People suffering from Sleep apnea are treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. There is a hose and mask or nose piece attached to the CPAP machine that delivers constant air pressure so that the person can sleep peacefully. The people who are using it for the first time take time to get used to it. Due to the problems it brings, it becomes difficult for the patient to get stuck to the therapy. But if you find it difficult to get adjusted to the Cpap machine there are multiple ways that can make it comfortable.
Common Problems that come with Cpap
- The wrong size of the mask:
As everyone has a different shape and size of the face so you could have a problem fitting into the face mask. It is very crucial to discuss the right style and size of the mask with your doctor and the supplier of the Cpap.
There are different masks available in the market ranging from the ones that are full face masks that cover your mouth and nose, with straps that stretch across your forehead and cheeks.
These masks come in different sizes. It may fit one person but other people may feel uncomfortable in it. But these masks are adjustable and provide a stable fit even if you move around in your sleep.
These masks may make you feel claustrophobic also but if you breathe through your mouth while you sleep they give better results.
If you are an avid reader and wear glasses then a nasal pillow can be of great help to you as a full face mask covers your eyes as well and blocks your sight. These are less cumbersome.
- Skin Irritation and bruises from mask:
If your mask is of a perfect size and fits there is no way it causes you discomfort. If you still find sores and bruises on your face because of the user then it might be that you are over tightening your mask. There may be other reasons to it also and it can be that your mask cushion may be worn out and needs replacement. Skin irritation and any leakage from the mask can be fixed with mask liners.
- Not getting used to wearing a mask:
Initially, it may be troublesome to wear a mask and sleep with it. It takes time to get adjusted to a change. But then what should one do? It is very simple to try wearing a mask during the daytime whenever possible. For instance, while watching television or browsing.
After a small lapse of time wear the mask and the hose and switch on the device while you are awake during the daytime or wear it during a daytime nap. If you continue the practice for weeks or more, then you get adjusted to the mask and the air pressure. It takes a little time but after you get used to it you are all set to go with it during the night as well.
- Difficulty in taking the air pressure:
All devices come with a feature called ‘Ramp’. This setting helps you to start with low pressure. Slowly and steadily the pressure increases and reaches the prescribed setting of your air pressure. If you still feel that you are not getting adjusted to the machine then there are many options available in the market that automatically adjusts the pressure while you sleep. Take the advice of your doctor to choose the best option.
- Eyes get swollen or feel irritated:
If you are feeling that you feel irritation in your eyes or it gets swollen up then there might be a possibility that the air is directed up into the eye area due to improper size of the mask. There might also be a leakage in the top area of the mask or the cushion of the mask is worn out and needs to be replaced, which causes irritated or swollen eyes.
- Dry and stuffy nose:
If your mask doesn’t fit well then it can be a cause of dry nose. If the leakage is happening, again and again, it is a signal that your mask should be replaced. If your machine is fitted with a humidifier that can be adjusted as per the need then it can resolve the problem of a dry and stuffy nose. Apart from that, a nasal saline spray at bedtime can be of great help.
Patients who are claustrophobic usually find it difficult to sleep with a mask on. To get away with the problem try using small-sized and simple nasal pillow masks tolerable. It takes time to get adjusted to it but to reach the goal of sleeping with it the whole night. To reach that goal tries using it more and more during the daytime initially. Also, try using the ramp feature if you are claustrophobic as it will help you in tolerating the air pressure and get adapted to it.
- Dry mouth:
It is really a difficult task for the person who sleeps with his/her mouth open or breathes through their mouth as the device can make it worse for you. A full-face-mask-style device and a chin strap may help keep your mouth closed and reduce the air leak if you wear a nasal mask. If a humidifier is attached to the device it can help work well.
- Face difficulty in falling asleep:
Initially, it will be a difficult task to fall asleep with the face mask and the hose. You just need to adapt yourself to it by using it as much as you can.
In addition to it, following good sleeping habits can work wonders for you. Exercising daily, avoiding long daytime naps, keeping away from caffeine and alcohol before going to the bed, taking a warm bath before sleeping, and going to bed when you are fully exhausted can help you fall asleep slowly and steadily.
- Noise of the device:
The noise of the device can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Try to keep the device far from your bed, clean and unblock your device air filter, wear earplugs or use a white noise sound machine to mask the noise and if the noise still persists then ask the Cpap supplier to check the device.
The new models of the device like Dreamstation Cpap are silent and come with many advanced features that can suit your needs