How Can You Fix CPAP Mask Leaks?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause extreme discomfort to the patients. It can cause interrupted breathing, shortage of breath, and disturbance during sleeping. Hence, it becomes necessary to solve this issue to sleep adequately and wake up fresh in the morning.
CPAP machines and masks can easily assist you in getting a restful sleep by providing constant air pressure to make sure your respiratory organs do not collapse. Additionally, they make sure you’re getting sufficient air throughout the night.
Now, if you are a CPAP user and notice an unpleasant change in your CPAP treatment, you may have to become aware. Again, there could be many underlying reasons for this, like old masks, ineffective pressure settings, etc. However, the most common one of them is a mask leak.
So, let’s talk about them in detail - what they are, their causes, disadvantages, and how to stop CPAP masks from leaking.
What are CPAP Mask Leaks?
If you’re concerned about what a CPAP mask leak is, do not worry because you can easily stop it. As the name suggests, a mask leak is a type of air pressure leak due to the inefficiency of the mask.
This leak occurs due to many underlying factors and severely affects your CPAP treatment. Due to such leaks, your health is harmed despite spending your money on costly CPAP equipment. Additionally, in the long run, an ineffective CPAP treatment does more harm than good.
So, it gets extremely important to take note of this issue and bring about some change.
Causes of CPAP Mask Leak
It is essential to know about the cause of your CPAP mask because only then will you find the best solution for it. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of CPAP mask leaks.
One of the most common reasons for a CPAP mask leak is an ill-fitting mask. If your mask is not fitting your mouth and nose properly, the air can escape from the open space, causing a mask leak.
Similarly, if you do not adjust your CPAP headgear properly, suppose the elastic straps are too loose, it can allow the air to escape and reduce the quality of your CPAP treatment.
Hence, it becomes necessary to make sure the mask is a perfect fit, not too loose for the air to escape, and not too tight to cause discomfort.
Extremely Old Mask
If you’re reading about CPAP machines and masks, you may also know that it is necessary to change your mask every six months. A failure to do so can cause many problems, including mask leaks.
An extremely old mask can have various issues. Firstly, the tight sealing that prevents mask leaks loses its strength and durability.
The headgear elastics may also lose their elasticity. Furthermore, the silicone material can develop minor holes and cracks that make a route for the air to escape.
It is extremely important to clean your CPAP masks regularly. One of the main reasons is that the dirt and oil particles from your skin can accumulate in your mask and ruin its sealing and cushioning properties. CPAP cleaning wipes are especially great to dig down into certain parts of the mask that your CPAP cleaning machine may not reach.
Additionally, accumulated dead skin cells and dust particles can also cause other infections that may hamper your CPAP treatment.
Out of all the reasons for CPAP mask leaks, high pressure is one of them. So, if your pressure settings are higher than usual, then it is necessary to keep a check on your CPAP mask and your symptoms. This can help you understand if there are mask leaks or not.
If that is the case, consult your doctor and make him aware of this problem.
Another cause of mask leaks is mouth breathing. Now, there are many masks designed just for mouth breathers. Consider opting for them rather than regular masks to gain benefits and reduce air leakage.
If you have the habit of tossing and turning continuously at night, you may have experienced mask leaks. Constantly moving in sleep can cause your mask to shift sideways and, thus, cause the air to leak.
So, these are the major reasons that cause CPAP mask leaks and reduce the overall efficiency of your treatment.
Let’s talk about how you can combat these problems effectively.
Find the Right Mask
Finding the right type and size of the mask holds great importance in your CPAP treatment. As mentioned above, an ill-fitting mask can allow the air to escape and cause mask leaks.
So, to solve this problem, consider changing your CPAP mask that fits your mouth and nose like a glove.
It is also essential to choose the best type of mask. For example, if you are a mouth breather, consider going for masks specifically designed for you. Similarly, if you are a side sleeper or tend to move a lot during sleep, then go for masks that have a tight and secure grip.
Sanitize and Clean Your Mask
If you’re taking your mask’s sanitation for granted, you need to start worrying about it. A dirty and unclean mask is a storehouse of infections and allergies. Additionally, accumulated dirt reduces the efficiency of your sealing.
So now, what can you do about it? Well, there are two ways to approach this.
The first way is to clean your mask with water and other home products like lemon to make your mask clean and sanitized.
The second way is to buy CPAP sanitizers and cleaners that can clean your CPAP mask in less than five minutes! CPAP cleaners like Lumin and SoClean use techniques like UV technology and activated oxygen methods, respectively, to remove the dirt particles from your mask.
These cleaners are very effective in terms of working, time management, and spaciousness to fit in your CPAP equipment.
Find a Good Pillow
Tossing and turning in your sleep can cause your mask to shift. Mask shifting can cause the air to leak outside. Now, you cannot really change your comfortable sleeping positions for your CPAP mask.
So, what can you do about it? Finding a good pillow is the right answer. A good pillow can keep your head in its place and also maintain your posture.
For example, in the case of back sleepers, the pillow height may be too elevated which increases the chance of mask leaks. Also, side sleepers may feel the mask pushing and squishing their face uncomfortably. This can even cause them to remove their mask while they’re unconscious.
You can also find many pillows specialized for CPAP users. These pillows are known as CPAP pillows and help in keeping your mask in its place. Along with that, these pillows have special indented areas that can improve your sleeping posture and reduce muscle aches.
Use Ramp Feature on Your CPAP Machine
If your pressure settings are too high, mask leaks can occur. High pressure can also get very uncomfortable for adjustments. Here, you can use the ‘ramp’ feature on your CPAP machine.
This particular feature gradually increases your pressure rather than doing it all together. In this way, it will reduce the chances of mask leaks due to high pressure. It will also stop you from feeling uneasy and removing your CPAP mask.
Buy Some CPAP Accessories
If you wish to spend a few bucks on your CPAP therapy, do not hesitate. Many CPAP accessories can reduce mask leaks and also make your treatment easy-going.
Given below are a few CPAP accessories made for reducing mask leaks.
- CPAP mask leak sealers: These sealers ensure an additional layer around the mask’s cushion and prevents the air from escaping.
- Full Face Liners: Full face liners reduce mask leaks by adding an extra layer between your face and silicone covering. They also absorb skin oils to keep your mask clean.
- CPAP Hose Holder: A CPAP hose holder may not directly help you, but it can keep your mask intact. A hose holder keeps the CPAP hose in its place even when you are moving in your sleep.
Replace Your Old Mask
If it has been more than six months, we suggest replacing your old mask with a new one. Old masks lose their elasticity and sealing properties. It can cause loosening of the mask and, eventually, causes mask leaks.
Usually, your health insurance may include masks, too, so you can check it if they provide any such services. If possible, we recommend changing your mask cushion every one to three months to ensure the full efficiency of your mask.
These ways are some of the best ways to reduce mask leaks, so try them out and let them show you the results!
Mask leaks are the root cause of many CPAP-related problems like morning fatigue, high AHI score, breathing discomfort, and disturbed sleep. Hence, it becomes necessary to prevent mask leaks to have fruitful CPAP therapy.
Written by The Sleeplay Team