Having difficulty with your CPAP? Not sure what to do about your mask? Are you ready to give up? You've come to the right place. Here are some solutions and suggestions to common questions and problems relating to PAP therapy. Don't see the answer you were looking for? Contact Via Christi Home Medical respiratory care team, we are here to help with all your sleep therapy needs.
- When should I start feeling better after beginning to use my PAP device?
- I have a mustache or a beard, which mask is best to use?
- What if I still snore while using the PAP device?
- What if I lose or gain weight or my old symptoms reappear?
- As I continue to use my PAP device on a regular basis, will my medications need to be adjusted?
- If I need to be hospitalized for any reason, should I take my device with me and use it at night?
- I travel frequently, should I use my PAP device when I travel?
- My skin seems irritated, even bruised, or I have marks on my face?
- How can I tell when my mask is worn out?
- My mask seems to be leaking?
- My mask seems dirty?
- It doesn't seem as though enough air is flowing to me?
- My nose and throat are dry, my nose is congested, or I have nosebleeds?
- My mouth is dry?
- My eyes are sore, dry, irritated, or swollen?
- My hose fills up with water at night?
- I have trouble falling asleep on my therapy or I feel uncomfortable when I first apply the air pressure at night?
- I feel gassy and bloated when I wake up in the morning?
- It is hard to breathe out against the constant air flow?
- My machine does not seem to be working?
- I just can't seem to adjust to using CPAP?
1. When should I start feeling better after beginning to use my PAP device?
Most patients begin feeling better within the first week, though some people may take a little longer.
2. I have a mustache or a beard, which mask is best to use?
Some patients have difficulty getting a nasal mask or full face mask to seal with facial hair. Sometimes a better seal can be achieved with the use of nasal pillows, which seal around the inside of the nares. Contact Home Medical Services to setup a mask fitting appointment to find the right mask for you.
3. What if I still snore while using the PAP device?
Snoring while on PAP should not occur. If it does, contact your doctor. Your pressure level may need to be adjusted
4. What if I lose or gain weight or my old symptoms reappear?
Even a small weight gain or loss can impact the pressure level needed to maintain an open airway. If this occurs or your old symptoms reappear you may need to have your PAP pressure adjusted. Contact your doctor.
5. As I continue to use my PAP device on a regular basis, will my medications need to be adjusted?
Do not alter your medications without consulting your doctor.
6. If I need to be hospitalized for any reason, should I take my device with me and use it at night?
Yes. Also, if you are having surgery, it is important to tell the surgeon and the anesthetist that you are using PAP therapy at home. You should also inform the doctor treating you for sleep apnea that you are going into the hospital.
7. I travel frequently. Should I use my PAP device when I travel?
It is important that you use your PAP every night. Purchasing travel accessories will make it more convenient for you to travel with your PAP. Because of increased security measures at airports, it may be easier to travel if you have a copy of your prescription for your PAP machine with you. It also is suggested that you call your airline ahead of time and ask if there is a special screening procedure required to carry on or check your PAP device.
8. My skin seems irritated, even bruised, or I have marks on my face?
Your mask may be too tight. If your mask has a forehead arm or adjustment feature try readjusting that first. Then, if necessary, readjust the headgear straps.
You may have the wrong mask size. Contact Home Medical Services for a mask fitting. Another style or type of mask may provide a better fit.
9. How can I tell when my mask is worn out?
Because masks are disposable, periodic replacement is needed when the mask shows signs of wear and tear. Inspect your mask for stiffness, cracks, or tears. Replacement of PAP supplies is essential to getting all the benefits from your therapy.
10. My mask seems to be leaking?
Follow these steps to fix a leak:
- Check all the connections
- If your mask has a forehead arm or adjustment feature, try readjusting that first to correct the leak
- If there is no improvement with the above steps, readjust the headgear straps. A mask that is too tight against the face can cause leaks to occur by creating folds in the material
- Try another mask size or type if necessary
11. My mask seems dirty?
- Wash your mask daily
- Wash your face nightly before putting on the mask
- Avoid using skin lotions before putting on your mask
12. It doesn't seem as though enough air is flowing to me?
- Check that air from the machine is blowing
- Check the air inlet and filter for obstruction or dust build up
- Check the hose for punctures
- If you are still having problems, check with your doctor or Home Medical Services for assistance
13. My nose and throat are dry, my nose is congested, or I have nosebleeds?
- Try adding heated humidification; you will need to ask your doctor for a prescription
- Try nasal saline spray before bedtime and upon awakening
- This condition may improve over time
- Consult your doctor if symptoms persist
14. My mouth is dry?
- You may be sleeping with your mouth open. Try a chin strap.
- If a chin strap is not helpful, a full face mask may be considered or you should consult with your doctor about adding heated humidification.
15. My eyes are sore, dry, irritated, or swollen?
- The mask may be leaking into your eyes. Use the forehead adjuster, if applicable, to reduce leaks. Try pulling the mask away from your face and repositioning it.
- The mask may be too tight. Readjust the headgear straps.
16. My hose fills up with water at night?
Condensation builds up because the air in the room may be cooler than the air coming from the machine. To prevent this condensation from forming try placing the tubing under the covers to warm it. You can also purchase a hose cover made out of fleece which should help prevent the condensation.
17. I have trouble falling asleep on my therapy or I feel uncomfortable when I first apply the air pressure at night?
If the ramp feature is available on your PAP therapy device, use this feature to slowly rise to your prescribed pressure setting.
18. I feel gassy and bloated when I wake up in the morning?
- Try sleeping with your head elevated.
- Try using a chin strap to prevent mouth breathing.
- This condition may improve over time.
19. It is hard to breathe out against the constant air flow?
- This sensation may improve over time as you adapt to positive airway pressure therapy.
- You may benefit from a comfort feature such as pressure relief technology or from bi-level therapy, which makes it easier to breathe out against pressure
20. My machine does not seem to be working?
- Check the power cord to be sure it is firmly inserted into the back of the machine and the electrical outlet.
- Do not attempt to repair the unit yourself, contact your homecare provider if you have any problems you are unable to correct.
21. I just can't seem to adjust to using CPAP?
- Most people will adjust to CPAP in one or two weeks. Occasionally, it may take a little longer if, for example, you are very sensitive to the feel of the mask on your face or the sound of the device.
- Call your homecare provider or prescribing doctor if you are having problems adjusting to the treatment.
- Ask your homecare provider or prescribing doctor if you are eligible to try bi-level or auto-adjust CPAP.
- Attending a patient support group, such as A.W.A.K.E. (Alert, Well, And Keeping Energetic) may provide helpful information to improve your CPAP comfort and use. A.W.A.K.E. groups can be found by calling the American Sleep Apnea Association at 1-202-293-3650 or visiting www.sleepapnea.org.