Forum · Community Tips for Using PAP Devices

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[-] IntelligentEmeraldJay4638 +0 points · over 1 year ago

Does anyone have suggestions for dealing with the air going in my stomach rather than my lungs? I'm up to about 5 hours with the CPAP.

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[-] LadyLepty +0 points · over 1 year ago

Hello, I am just shy of the 2-month mark with my CPAP and just discovered this resource. I am looking forward to learning more about this new adventure in my life.

Here is what I could use help with: I need a full face mask because chronic allergies since early childhood have conditioned me to mouth breathe at night. (clogged nostrils and nose pillows do not mix) I also sleep on my side. I keep trying to adjust the fit, but I either wake up in the middle of the night to the mask whistling every time I inhale or to marks on my nose and cheeks - or both. Has anyone found a mask that works well for side sleeping mouth breathers?

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[-] Ruby +0 points · over 1 year ago

I'm not sure there is such a thing! I also use a full face mask and have the same problems as you. Is the mask you are wearing the only one you have tried? I had a mask that worked pretty well but left cheek marks and forehead marks. So I went into my local supplier to try something different. I found one that is much lighter and leaks less (maybe because it weighs less?) It still leaks some when I am on my side but not as much. Look on line for CPAP accessories. Several years ago I found soft pads that fit around the mask holder that is against my cheeks. They fasten with velcro and help a lot with cheek marks.

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[-] DanM +1 point · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Hi @IntelligentEmeraldJay4638. It is fairly normal for CPAP users, myself included, to swallow some air. One tip I was given early on was to practice breathing only through my nose with my tongue pressed to the roof of my mouth and the tip of my tongue touching behind my teeth. Eventually, I felt that I was swallowing less air. It took some time to adjust, but I no longer have stomach discomfort in the mornings. Any other members with thoughts about this? Best wishes, and please keep us posted!

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[-] Ruby +1 point · over 1 year ago

I had that problem for awhile and it was miserable. I was waking up several times a night tyring to get rid of the extra air. I talked to my sleep doctor finally and he reduced my air pressure. Instant relief. That may not be feasible for you but worth checking into.

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

I am going on about two months using a BiPap machine with fairly high pressures. I was initially just given a mask and told to go home and figure out how to make it work by a sleep therapist at a medical supply company. It never did work well so I called the med supply company up and got a real fitting from a much more engaged sleep therapist. The second one was a chore to seal initially as well.

I got the mask to seal through practice adjusting and running the seal check routine before attempting to go to sleep; you do better awake with fitting the mask on yourself. After learning how to get the mask to seal, I started sleeping much differently. I used to get up numerous times to make bathroom trips, sleep on a very thin pillow and sleep on my side and basically roll around a lot. I also had dreams while on the edge of wakefulness and talk in my sleep out of these dreams. Once the machine therapy starting taking affect, I pretty much had to sleep on my back to keep the mask sealed and I slept/sleep like a log but when I awoke my lower back would scream with pain.

I still have to sleep on my back to keep the mask sealed BUT I learned that if I put a TV pillow... one of those very fat sloped pillows for propping a bit, my back no longer hurt. I also got the mask to seal MUCH better by scrubbing my face to get rid of the oils and shaving my chin whiskers. I also use the humidifier as it keeps my nose/mouth a little fresher and use a 5 minute ramp time because if I don't the high pressure out of the machine is kind of disconcerting. I generally get some leaks towards the end of the 5 minute ramp and sort of push the mask around a bit to get the leaks sealed as the seal starts to press in. I seldom am awake much past this five minutes.

I sleep from 5 to 6 hours depending on the start time of the Spurs game and when they are not playing get a bit more than 6 hours. I have only slept 7 hours twice since going on sleep therapy and this has been the weekend since it is now dark in the morning and my wife gets the dogs out of the bedroom as they have a 5AM wake time regardless of what day it is.

I slept fine before but constantly dozed while driving and using power tools and the sleep study revealed very very low O2 levels when I had sleep events which I hope are a thing of the past.

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[-] Ruby +0 points · over 1 year ago

It just takes time and experimentation to see what works best. Is 5-6 hours of sleep working for you? You might also try putting a round pillow under your knees. That helps keep some of the stress off your lower back when sleeping.

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

5 to 6 hours sleep is fantastic as I sleep like a log. Go to bed at about 10:30PM... do some puzzles from the paper and then get up at 5AM every day of the week. I no longer have the least bit of an issue with my lower back now that I have propped up my pillow on a TV watching pillow. That fixed the lower back problem. I used to get a sore back whenever we traveled and slept on a strange bed and didn't know why...

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[-] ImpartialVioletRhinoceros2234 +0 points · over 1 year ago

I know that many people have had great success w/ CPAP and awake refreshed and energetic. It never did a thing for me, and I even thought it helped contribute to my getting pneumonia.

I'm looking for a good mouthpiece - hopefully one I can order on the internet without a dentist. I got one for $20 and my dentist says it is ok, but I'd like something of better quality. I think the prices that dentists are charging are outrageous, considering it is really just a molded piece of plastic.

Would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

I want to put another tip onto the end of this thread in the event it may help someone. The directions for washing the seal part of any mask generally say use mild soap. Of course, I failed to remember being told this when I received my equipment and also never looked at any of the directions that came with my mask.

Today the UPS man is bringing me a new cushion seal part for my mask I had to pay for out of my own pocket. The old one only lasted TWO MONTHS because I cleaned it daily with bleach impregnated soft wipes. No germs but I found the wipes softened the cushioning material over time and a good seal became impossible. I paid more for expedited shipping than the mask cost. Geesh... wish I could learn from my goof-ups; education gets expensive.

NO SOFT WIPES FOR A MASK!

In my defense (don't you love excuses for dumb?), I was a volunteer fireman for 12 years and we used bleach soaked soft wipes to disinfect our masks from out SCBA but they were rubber and seal surface was much more comprehensive.

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[-] DanM +1 point · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Thanks for the tip, @wiredgeorge! Most manufacturers recommend mild soap and warm water. Antibacterial soaps and bleach tend cause mask seals to deteriorate over time.

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[-] HappySleepingUser +0 points · over 1 year ago

I have been successfully using CPAP and wearing my nasal mask for about 2 years now. Last summer- I forgot my mask at a cousins' house and the first night I switched to an old one I had gotten for my Mom to try years ago. I loved how it had a chin strap on it and began to use it regularly. Then- I began feeling more and more tired during the days. I told my sister who said she could 'Hear my machine" from her bedroom at night and she "had never heard it before." What I realized is this "New" mask we leaking at times and due to that unknown trouble I was having an accumulation of fewer hours of good sleep (unknowingly). I switched back to my old mask (with chip strap) and in about a week or so, I was feeling more like myself again. Also- earlier on- I had been having trouble with keeping the darned thing plugged in due to the socket and location. Same thing happened....I fixed that and voila! I was sleeping better and feeling much better afterwards. Whatever you do- find a solution stick to it. CPAP works.... oh yeah- it's a pain in the neck, tubes, traveling with the unit and distilled water - but hey- I like feeling like I slept, don't you?

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[-] HappySleepingUser +0 points · over 1 year ago

The name above this cooment is not mine!

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[-] DanM +1 point · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Hi @HappySleepingUser. You can access the "Settings" screen after you are logged in to MyApnea.Org and change your Forum display name. Glad to hear you persisted with your troubleshooting and are getting better sleep!

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[-] DynamicMagentaRoseGiraffe0700 +0 points · over 1 year ago

I have had a cpap machine for 8 years and it keeps breaking. The people at Apria are terrible and never call me back. This machine turns itself off every two minutes and loses pressure. I am just so tired. I want a new one. I feel so much better with one. I used to fall asleep teaching....

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[-] DanM +1 point · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Hi @DynamicMagentaRoseGiraffe0700. If you have had your machine for 8 years, it is possible that you may qualify for a new machine. Have you considered contacting your physician for a new prescription to be sent to the home care company? Or contacting your insurance provider to discuss the issue? If you get a new prescription, you might consider finding out what other home care companies can provide your equipment. Best wishes!

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[-] EasygoingPurplePheasant6816 +0 points · about 1 year ago

I came to this site to see if anyone had an answer for ill fitting masks. It doesn't seem like there is an answer. I have been to general sites as well and the complaint by thousands is the ill fitting mask. It's very disappointing someone hasn't figured out a good working, comfortable mask as yet. I've only been on a BiPap machine for a couple of months. I am a mouth breather and a side sleeper. At least once a night, the mask wakes me up vibrating against my face. Every morning, I wake up with terrible pain from the mask jammed up against my nose and cheeks. I use a side sleeper pillow and that helps somewhat. My equipment provider has very nice people, but their job is to push product not spend time with finding a proper fit. Perhaps they know it's just not possible, so they don't want to spend a lot of time with it. I have researched other masks, but there doesn't seem to be many answers. My next attempt will be a $75 insert in the mouth mask. Anyone have a better solution?

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[-] RWebbRPSGT +0 points · about 1 year ago

My advice would be to research reviews of masks that are on the market today. From what it sounds like to me, the mask you use may not be right for your specific "facial landscape" . There should be a mask out there for you however, it just may take some trial and error. NO one should have to be in pain from an ill-fitting mask

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[-] DanM +1 point · about 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Hello, @EasygoingPurplePheasant6816. Mask fit is, indeed, a very difficult thing for many patients. I'm sorry to hear that you are having pain, and that should definitely not be the case on a regular basis. Have you talked to your equipment provider specifically about the pain and the potential need for a mask with better fit? Also, have you attempted to use mask liners? Some patient report that the liners help them maintain a better seal and ease some of the pressure of the mask against the skin. If you do not want to order mask liners, moleskin can be cut to fit. A mask that is too tight may also leak as much or more than a mask that is too loose, so adjust the fit (whether you loosen or tighten) may help.

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[-] Ruby +0 points · about 1 year ago

I have the same issue. It may not seem like a huge problem but even the tiniest air leak wakes me up. Dan is correct, either too loose or too tight can cause the same problem although too tight can hurt your face, cheeks and nose bridge if you use a full mask like I do. Trying to find one that fits well takes a long time and most insurance companies don't like for you to try them out. I don't know what the answer is but it is very frustrating! Just know that you aren't alone.

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[-] HelpfulSapphireDuck8091 +0 points · about 1 year ago

My sleep therapist just gave me an Amari View (Respironics) and I used it for the first time last night. I really like it as an alternative to the full-face Resmed Mirage Quattro I had. Covers mouth and nose with a pillow-like feel for the nose, so no nose bridge. Felt good, but only first night so far.

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[-] DiligentApricotLeopard8586 +0 points · about 1 year ago

For me air leakage was because the max air flow was too strong. Adjusted max flow has now stopped the hurrican in my mouth.m,iterally i could not close my mouth at air flow of 16

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[-] Ruby +0 points · about 1 year ago

Let me know how you get along with this, please!

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · about 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Mask leaks are important to consider if the leaks cause your events per hour (AHI) to remain high. If the events number is low, then a little leaking doesn't really matter all that much, in my newbie opinion. I use mask pads for my full face mask; my pressures on the Bipap are 21/25 and this large amount of pressure does come with seal issues. The pads mitigate the feeling of air in the eyes and the mask never "pops" at night and makes whistling noises with the mask pads. I get terrible scores for mask seal on my resmed.com/myair index BUT my Events Per Hour typically are less than 1 and often are none at all while the mask leaks are high. I have also learned that washing the mask with MILD HANDSOAP does wonders for seal and washing your face prior to putting the mask on.

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[-] DanM +1 point · about 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Good points, wiredgeorge. Clean skin and a clean mask are important in both maintaining a good mask seal and prevent breakdown of the mask due to oils from the skin. A clean mask may also help prevent infection, as bacteria can accumulate on the mask cushion and may enter to body if there is a small scratch, cut or other skin irritation.

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[-] BrainsNeedSleep +0 points · about 1 year ago

My understanding is that when the machine is registering HIGH LEAKS that it is UNABLE to accurately record events. For a while I believed I was doing better with the "lower pressure" I was receiving with the leaks, but quickly was corrected on that point. HIGH MASK LEAKS MEAN LIKELY INACCURATE EVENT RECORDING! Do you have SleepyHead software? Can you see your own breathing waveform? I wonder if that would help you tell...

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · about 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Well, I feel kind of dumb. For the past couple nights my dear wife has complained that the therapy equipment has sounded like a freight train and has bothered her sleep. I have had the water reservoir seal leak and makes a rushing sound. A good tap and that goes away. Since I fall asleep and these noises are really not heard, last night I did an experiment and waited through my 5 minute ramp time to see if I could hear the noise my wife referred to.

Ouch! The noise was loud and it followed my breathing. I slapped the water tank to no effect then thought about the supplies sent my my supply company. At 3 months I was sent a full mask with no harness and two spare seal parts and a bunch of little filters. I didn't recall ever see a place where any filter would go and sort of forgot about them and then thought perhaps I should take a better look.

There is a small door over the air inlet and indeed there was a filthy filter in there. I wish they would have pointed this out when I got the machine. It was so filthy that it obstructed airflow in and the machine was wheezing to pull air through not to speak of the dirt on the filter was causing me excessive dry mouth I think. Changed the filter and all was good. Dan had written somewhere that perhaps at six months the filter needed changing? I suspect mine may need it more frequently. I will keep an eye on the filter from now on...

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[-] DanM +1 point · about 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Another good point, wiredgeorge! Filters are often forgotten because they are not easy to see on some machines. Kudos for the troubleshooting and solving the problem! I encourage patients reading this post to locate the filter on your machine and check to see if it needs to be changed. Your equipment provider should be able to provide filters. If you cannot locate the filter, ask your provider for some education about your machine!

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[-] BrainsNeedSleep +0 points · about 1 year ago

Some machines actually have pollen filters as well as the foam "large particle" filters. I found I slept better when I obtained the pollen filter and installed it as well. My dog sleeps in the room with me -- this PAP air is the cleanest I breathe all day.

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · about 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

As part of my 3 month re-stocking by my equipement provider (comes automatically), I get 6 filters. I didn't bother look at the list of what I am supposed to get but included is one full mask and two more sealing parts, one set of hoses and the filters. At 6 months, I get a new water reservoir (plus the 3 month stuff). I am not sure why so many masks are being sent. I ruined the first one by cleaning with alcohol based sanitizing wipes and bought another on eBay to replace it and it looks like it might last a long time. I am curious about why to replace the hose and water reservoir as well. I am going to contact the med supply place and tell them not to send all the mask sealing parts.... I will quickly build up a huge stock of them for no reason.

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[-] BrainsNeedSleep +0 points · about 1 year ago

I'm laughing....I have a collection of hoses and am wondering what sort of art project I can do with them. Part of the reason, I think, for the replacements is getting reimbursed for them; but hoses can develop small cracks and leak pressured air, and if they aren't cleaned well and regularly, those little corrugations I think can harbor tiny nasties -- which can in turn inflame your airways, even a little, and that might be enough to contribute to events. At least that's what I have gathered thus far. You CAN decline to have things replaced so often.

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[-] HappySleepingUser +0 points · about 1 year ago

I have been using a cpap for over 2 years now. I switched early from a full mask (which was a REAL PAIN in the &*!! to a nasal pillow with a chin strap based on my supplier's tech's advice (he uses one).,

Anyhow. now I have been using one since then and it's been great. Traveling with all this stuff is a not convenient, but not sleeping is a lot worse. I got to where I was so fatigued, after walking steps a few times, my legs would collapse beneath me and I would fall down.

Since the beginning, I have had trouble with my power plug (my socket has no ground....fixed that. Then, I was using a different mask but having what I didn't 'know was a lot of time with leaks (that was making me tired in the AM's. Then, the supplier gave me my new replacemement...it was different but I thought they had switched the mask. That too, was causing a lot of leaks and horrible fatigue.

Switched suppliers: learned I had the WRONG pillow!!! Learned I could pay $30 for the pillow part only every 3 months as recommended to replace the mask. My Insurance now has such an impossible deductible ($4K+), I now pay out of pocket for everything. Thank goodness had all testing and Dx before Obamacare and its new inflated costs.

I don't like having to wear my cpap because I miss the smell of my sheets when I dried them outside on the line....it's another am/pm task, and set up take down when traveling is more time too. BUT I sleep so much better, regained a lot of my lost short term memory, I have energy back AND stamina... you would have to KILL me to take it away. I do hate it...but it helps too much to not wear it.

I champion it to others who struggle...for me it was the darned ole mask....and honestly, that should be part of sleep test and fitting...trying nasal pillows etc... those full masks are NOT comfortable...I really sweated a lot and that made the darned thing slide... I still sweat but now it's easier to simply wipe the pillow and straps off during the night and go right back to sleep.

I do not have to go out to any office each day, so- in the beginning, one thing I had the luxury of doing too, was going to bed tired and sleeping until I felt somewhat rested and getting up then- not before. My sleep times went from 11+ hours down to 9-9.5 hours. If I hadn't had all that trouble with masks I bet I would be down to 8-8.5 hours by now.

Every night, I pray everyone could find their solution and use those not to handy dandy cpaps....they DO WORK!

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[-] DanM +1 point · about 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Hi @HappySleepingUser. Thanks for posting! Your story is similar to many who have struggled with poor mask fit. I have been a CPAP user for many years now, and I had the same struggle in the beginning. I even gave up and did not wear treatment for several years. I found a good home care company that helped me find a good mask, and I have been wearing my treatment faithfully for quite some time. It really does work, and I am happy you are feeling better. Granted, traveling with the units is not so great, but the size and weight of the machines has improved over the years and will hopefully continue to do so! Best of luck, and thanks again!

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