Problems With CPAP Machines And How To Avoid Them

 By: Christian Rabatsch
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines also known as CPAP machines are used to help treat obstructive sleep apnea. The machine provides a continuous and stable air pressure. It includes a mask, a hose and a nose piece.

There are some common problems that people using these machines may face. These are:

1. Getting used to wearing the device

It may be quite difficult to get used to wearing the mask. Wearing the mask during the day while you're awake will help you get accustomed to how it feels using the device. You can wear it while watching TV. Do this consistently to ensure that you are comfortable with the pressure settings.

2. Dry, stuffy nose

Some people experience this. It helps to use a machine with a heated humidifier attached to the air pressure device. The humidification level is adjustable. You can also use a nasal saline spray. If these do not help, your doctor may prescribe an appropriate nasal steroid spray. Also ensure that your mask fits well.

3. Pressure sores, leaky mask and skin irritation

A leaky or unfitting mask deprives you of the full air pressure you require and irritates your skin and eyes. Adjust your mask to the appropriate fit to reduce these problems.

4. Dry Mouth

Some of these devices may worsen dry mouth for patients who sleep with their mouths open. A chin strap or a device with a full-mask may assist in keeping the mouth closed. This helps reduce air leakage. You can also use a machine with a humidifier attached to the air pressure machine.

5. Noise Might Be Annoying

Most of these devices nowadays are almost silent. If your machine has a noise, have it checked to ensure that it is working properly.

6. Mask might slip off your face during the night

If you move a lot in your sleep, you might wake up and find yourself not wearing the mask. Go for a full face mask and a good fit to avoid this.

7. Difficulty falling asleep

This happens especially during the first days of using the machine. To avoid this, try using the mask during the day so as to get accustomed to the feeling. Ensure that you also practice good sleeping habits like regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and caffeine and relaxing by taking a warm bath before bedtime.

8. Feeling claustrophobic

To reduce this feeling, you can first try holding only the mask up to your face. Do not use the other parts at this point. If you are comfortable, incorporate the straps.

Then, try hold the mask and hose to your face minus the straps. Attach the hose to your device with the setting at the lowest air pressure. You can use the ramp feature at this point. You can then wear the mask with the straps. Have the pressure turned on.

Do all these while awake and when you are comfortable with your device, you can use it at bedtime.

9. Difficulty tolerating forced air

Some patients find it difficult to tolerate forced air. These devices have a "ramp" feature that can help deal with this problem. Your doctor can adjust the amount of pressure for you.

10. Wrong size or design of the mask

It is essential to include your doctor and the supplier of your device to ensure that you get yourself a mask that fits well and meets your needs. Patients have different face shapes and needs.

Masks are available in different sizes and they can be adjusted to fit your face well. Your supplier or doctor will demonstrate to you how to do the adjustments. You will also get instructions enclosed in the package on how to go about that.

The masks also come in various designs. There are those that cover both the mouth and nose and have straps stretching across the forehead and cheeks. Machines with these masks work perfectly as they provide firm fit for patients who move around a lot while sleeping. However, they may make some patients feel claustrophobic.

Some machines have masks with nasal pillows that fit under the nose and the straps only cover a small part of the face. Such masks are more comfortable.

Sleep disorder treatment machines are beneficial to people with sleep apnea conditions. However, the above problems are faced by many people but the good news is that there is a valid solution for each problem.
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