Sleep apnea is a common condition that can affect anyone, irrespective of age. Many sleep apnea patients use CPAP machines (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) to improve their air intake. The device helps patients with sleep apnea breathe better at night by increasing air pressure and oxygen intake. Unfortunately, the BiPAP mask has its fair share of problems, though mild and easy to correct. This article will address those issues and offer solutions just in case you encounter them in the future.
Common CPAP/BiPAP Mask Problems and How to Solve Them
1. The Mask Doesn’t Fit Properly
A CPAP mask should fit properly to make treatment comfortable and effective. Not to worry, though; if your mask doesn’t fit properly, there are several ways to solve it. You should first ensure that you are wearing the mask properly. We recommend asking your medical professional to show you how to put it on correctly and only go to the second solution if it still doesn’t fit properly.
If the first solution doesn’t work out, you should check with your doctor to see if the mask was made as per your facial features. Every patient is different, and thus facial features will often vary per patient. Don’t be shy to speak up if you feel that the mask presented by your doctor is too tight or loose. Facial changes caused by weight loss or gain and growth of facial hair can also cause your mask not to fit correctly. Whatever the case, your doctor will be more than capable of resolving the issue.
2. Leaking Air Pressure
A CPAP machine applies constant pressure to hold your throat open while sleeping, thus ensuring a steady supply of oxygen. A leaking face mask can therefore make treatment less effective against sleep apnea.
A CPAP mask that fits well is the easiest way to prevent air pressure leakage. However, the problem can also happen if the mask is worn out. Masks and other parts of the CPAP machine, like the filter, will experience wear and tear and should be replaced regularly to ensure treatment stays effective for an extended period.
3. Dry or Stuffy Nose After Wearing the Mask
The high air pressure exerted by CPAP machines may cause sinus issues such as a dry or stuffy nose. If you have a modern CPAP machine, there is a big chance that it has an inbuilt humidifier. All you need to do is turn it on to increase the air moisture content, and you can say goodbye to your sinus issues.
4. Uncomfortable Air Pressure
If you are using the CPAP machine for the first time, there is a high likelihood you won’t be comfortable with the feeling of high pressured air blowing into your nose. However, that will be a problem of the past, as many CPAP machines currently have “Sleep Onset Detection,” which controls air pressure to be more comfortable. When activated, air blows at low pressure and gradually increases after the device detects you’ve fallen asleep.
There are also CPAP devices with C-Flex attachments fitted with built-in sensors to regulate air pressure when the patient is inhaling and exhaling. With the release of these features and some still in development, there is no doubt that you may never have to deal with uncomfortable air pressure after upgrading to a new modern CPAP device.
5. A Bothersome Connecting Tube
Even though the mask tube is crucial in CPAP treatment, it can be a nuisance when trying to sleep. If that is what’s causing you to lack a good night’s sleep, we recommend purchasing CPAP treatment pillows. They were explicitly meant for patients with sleep apnea since they have ribbed groves on both sides, enabling you to comfortably rest your head on either side while wearing the CPAP mask tube. They come in different sizes, so you should go through the ones listed on sale to pick one that best suits your needs.
6. The Device Is Too Loud
Even though modern CPAP devices are quiet, certain things can cause the device to emit weird noises. One common reason is particles and debris getting blocking the filter. Clean the air filter first to check if the problem goes away. If that doesn’t work, you can take the device to a professional to check for signs of damage. If they don’t find any issues, you may have to wear earplugs when sleeping to block the noise.
CPAP machines are effective and crucial for sleep apnea treatment. Nonetheless, you may still encounter a few challenges when using the device. We listed common challenges you are likely to encounter while wearing a CPAP mask and, most importantly, the best ways to deal with them once they occur.