Patients with sleep apnea will no doubt find the prospect of using CPAP therapy to improve their health and the quality of their sleep difficult at first. Common complaints include feelings of constraint, noise, cumbersome straps and hooks, and leaks or marks on the face. However, many of these problems are actually a result of poorly fitted or set up equipment, or a lack of patient education. With proper products and support, getting comfortable in your CPAP mask can be an easy task to integrate into your nightly routine.
Getting comfortable in your CPAP mask is actually a multi-step process. The first step is to ensure that your mask is properly fitted and sized. This can be clearly determined with help from a respiratory therapist. Aeroflow Healthcare provides mask fittings in our many locations from our trained respiratory therapists. With a proper fitting, patients will lay on their side on an actual bed, simulating the positioning and fit that they will have in their own home. Additionally, this will allow patients to choose from a variety of types and styles of mask. Once fitted with the appropriate equipment, the next task in getting comfortable in your CPAP mask will be to physically fit the mask to your own face in your home.
One of the most common mistakes made when attempting to get comfortable in your CPAP mask is tightening the headgear as tightly as possible. When patients are experiencing movement or leaks, their usual first instinct is to cinch the headgear as tightly as they can. This can actually be counterintuitive, producing even greater leaks by placing uneven pressure on your face, which can also produce marks and sore areas, particularly on the bridge of the nose. Once the headgear is secured appropriately, patients will often experience a slight leak, and believe that their mask fits poorly. In reality, this is because sliding a mask on vertically does not produce a good seal by itself. Slowly pull the entire mask away from your face, and allow it to evenly return to your face, producing a good seal with the cushion or pillows. This process can be repeated a few times to produce a good seal and even pressure on the face. Many mask fit issues are a result of sliding the mask on vertically due to not wanting to undo the headgear. This is why many newer styles of CPAP headgear have easy Velcro tabs to allow sizing to remain consistent, but does not required the mask to be pulled on over the top of the head, producing a better initial seal.
Another common issue with getting comfortable with your CPAP mask is issues with the CPAP tubing itself. Many patients will find that some CPAP tubing can be inflexible right out of the packaging, leading to it getting in the way during sleep. Hanging tubing vertically for a few days prior to using a new set can help alleviate this. Additionally, hose wraps, soft fabric sheathes meant to contain the tubing, can prevent condensation build up, as well as make tubing less obstructive or cold to the touch. Patients can also utilize hose hooks in order to look the tubing around their headboard, eliminating the risk of tripping over the tubing or snagging on the edge of the bed.
Getting comfortable in your sleep mask is mostly a matter of developing good habits. Many patients who are set up on a CPAP machine are done so with minimal education and interaction on the part of their DME provider. Aeroflow Healthcare can mail your CPAP supplies right to your home, but we also offer 24 hour support for all your CPAP mask needs. If you are having mask fit difficulties or other CPAP related issues, you can always call and speak with our trained representatives. If you live near one of our several locations, our trained respiratory therapists can even educate and refit your mask if needed. CPAP therapy can provide real measurable improvement to the quality of your sleep and life if you have sleep apnea. Don’t suffer through drowsiness, irritability, restless sleep, and many other more serious potential ailments. Contact Aeroflow Healthcare today and ask about how we can help integrate CPAP therapy into your life seamlessly.