In the CPAP world most people fit into two general groups: you either love it or you hate it. There are a few people in-between that tolerate CPAP. Research does show that how you respond early-on will likely dictate your future with CPAP. The following are the most common complaints early on into therapy.
1. My mask is leaking!
Its important to speak up if you do not like your mask. Remember that the mask you use, with few exceptions, is optional. The last time you want is air blowing all over your face. You really need to work closely with your doctor and CPAP supplier to make sure you have a CPAP mask that suits your needs and fits you. No two noses are the same; you should be individually measured for your CPAP mask.
Also remember that tighter is never better. Our first instinct is to tighten the mask when really it may be better to slightly loosen the mask so that the silicone interface can inflate. Sometimes simply pulling the mask gently off your face and then re-positioning it again may help.
Not everyone needs a full facemask. Many mask styles are available. Pay attention to size. Most masks come in different sizes. Just because you’re a certain size in one mask doesn’t mean you’ll be the same size in another.
2. I can’t fall asleep with this thing.
To start, it may help to practice wearing just the CPAP mask for short periods of time while you’re awake, for example, while watching TV or using your iPAD. Even wearing the mask without air pressure on while you’re awake will help. Once you become accustomed to how that feels, shift to using the CPAP device every time you sleep. Inconsistently wearing the CPAP device may delay getting used to it. Stick with it for several weeks or more to see if the mask and pressure settings you have will work for you. Asking your doctor to turn on the ramp feature may help ease you into getting used to CPAP. The ramp feature basically starts off at a lower pressure and eases up to your goal pressure.
3. I can’t breath out against the pressure!
4. My mouth is soooo DRY!
A CPAP device that features a heated humidifier, which attaches to the air pressure machine, can help. The level of humidification is adjustable. Sometimes mouth breathing can lead to dry mouth. A chin strap can help if this is the case. Further information here.
5. I take off my CPAP during the night
It’s normal to sometimes wake up to find you’ve removed the mask in your sleep. If you move a lot in your sleep, you may find that a full face mask will stay on your face better.You may be pulling off the mask because your nose is congested. If so, ensuring a good mask fit and adding a CPAP-heated humidifier may help. A chin strap also may help keep the device on your face.If this is a consistent problem, consider setting an alarm for sometime in the night, to check whether the device is still on.
6. CPAP is too loud
Most new models of CPAP devices are almost silent. But if you find a device’s noise is bothersome, first check to make sure the device air filter is clean and unblocked. Make sure everything is well closed and assembled correctly (refer to your owners manual).
Common problems with CPAP include a leaky mask, trouble falling asleep, and a dry mouth or nose congestion. These usually have an easy fix. Talk to your doctor about these problems and don’t get discouraged.