Common Problems With CPAP

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Common Problems With CPAP

The following are some common problems you may have with your sleep apnea mask or CPAP device, and some possible solutions, courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians:

- The sleep apnea mask feels uncomfortable. Because everyone's face has a different shape, you may need to try different masks to find one that fits you well.
- Your nose feels dry and stuffy. You can try using a humidifier to moisten the air from the CPAP device.
- Your nose feels blocked up. Ask your doctor if you have a nose problem that can be treated with a nasal spray.
- The sleep apnea mask bothers your skin and nose. Because the mask must fit firmly over your nose and cheeks, it may irritate your skin. A different size or kind of mask may help. There are also special skin moisturizers made for CPAP device users.
- The mask leaks air. Some people can't keep their jaw closed while wearing the mask. A chin strap can help hold up your jaw to keep the air in (see the picture below).
- You don't like the pressure. You may find that breathing out against the air pressure keeps you from sleeping deeply. Your doctor may ask you to use a bi-level machine that lowers the air pressure when you breathe out. The same mask may be used with CPAP and bi-level machines.
- You take the mask off during your sleep or don't wear it every night. Most people can't wear the mask all night long, every night, right from the start. Keep trying, even if you can only use the mask for an hour a night at first. Once you solve your comfort problems, you should be able to increase the time you wear the mask.
- You just can't get used to the sleep apnea mask. Some people find that wearing a dental device that pushes their tongue forward helps. You may want to talk with your doctor about whether throat or jaw surgery could help.



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