CPAP Masks, Things to Consider
My CPAP Mask doesn’t fit
A good CPAP mask makes all the difference! When you have a comfortable mask that fits properly it is much more likely that you will actually use your CPAP machine for the long-term treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). A good fitting mask will result in sleeping better, feeling better, and help prevent all the co morbidities that come with OSA such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and fatigue among many others.
How do I fix that pesky leak?
Depending on which mask you have, you will have different adjustments you can make. Some general rules can be followed though:
- Start with the mask at the loose-fitting position (you can and tighten the upper strap just enough so that the mask does not slide down on your face)
- Next, tighten the bottom straps just enough that you can slide 1-2 fingers between the lower straps and your cheeks
- If you have a leak going into your eyes, adjust the top straps or the use the frames upper adjustment
- If you have leaks around the lower portion of the mask, tighten the straps only slightly to try to get a seal
- Ironically, sometimes a mask will leak more when it’s too tight than when it’s too loose
There are many great online resources that will help you fit your particular CPAP mask. Here are some quick links:
Mouth Breather VS Nose Breather
Most people will tell me they are mouth breathers when I go to set them up on a CPAP machine for the first time. When I ask how they know, I ask “how do you know you are a mouth breather?” Typically I gen an answer something like this “I wake up every morning with a dry mouth and I snore too”. What most people don’t realize is that you may be a mouth breather because you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This does not necessarily mean that you will be a mouth breather while on CPAP.
When there is an obstruction in your upper airway, many who suffer from OSA open their mouths in order to breathe. If you are wearing a CPAP machine your airway will be kept open and you will most likely breathe through your nose. I’d say close to 50% of the people I set up with a full face mask (covering the nose and mouth) later try a nasal mask and find that it works much better.
Pressure can have an impact on mask style
At high pressures masks are going to leak unless they are fit almost perfectly. Some people will go straight to a full-face mask, sometimes I go the opposite route. The reason: contact area. You see, with a full-face mask you have so much skin contact with the cushion that you have more areas for leaks. With a nasal mask (covering only the nose) there is less room for leaks because there is less skin contact. Of course, if you cannot tolerate the nasal mask at higher pressures, by all means we will work with you to find the best solution.
Sound Oxygen Service goes the extra mile so you don’t have to
If you continue to have problems with your mask fit let us know and we will help you find the best mask for you and the best fit with that mask. Remember, we can come to you so you don’t have to make the trip. We can bring several masks to find the best one. The best fit can be in your home where you can lie down, as you will be when going to bed. A good mask fitting experience is what helps Sound Oxygen Service achieve our 90%+ compliance rate.