10 Most Common CPAP Problems & Solutions
CPAP can cause problems for many, especially new CPAP users. Here are the 10 most common CPAP problems, and the CPAP solutions which have worked well to resolve these issues, as I have personally witnessed in Mobile AL over the years at Affinity Home Medical.
After decades of experience providing CPAP, and producing thousands of successful outcomes, I decided to share this brief writing in hopes that you will find something here which will make you LOVE your CPAP.
I don't even know if I need CPAP!
Try using the STOPBANG questionnaire here's a link to MD-Calc to score your potential for Sleep Apnea! This may help determine if you may be a good candidate for a sleep study. Additionally I recommend that if you are thinking sleep apnea is a possibility, GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR ASAP and discuss your options.
I can't get used to having the mask on my face or nose. I am not able to acclimate to using CPAP.
Try using your CPAP for a few minutes during the day while you are awake. Sit in your favorite chair, read a good book or watch TV. You will find that the more you do this (especially in the beginning), the easier it will be when it's time for sleep.
Also, remember that it is truly difficult for some, so commitment is important. Be sure to start every night with your CPAP. If you don't make it all the way through the night at first, it's OK. Just keep starting the night with your CPAP, and eventually it will become a great habit.
My mask leaks, the mask doesn't fit well, or it makes my nose soar.
If your mask is leaking then you need a new one, OR you made need to adjust the straps to make it "seat" better. If the mask is actually the correct size, and still leaks, then you may need to switch to a different brand or style all together. I find the Rio II to be excellent for the price. If your nose becomes slightly sore in the first few days, this is fairly common. The best thing to do is use a bit of gel to alleviate the sensitive skin, and after a few days the soreness should disappear.
I don't have time to clean my CPAP, it is way to time-consuming and too much trouble.
Cleaning your CPAP is a must. I understand that it takes time, but it has to be done on a regular basis, because bacteria, mold, and other organisms find this environment to be perfect. They thrive in warm, moist, and dark spaces. Doesn't that sound like a CPAP water reservoir, mask and tubing? Yes indeed. So clean your CPAP as directed by your provider.
The SoClean CPAP cleaning machine is a wonderful solution as it is automatic and uses ozone to clean which does a very thorough job, probably even better than what you could do by hand at the sink.
I can't use my CPAP because every time I wake up and look in the mirror, I see those awful lines on my face that the CPAP mask and headgear leave. These lines stay on my face all day!! No way!!
Try a different mask that will not leave these markings. Example: Rio II which has soft cloth wraps that when in place, provides a soft barrier and usually leaves no markings on your face.
Consider that you may be tightening the straps on the headgear too much. Try this: leave it extremely loose (so loose that you KNOW it will leak), then turn on the CPAP machine, then gradually tighten it until the leaking barely stops. Test the tension by moving your head up, down, left and right. If no leaking springs up, you've got it right!
I travel a lot, and the CPAP equipment is too bulky and cumbersome to pack. I don't have space or time to deal with all of the CPAP equipment needed when I am on the go.
Travel CPAP's are now available which are extremely small and quiet! Finally the price for these travel CPAP's is affordable and well worth the cost. Mini CPAP's are dependable and super easy for travel.
When I sleep with CPAP, I wake with belly bloating, pain, and lots of "gas". I just can't do it!
This condition is called "aerophagia". The cause of this is likely due to your CPAP pressure is entering into your esophagus and to your stomach. This air will cause stomach bloating, gas, and pain in your stomach. If this is the case, you should call or visit your physician today. It's possible that your CPAP pressure is too low, or too high. It will be smart to ask your provider to check the actual pressure on your machine. Make sure that your pressure is set accurately to the pressure your physician has prescribed. Additionally, many CPAP machines offer pressure relief on exhalation and automatic pressure adjustments based on your need! The machine will, at the moment you begin to exhale, reduce the pressure slightly, making exhaling more comfortable and reducing the chance that air enters the esophagus. Additionally, talk to your physician or supplier about the mask you use. It may be appropriate to use a full face mask, or a chin strap with your nasal mask.
I have water droplets in my CPAP mask and tubing when I use the CPAP heated humidifier. Waking up with water on my face is no fun!!
First of all, using the humidifier is helpful for long-term success, and important. The humidified air makes CPAP compliance improve and it's way more comfortable for the user. Water droplets will form inside the CPAP tubing when the temperature in the room is lower and colder than the temperature inside of the CPAP tubing. The bigger the difference is, the more water droplets appear. So, there are a few ways to resolve this. If you can, reduce the heat setting on your CPAP heated humidifier, this may end the problem. You may also increase the temperature in your room. If neither of these options are working, the best solution is to use a "climate line". The climate line is a special CPAP tube which will constantly measure the temp in your room AND the temp inside the tube. The CPAP machines, which allow a climate line connection, will automatically adjust your CPAP machine's heated humidifier to produce maximum humidity without producing "rain out" or the water droplets inside of you CPAP tube.
When I use my CPAP, I wake up with an extremely dry mouth, and I am told I still snore even when I use my CPAP.
If you are snoring while using CPAP, please contact your physician. The CPAP machine may be set too low, you may have the wrong mask, but either way, if you snore, you are not receiving good CPAP therapy. Something needs to be done to resolve the situation.
Sometimes, the dry mouth scenario indicates that your mouth may be opening in your sleep, allowing the CPAP pressure to escape. If this happens while using a nasal mask, it will likely result in the driest mouth you have ever experienced. Additionally, if air is leaking from your mouth, the CPAP pressure is not in your airway as it should be, and therefore, you may continue to snore even though you are using the CPAP. If you want to continue using a nasal interface, consider a good chin strap. If the chin strap to gently keep your mouth closed while you sleep.
I can't use my CPAP because I can't stand to keep the mask on my face! I am claustrophobic!
There is no doubt that using CPAP can cause anxiety and a claustrophobic reaction in some people. One possible solution goes back to problem #1 where we discussed acclamation or "getting used" to your CPAP. Use it some during the day when you are awake watching TV or reading. If this doesn't work, then talk to your physician as he/she may be able to help through a coaching plan or medication's which I have seen helpful to some. Lastly, a simple CPAP mask change may be helpful. Consider the Rio II as it is the best I have seen at a super good price, and has helped many overcome this challenge.
This list is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. It is merely a collection of information guided by experience after decades of providing CPAP.
Please comment, or share if you know someone who could benefit from reading this information!
Sleep Well My Friends!!