Common CPAP Questions and Answers
This weeks blog post comes from our FAQ page, let us know if you any questions you need answers to!
GETTING STARTED WITH CPAP
When should I start feeling better after beginning to use my CPAP device?
Most patients begin feeling better within two to four weeks, though some people may take a little longer. This relies on many factors, including the usage of the machine.
I have trouble falling asleep on my therapy or I feel uncomfortable when I first apply the air pressure at night
It is normal to experience some discomfort when you are starting to use CPAP therapy. It will take time for your body to adjust to this new sensation. Most people adjust to CPAP therapy in 2 - 4 weeks, although for some it can take longer.
Be sure to put your mask on every night. Using your machine is one way to acclimatize yourself, even if it starts out with short time periods.
You can try wearing the mask when you're awake, watching T.V. or reading a book - this can help distract you and allow your body to adapt.
Your sleep therapist can help you adjust different features on your machine that help you use CPAP. The ramp is a feature that starts the machine off very low and builds to your prescribed pressure over time or when you fall asleep. Most machines come with a featuring that lessens the air pressure slightly when you exhale, making it easier and more natural to breathe with the machine.
I feel gassy and bloated when I wake up in the morning
This is not an uncommon effect when starting therapy, your body is swallowing the air instead of breathing it. Usually this will go away in a few days to a week. Try our acclimatizing tips mentioned above. Sleeping with your head elevated may help as well. Ask your sleep therapist if you would benefit from a comfort feature that offers pressure relief when exhaling. If the issue persists, your doctor may be able to suggest an alternate solution.
It is hard to breathe out against the constant air flow
This sensation may improve over time as you adapt to CPAP therapy. Your Medigas Sleep Therapist can show you comfort features with your machine that can help your exhalation.
My skin seems irritated, even bruised, or I have marks on my face
If your mask is too tight, you can loosen the straps as long as you are getting a good seal. This may also be a sign that your mask needs replacement.
You may require a different size or style of mask, our sleep therapists will find your CPAP mask, contact us to book an appointment.
If you are still experiencing discomfort, you may require a barrier, like the Gecko pad or cotton.
How can I tell when my mask is worn out?
The manufacturers have specific recommendations on mask replacement. They suggest that the cushion and headgear are replaced very 6 months, and the whole mask once a year. These guidelines ensure proper therapy, comfort and cleanliness. Most insurance and 3rd party payers have allowances for this replacement schedule. Our Medigas Manitoba Care representatives will help you with those.
My mask seems to be leaking into my cheeks or eyes
Your mask does have an exhalation port that does blow air, this is normal. If a mask leak is occurring around your eyes or mouth, follow these steps to fix it:
Check all the connections for improper assembly and breaks or tears.
If your mask has a forehead arm or adjustment feature, try readjusting that first to correct the leak.
Next, readjust the headgear straps. The mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal. A mask that is too tight against the face can cause leaks to occur by creating folds in the material. Remember, you want to do a final strap adjustment when you are lying down and some machines having a mask fit setting to help.
If you are still not achieving a good seal, contact us to book an appointment, we may be able to help or fit you to a different mask.
My mask needs cleaning
Masks require proper cleaning and care for your therapy and your health.
Your mask should be wiped with a damp cloth once a day. The whole mask should be washed in warm soapy water with a gentle soap once a week and dried thoroughly before use.
Your mask would have come with a manual that includes care instructions specific to your style of mask.
I have a moustache or a beard. Which mask is best to use?
Our trained sleep therapists will be happy to find the mask that works best for you. Yes, facial hair can make a mask seal more difficult, but there is a mask for everyone!
CPAP THERAPY ISSUES
What if I still snore while using the CPAP device?
Snoring while on CPAP may occur. If you are feeling rested, it may be acceptable. If you are having other symptoms of sleep apnea, your may want to consult your doctor for re-assessment.
What if I lose or gain weight or my old symptoms reappear?
Weight gain or loss of 20 pounds, medication or activity changes, and your health status all can lead to affects to your obstructive sleep apnea. If you are concerned, or have noticed symptoms of sleep apnea, you will want to discuss this with your doctor and consider re-assessment.
It doesn’t seem as though enough air is flowing to me
Your machine could be malfunctioning. Check the flow from the back of the machine and ensure nothing is blocking the inlet filter. We can test the pressure of your machine if you bring it into one of our offices.
With regular use, your machine will feel as though it is not blowing a lot of air, this can be just because you are more acclimatized to the pressure.
Air hunger can also be a sign that your pressure may need to be reassessed. Talk to your doctor about this after ruling out the above steps.
My nose and throat are dry, my nose is congested, or I have nosebleeds
Try adjusting the temperature setting on your humidifier. Your machine manual will show you how to do this, and if that's not clear, the staff at our offices can help. You may require a product that moistens or lubricates your nostrils prior to use.
Consult your doctor if symptoms persist.
My mouth is dry
You may be sleeping with your mouth open. If this is the case, you can purchase a chinstrap that will remind your mouth to stay closed. If the issue persists, a different mask style may be required and our sleep therapists can guide you with that. Increasing your humidity will also help.
My hose fills up with water at night
This effect is called rainout. Condensation builds up because the air in the room is cooler than the air in your tube. To prevent the condensation forming, you can insulate your tube with a tubing wrap, or make your own. If the issue persists, you may want to consider a heated tube that has a temperature regulated coil that warms the tubing. Your Medigas Manitoba staff will help you find the best option for you.
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. Medigas Manitoba has a fully serviced repair and service setup. We can provide assessments, quotes and repairs on many CPAP and Oxygen machines. We are also able to facilitate warranty replacement or repair.