One of the most common problems is acclimating to a CPAP mask, whether it is a nasal mask, a full face mask, or a set of nasal pillows. The more you wear the mask, the more likely you will get used to it.
Realize that it may take a few attempts before you can completely relax and adjust to the new sensations you are experiencing. The key is to give yourself ample time to get used to the mask. On average, most people require about 4 to 6 weeks for this to occur.
CPAP and BiPAP therapies both work by “pushing” air through your throat to prevent obstruction and closure. Getting used to sleeping with CPAP, especially breathing out against the pressure, can take some time. To make therapy more comfortable and falling asleep easier, patients can employ their machine’s ramping feature to slowly increase therapeutic pressure over a desired period of time (usually between 20-45 minutes). Usually over a few weeks you will tolerate the air flow better. Some machines may have a pressure relief option, which reduces the pressure slightly when you exhale.
If the ramp and pressure relief features are enabled and you continue to struggle with your therapy, or if you are experiencing bloating, belching, or tightness in the abdomen or chest, please contact us to discuss options that may be appropriate for you.
When starting CPAP therapy, many people find that they remove the mask during the night without realizing it. If this happens to you, don’t be overly concerned – getting used to CPAP therapy can be a gradual process.
As CPAP air enters our nasal cavity and/or throat, the air dries and cools the areas making the temperature fall. The cool, dry air of treatment can cause a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing for some people, which may last up to a week.
The most effective way to resolve this is by using a heated humidifier with your CPAP unit. A heated humidifier warms a reservoir of water and then applies this warm air to the air flow. This warms and moistens the air flowing into your nose and mouth. Heated humidifiers allow a selection of temperatures so that you can tailor the air temperature to your liking.
Commonly, a dry stuffy nose can develop during, and the morning after, CPAP usage. The main reason this happens in some people is that the CPAP air flow dries out the nasal membranes or the air stimulates nasal secretion. If secretions are stimulated, the nasal passages and sinuses can become congested, causing stuffiness.
If you are experiencing a dry, stuffy nose:
We’ll work with you so know that you are not alone.
Having the wrong size or style CPAP mask is a very common problem. If you suspect an improper fit:
Just like shoes, the CPAP mask style and size that will work best differs from person to person. If you find that you have to tighten your mask to the point of discomfort in order to stop it from leaking, you should contact us immediately.
When starting to wear a CPAP mask, the “newness” can make it difficult to fall asleep for a select few. If you are experiencing difficulty falling asleep with your CPAP mask, first try the acclimation procedures listed above for wearing the mask and tolerating air pressure. You can also try other strategies, such as:
If you continue to have difficulty falling asleep despite these behavioral techniques, your physician may prescribe a sleep aid for a brief time. Short-term, limited use may let you get used to the CPAP mask and fall asleep early on so that the medication can be slowly decreased later. You may also find it helpful to participate in our CPAP Support Group, where you can pick up other tips and hints from other CPAP patients.
Air leaks in your CPAP mask are generally related to either your mask-fitting or air pressure.
A leaking mask may indicate one of several things: