Sleep apnea can become an obstructive problem that not only impedes your quality of sleep, but can also become a danger for breathing properly as well. Sleep apnea affects your heart and brain by increasing risk of heart attack and stroke.
That’s where Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy can help. With the application of an air machine and steady flow of air pressure through a mask and hose, you can sleep more soundly and ensure optimal oxygen intake. According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, even minimal CPAP therapy can lower mortality rates compared to those who do not use it.
But like anything, a CPAP machine and its accessories must be properly fitted and tested to get the most out of the therapy system. Though this whole area can be overwhelming at first, MEDability’s RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) can help educate and discuss options with you. Here’s how to troubleshoot a few of the most common problems and fixes for CPAP machines.
The CPAP Mask Doesn’t Fit
Every individual is different. The same style or size of mask might not always work for each person. In order to have the machine work best for you, it’s important to have a mask that fits well and is as comfortable as possible.
Take the appropriate time to really assess the different styles and sizes to determine what’s best suited to your face. And there are a wide variety of different masks available so there’s no doubt that you can find the perfect one to fit the contours of your face. Always pay close attention to the size and try moving around with it to ensure it doesn’t shift. At our home medical equipment store, we carry full face masks, nasal masks, and nasal pillows for both men and women and we do mask fitting appointments with our RRT, Yolli Kwok, to ensure optimal fit.
Difficulty Feeling Comfortable Wearing the Mask
This is a very common problem, especially during the initial periods when using the CPAP machine.
But like anything, it will take time to gradually feel more comfortable with it. Try to begin using the machine during the daytime when you’re at home, for short periods at a time. Over time you can adjust and begin to try it out when you sleep. The key is to be consistent with it so that you can get used to it faster.
Dry, Stuffy Nose
As a result of having forced air to assist with breathing, it can be common to experience a dry and stuffy nose. That’s why many machines are now equipped with a built-in humidifier that attaches to the machine. If your existing CPAP machine does not come with this functionality, you can place a humidifier in your bedroom and run during the night to improve relative humidity levels.You can also use a nasal saline spray or steroid spray prescribed by your doctor to help alleviate these symptoms.
CPAP machines can be great for helping to alleviate irritations of obstructive sleep apnea when used correctly. Consistency and time are essential for getting used to it, and finding a mask that you can feel comfortable in is essential. Talk to your doctor to discuss your options, and try some of these suggestions to help improve the quality of your sleep.
MEDability’s RRT Yolli Kwok is happy to help answer any questions you have about CPAP therapy, assist with mask fittings and system selection, and provide guidance about the proper use of the CPAP machine. Yolli has a background in scientific research as part of her undergraduate degree, completed RRT, and is also in the process of completing her CRE – certified respiratory educator. She also has clinical experience in both the hospital setting and in the retail CPAP setting as well.
Call us at (905) 609-471-5224 ext.23 or visit our home medical equipment store in Markham to learn more about our CPAP therapy systems. We carry a wide selection of CPAP machines and accessories from RESMED, the most trusted name in in-home respiratory care.