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A period of adjustment is required before a person undergoing obstructive sleep apnoea therapy tolerates the CPAP machine. He must build up tolerance not only on the air pressure delivered by the machine but also the presence of the CPAP mask. There are those who readily feel comfortable using a CPAP machine whereas there are those who require a change of OSA therapy as they cannot tolerate the machine.
Common problems of new CPAP machine users are difficulty in falling asleep, dry nose or mouth, and mask that leaks. The premise is to not give up initially as tolerance for the CPAP will eventually build up after adjustments on the air pressure and mask are done.
CPAP Problems and Solutions
Problem in tolerating air pressure – CPAP machines have a ramp feature that affords users to adjust the air pressure to the lowest level setting. This feature automatically and gradually increases the air pressure to the prescribed level as the patient falls into a deep sleep. For those who cannot tolerate even the gradual increase of air pressure, BiPAP therapy is an option.
Some patients can tolerate the air pressure but feels claustrophobic wearing the mask. A quick and easy solution is to hold the mask and hose up to face level sans the device. As the patient gets used to the hose and mask on his face, he should attach the hose to the machine and set it to the lowest pressure while he is awake. As he gets used to the mask and machine he should then try sleeping with them on.
Wrong mask size or style – As there are plenty of CPAP mask styles and sizes, a patient has to make sure that his CPAP mask is of the right fit and size. What works for one does not necessarily works for the other so it is best to pick the mask that fits him to a “T”. Options such as full face masks, nasal pillow masks and nasal mask with headgear are available.
To get used to wearing the mask, a patient should try to wear the mask for short periods while doing routine work or activities.
Dry mouth and nose – Dry mouth and stuffy nose are also problems encountered by CPAP users. The best solution for this dilemma is to use a CPAP machine with a heated humidifier. If this is not plausible, using a nasal saline spray during therapy is another option. A person who breathes through his mouth or breathes with his mouth open will definitely experience dry mouth. He should use a CPAP mask with a chin strap to keep his mouth closed. Using a full mask that covers the nose and mouth is another option.
Other concerns when using CPAP machines are the noise produced by the machine and the possibility of the user removing the mask during therapy. For new users of CPAP, it is best to set aside time for you to adjust to the machine.
Does CPAP therapy really works?
If you and your partner are enjoying peaceful, restful and snore-free nights, and energetic and awake on the morning, then CPAP therapy is working!
For enquiries and information regarding OSA and CPAP therapy call PerthCPAP Victoria now.