Tips For Avoiding 10 Common Problems With CPAP Therapy

1. The wrong size or style CPAP mask – Work closely with your doctor and CPAP supplier to make sure you get a CPAP mask that fits you correctly and suits your needs. There are many mask styles available so keep trying until you find one that is best for you.

2. Trouble getting used to wearing the CPAP device – Try wearing just the CPAP mask while you are awake, perhaps while watching TV. Then try the mask connected to the machine with the pressure still during the day. Once you are comfortable with this, try wearing the CPAP every time you sleep – at night and while you are napping. Be consistent and wear it faithfully! 

3. Difficulty tolerating forced air – The ramp feature on the CPAP machine is designed to help with this. This will gradually increase the pressure to help with your comfort. 

4. Dry, stuffy nose – The CPAP machine is equipped with a heated humidifier which has adjustable humidity levels using a nasal saline spray at bed time is also helpful.

5. Feeling claustrophobic – Try holding the mask up to your face while awake without any strap. Once this is comfortable add the straps and tighten. Wear this until it feels comfortable. Finally add the hose and machine and turn on the pressure with the ramp activated. You can wear while you are awake and then try at night. If you are still struggling, you can wear it until you can’t tolerate it any longer, but always be striving to increase to a full night. 

6. Leaky mask, skin irritation, or pressure sores - An ill-fitting can cause you to not get your proper pressure or cause eye irritations. Try adjusting the headgear and where the mask sits on your face. If this continues to leak, contact your supplier to help find something that fits better. Skin deterioration should be reported to your physician. 

7. Difficulty falling asleep – Practice good sleep habits; exercise regularly, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime and try to relax. Avoid going to bed until you are tired. Wearing the mask during the daytime to get used to having it on your face and using the ramp feature can help getting used to the therapy. 

8. Dry Mouth – If you are a mouth breather, a CPAP device may worsen your dry mouth. A chinstrap may help to keep your mouth closed or a full face mask may work for you. Your CPAP device is usually equipped with a heated humidifier to help also.

9. Unintentionally removing the CPAP at night – If you find that you move around a lot at night, you may find a full face mask stays in place better. Other reasons for removing the mask may be nasal congestion. Proper moisture/humidification can help with this, or adding a chinstrap for more stability. If this becomes a consistent problem, consider setting an alarm to check to see if your mask is still on. You can progressively set the alarm for later if you find you’re keeping the device on later.

10. Annoyed by the noise – Newer CPAP models are very quiet, mostly silent. But if the noise bothersome, check to make sure the filter is clean and unblocked. If this doesn’t help, check with your supplier to make sure your machine is working properly. Ill-fitting masks are noisy. If your mask is leaking, it will be noisy. If the machine is working properly and the noise still bothers you, try using a fan or something to provide a little white noise. 

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