose. They feature straps that extend across the face. These can be light and less hectic to handle. They work well with patients that wear glasses. Unfortunately, they may not be a great option for those that move a lot while asleep. It’s important to note that sizes aren’t the same on all masks. Always test-fit first to ensure that the mask fits. Ask your doctor to help you make adjustments where possible.
Getting Used to Forced Air
Some patients report experiencing difficulties tolerating pressurized air. The best solution is to use a machine that has a “ramp” setting. This feature allows you to start with low air pressure. After a while, the machine adjusts automatically to slowly increase pressure to the level prescribed by the doctor.
If you feel that the feature isn’t useful, there are devices that are designed to automatically adjust air pressure depending on a patient’s needs. The BPAP (Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure) machine is built to increase air pressure during inhalation and decrease during exhalation.
A Leaky Mask
A leaky mask can cut the amount of air pressure you get from your CPAP mask. The lost air could easily irritate your skin or get blown towards your eyes, causing them to dry and tear.
Adjust your mask accordingly to ensure that it sits comfortably. Make sure it doesn’t go too high and neither too low. If it sits too high, the air could be blown to your eyes. Try changing the position of the straps and pads to get the perfect fit. If this doesn’t work, try a different mask.
Removing The Mask Unknowingly While Asleep
If you move a lot in their sleep, you may wake up to find that you removed the mask while asleep. This could have been an unintentional act aimed at seeking comfort. A full-face mask would work well to ensure that you stay hooked up throughout the night.
If you experience congestion in your airway, try getting a CPAP-heated humidifier. You can add a chin strap to help you keep the mask on. If these solutions don’t work, set a regular alarm that will wake you up during the night. This will help to monitor the mask’s position and adjust it accordingly.
Noisy CPAP Machine
The latest models of CPAP machines are pretty much silent. Noisy sounds may be caused by a technical glitch or a blocked air filter. Consult your machine supplier or Easy CPAP to have the device checked and fixed for any problems. Also, ask your doctor or supplier to show you how to clean the air filter. If the noise persists, wear earplugs to block it out. You can also get a white noise sound machine to calm you down or place the CPAP machine as far from your bed as possible.
Getting Used to Wearing a Mask
It’s not easy getting used to wearing a mask for long periods of time. If you have trouble getting used to it, try wearing your mask when you’re awake. This could be for short periods of time while watching TV or reading. You can do this even without connecting it to the CPAP machine. Once you get a hang of it, try using the full set up for longer periods during the day. You’ll slowly get comfortable with the device and find it easy to take naps and fall asleep in it.
Stuffy Nose and Dry Mouth
Leaky masks can lead to a stuffy nose. Always check to see that your mask fits well. You may find yourself having to adjust the straps regularly for a proper fit. To prevent a dry or stuffy nose, consider getting a CPAP machine that comes with a heated humidifier. It allows you to adjust the level of humidification. A nasal saline spray could also help.
If you breathe through the mouth, you may find yourself waking up to a dry mouth. Some CPAP machines could worsen the situation. Consider getting a chin strap to help keep your mouth closed throughout the night. A full-face mask could also work well to cover your mouth.