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If you have sleep apnea and are using a CPAP machine than you know that there can be issues that make this therapy difficult to use. Sometimes you can find support to resolve these issues and sometimes there are solutions that your doctor, sleep tech or respiratory therapist may not be aware of. Researching this on the internet can be equally as baffling because of all the contradictory information. There are however some solutions that might solve some common problems when using CPAP.
One of the biggest issues people have is with their mask. During the first thirty days after receiving your machine you can change your mask at no cost just by calling the company that set up your machine. After that if you want to change your mask you need to get a prescription from your doctor. In many cases your sleep lab or your sleep doctor can bring you in to try out different masks and than write a prescription and send it to the DME company.
If the mask leaks or if you are developing a sore on the bridge of your nose a device called a Gecko nasal pad will help to reduce leaks around the nose and will take the pressure off your skin. Remzzz makes a full face mask liner that will also assist with this problem.
If you are developing dry mouth or a dry nose and you have increased your humidifier as high as it can go than you may want to ask about a heated tube. In certain machines they can be added to help increase humidity without water raining out into the tubing.
If you are finding that your face is breaking out where the mask sits than there can be a couple of solutions to this problem. You are not washing your mask cushion every day or you may be using a soap that is too harsh. Make sure you wash the mask with something you can also wash your face with. Make sure it is rinsed well and air dried. You also need to make sure you are changing your mask and mask cushion frequently enough. If you go too long the cushion begins to get brittle and will develop leaks, you will than tighten it too tight which will than cause problems with your face.
If you are a side sleeper, than you might like the new sleep pillows that several companies have created. They have great support while having cut outs that allow you to roll on your side without the mask becoming dislodged and leak.
If you are unable to tolerate the pressure, than you might be a candidate for an oral appliance. Sometimes they will replace the CPAP and sometimes you can use them in conjunction with the machine to reduce the pressure. There are many different types of oral appliances and they should be created by a dentist trained in sleep specific oral appliances.
The most important thing you can do is talk to those who are there to help you. Discussing your problems with the sleep doctor, sleep lab or DME company is the best way to solve your problems. CPAP therapy is long term therapy and we understand that it sometimes takes a little time to get used to it. It is the job of the professionals to help you adapt to the therapy and if you can not than to help you find an option that will work best for you.