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    CPAP MASK TIPS: HOW TO AVOID 3 VERY COMMON PROBLEMS

    Have you been using a CPAP machine and feel like giving up on your nightly therapy? Do you feel like your machine isn’t delivering the benefits you expected?

    If your answer to these questions is “yes,” you are not alone. Using a CPAP machine for the first few times can be overwhelming, making it easy to get frustrated and want to give up altogether.

    While a CPAP machine should offer relief and a better night’s sleep, some CPAP users encounter problems with the mask that’s used with it, making it hard to gain the most benefits from treatment.

    The CPAP mask plays an important role in the functioning of your sleep apnea machine, and since it is the only part of your therapy that comes into direct contact with you, it is the only part you will likely have questions about.

    Issues with Your CPAP Mask? Let’s Discuss.

    It takes some time, but with a little patience and some tweaks to your CPAP mask, you will be sure to experience improvements in your sleep, health, and overall quality of life.

    To help you get the most out of your CPAP therapy, here are the 3 most common problems you may face with your mask and the most effective ways to fix them.

    PROBLEM #1 - THE CPAP MASK MAKES YOU FEEL CLAUSTROPHOBIC

    CPAP claustrophobia is a natural occurrence at the beginning of a patient’s CPAP treatment. When you first wear a mask on your face, especially while resting, you may feel odd or a little uncomfortable. 

    After all, when it’s in use, your CPAP mask is strapped to your face, blowing streams of air into your mouth and airways to help keep your passages open throughout the night.

    This experience isn’t natural and may feel unsettling for some users new to CPAP therapy. Issues related to claustrophobia include:

    • The idea of something on your face making it difficult to sleep with a CPAP mask
    • The weight of a heavier CPAP mask, such as a full face making it uncomfortable
    • The fear of a loss of oxygen or strangulation

    But, we have a few solutions that could help ease the process.

    • Practice wearing your CPAP Mask. Practice by holding the mask up to your face without any of the other parts attached. Once you’re comfortable with that, try wearing the mask with straps.
    • Take small steps to get used to the CPAP Mask. Hold the mask with the hose connected to your face, without using the straps. Have the hose attached to the CPAP machine at a low-pressure setting (with the ramp feature turned on). And, finally, wear the mask with the straps and with the air pressure machine turned on while awake. After you’re comfortable with that, try sleeping with the mask on.
    • Just breathe. Once you lay down to sleep with your mask on, it is always good to remember that the machine adjusts to you and not the other way around. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, meaning all it does is blow air to you and as a matter of fact, some machines have features that help the air blow according to your breathing pattern. With that being said, you don’t have to time anything or inhale and exhale in any specific type of way. All you have to do is breathe normally.

    PROBLEM #2 - THE CPAP MASK IS LEAKING

    As mentioned before, your CPAP machine uses air pressure to keep your breathing passages open during sleep, in order to help you overcome sleep apnea.

    If you hear, feel, or experience a leak from your mask, address the problem immediately.

    Air pressure loss due to a leak in a seal can mean that the treatment is not working effectively, if at all.

    If your mask appears to be leaking, it may be time for one of these two solutions:

    • Retightening/Refitting of the mask. First, try tightening your mask as straps can get loose or need tightening if you undo your straps entirely. If you find your untreated sleep apnea symptoms (e.g. daytime fatigue, headaches etc.) unexplainably returning, get your doctor to check your mask to make sure the mask has a proper air pressure seal.
    • Replace your mask. Masks have constant contact with skin oils, creams and makeup, which can lessen the integrity of the mask seal, causing leaks. Not to mention, there is general wear and tear. CPAP masks should be replaced regularly every 6-9 months to ensure your treatment stays effective every time you start your machine.

    PROBLEM #3 - THE CPAP MASK IS CAUSING NASAL OR SINUS PROBLEMS

    Some people with sleep apnea may experience nasal and sinus problems, like a runny nose, when exposed to the air from the CPAP mask.

    If you continuously experience a dry or stuffy nose, try one of the following solutions:

    • Retightening/Refitting of the mask. First, try tightening your mask as straps can get loose or need tightening if you undo your straps entirely. If you find your untreated sleep apnea symptoms (e.g. daytime fatigue, headaches etc.) unexplainably returning, get your doctor to check your mask to make sure the mask has a proper air pressure seal.
    • Replace your mask. Masks have constant contact with skin oils, creams and makeup, which can lessen the integrity of the mask seal, causing leaks. Not to mention, there is general wear and tear. CPAP masks should be replaced regularly every 6-9 months to ensure your treatment stays effective every time you start your machine.