Common CPAP Mask Mistakes That Are Affecting Your CPAP Therapy
Your guide to using the CPAP mask perfectly.
CPAP machines and masks are a major savior when it comes to helping you breathe at night. These masks help by delivering the right amount of continuous positive airway pressure to regulate your breathing pattern. Your doctor will prescribe the range of air pressure you need based on your sleep study results. It also allows you to sleep comfortably without any disturbance from obstructive sleep apnea or OSA.
However, many CPAP users face difficulty and inconvenience when it comes to wearing a CPAP mask or changing to a different mask. They meet particular challenges for various reasons like the size of the mask or headgear, material, way of working, skin reactions, and many other such problems.
Now, this may also be due to certain mistakes in wearing your CPAP mask. This article will discuss the most common CPAP mask mistakes, their side effects, and their prevention.
Common Problems You Can Face Due to Certain CPAP Mask Mistakes
The wrong way of using your CPAP mask can cause a lot of issues ranging from breathing problems to skin allergies. Thus, CPAP masks can become a nightmare if you do not use them properly.
The various problems you may experience while using a CPAP mask are:
An inappropriately worn mask can cause skin irritation and discomfort. You may wake up in the morning with red rashes or allergies. It can also irritate your skin due to the material of the CPAP mask.
Another CPAP mask problem you may face is air leakage. If you do not wear the mask properly, it can allow the air to escape, reducing the efficiency of your CPAP therapy at night. It may also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to readjust your mask which may lead to daytime sleepiness and CPAP treatment which is not as effective. If you are a mouth-breather which can cause air leakage, you may want to consider a chinstrap to keep your mouth closed and avoid air escaping through your mouth.
Dry mouth is a major inconvenience when it comes to wearing a CPAP mask. It can lead to cracked or bleeding lips and bad breath.
Many patients feel claustrophobic when it comes to wearing a CPAP mask. It is necessary to know its cause to reduce the claustrophobic feeling and get restful sleep.
Stuffy or Dry Nose
Another problem CPAP users face is the occurrence of a dry and stuffy nose. This can cause disturbed sleep due to an overall inefficiency in breathing. You may want to consider adding a humidifier or heated humidifier to your CPAP machine so your sinus cavities are not bombarded with cold, dry airflow.
If you are experiencing any of the above problems, you are making some of the most common CPAP mask mistakes. However, there is no need to worry as you can solve them quickly, possibly by adding a humidification chamber to your CPAP device.
Common CPAP Mask Mistakes You Are Making
If you are a new CPAP user who finds it hard to adapt to the CPAP mask or even a long-time CPAP device user who is facing some difficulties with your CPAP equipment or mask, then you have come to the right place.
There are many common CPAP mask mistakes you might have made. Let’s take a quick look at all those mistakes and how you can solve them.
Buying the Wrong Size
The most common mistake CPAP users make is buying a CPAP mask of the wrong size. This can lead to a multitude of problems and reduce the effectiveness of the CPAP mask.
A loose-fitting or a tight-fitting mask can cause the following problems:
- Irritation due to tight mask
- Skin allergies and rashes
- Air leakage due to loose mask
- Discomfort in sleeping
- Loose mask fit may slip off at night
These issues can reduce the effect of CPAP therapy and cause inconveniences for the CPAP user therefore it is important that you have a good mask fit with a good seal as well. You may want to explore a different size mask if you are having issues with how your current one is fitting.
How to solve this issue?
If you’re a new CPAP user, make sure to research the various mask sizes and types properly before buying one.
However, if you’ve been using CPAP masks for a long time, know that sizes differ depending on the CPAP mask brands. So, it is equally essential for you to check out all the masks properly before deciding on one.
Buying the Wrong Type
Did you know that there are various types of CPAP masks you can buy? If you are not comfortable with a nasal mask, you can go for full face masks, nasal pillows, or hybrid masks.
If you choose a nasal mask despite it making you uncomfortable, you can face the following problems:
- Disturbed sleep at night
- Experiencing claustrophobia
- Skin rashes and allergies
- Inefficiency in breathing
- Issues like dry mouth due to nasal mask if you are a mouth-breather
How to solve this issue?
As mentioned earlier, you can choose another type of mask that can accommodate your breathing and sleeping style. There is a selection of masks for mouth-breathers, bearded sleep apnea patients, side-sleepers, and also for those who tend to twist and turn in their sleep.
While purchasing, you must also take notice of the mask’s material. If you do not like silicone, do not go for CPAP masks with silicone cushions.
Therefore, it becomes necessary to find the mask that fulfills all your requirements and not just one that only fits you the best.
Keeping Your Mask Clean
Many patients have complained about a pungent and musty smell and buildup coming from their CPAP masks. It has also resulted in infections. Well, the leading cause of this is not cleaning the mask regularly.
Shortcomings of not cleaning your mask
- Inefficient working of the mask
- A strong, pungent smell coming from the mask
- Storehouse of bacteria
- Can cause allergies and skin infections
- Can cause respiratory infections like bronchitis
How to solve this issue?
The best way to solve this issue is by cleaning your CPAP mask every day. If this seems tedious, many CPAP cleaners and sanitizers can do this job in five to ten minutes. You can also clean it with warm water and ammonia-free, mild dish detergent.
Not Changing Your Mask After Years
Even if CPAP masks are known to last for a long time, it is always a good practice to change them when the time comes. If not the entire mask, you can also replace the inner parts that have been in close contact with the skin, such as the mask’s outer cushion.
Shortcomings of not changing your mask are:
- Reduced efficiency
- Irregularity in breathing pattern
- Reduced sealing
- Increased leakage
How to solve this issue?
We recommend changing your CPAP mask every three to four months. It is advisable to also replace the mask cushion every month for proper sealing. If you do not want to invest money repeatedly, go for durable CPAP masks.
Not Consulting a Doctor
There is no doubt that the internet has a lot of resources to offer. Yet, there is nothing better than consulting someone who can understand your problems and give you the best possible solutions.
If you have been facing some problems with your CPAP mask for a long time, it is necessary to consult your sleep doctor.
Shortcomings of not consulting your doctor are:
- Ineffective treatment
- Not getting accurate solutions
- Prolonged discomfort
- Problems in CPAP pressure settings
How to overcome this?
We recommend visiting and consulting your sleep doctor if you’re facing the above problems for a prolonged period or even after trying out all the solutions so they can help you to have a good sleep.
Thus, it is important to acknowledge all the above mistakes rather than ignoring them. We assure you that you will get the best CPAP experience with reduced complaints and better sleep at night. So what are you waiting for? Please make the most of your CPAP masks with our helpful tips!
Written by The Sleeplay Team