If you recently started CPAP therapy and are already getting a full, restful sleep for the first time in years, then congratulations! However, if you are one of many that are finding the therapy difficult to get used to then we are here to help. Following are some of the most common problems that can arise from beginning PAP therapy and how to deal with them.
1. My Mask Doesn’t Fit!
There are a wide range of CPAP masks available. While one style may work well for one person, it may not be the solution for another. All faces are different and it is important to work with your doctor and Nationwide Medical to make sure you have the correct fitting mask. It is also important to keep in mind the style of mask needed for your sleeping habits. If you move around a lot at night you will want one that has a secure headgear that provides stability of the mask on your face. If you are a mouth breather you will most likely need a chin strap or a full face mask. If you have a tendency of feeling claustrophobic, a nasal pillow mask may be the best option for you.
2. My Nose is Stuffed Up!
Most CPAPs now come with a heated humidifier which decreases the chances of developing a dry or stuffy nose. However, if you are still having problems there are two possible solutions. One is to ensure you have the humidifier set high enough. Humidifiers typically have settings anywhere from 0-8 which allow you to increase or decrease the amount of moisture the machine delivers. Also, using a nasal saline spray at bedtime can help by lubricating the nasal passages. If all else fails, contact your physician. They may be able to prescribe a nasal steroid spray.
3. There is too much air!
If the set pressure feels like it is set too high, do not give up! Most CPAP machines have an automatic ramp feature. This allows the machine to begin at a lower pressure than your doctor prescribed. Over a set period of time, usually 20 minutes, the machine will gradually increase to the prescribed pressure as you are falling asleep. If you wake in the middle of the night, you can simply reactivate the ramp feature by pressing a button, and fall asleep once again.
4. The mask is uncomfortable!
Begin slowly. You may start by putting the CPAP mask on while watching television or reading a book. This allows you time to practice breathing and get used to the pressure. Make sure to use the CPAP every night even if you only tolerate a couple of hours to begin with. Gradually increase the time you use it over a couple of weeks until you are able to use it consistently all night. You will receive the most benefit from your therapy if you use your device nightly and for a full night’s sleep. Additionally, many insurances, including Medicare, require that you show compliance by using the machine for a minimum amount of hours or your insurance will not pay for the equipment. Our Clinical Care Department is available to answer questions and assist you as you work toward compliance on your CPAP device.
5. The CPAP machine is too noisy!
Most machines have very little sound and should be very easy to get used too. The sound is very similar to having a fan on in your room. However, if your CPAP machine is sounding noisier than usual be sure to check that the filters are clean and that there is good air flow around the unit. If your unit is older and you feel it needs repair but you are not yet eligible for a new machine from your insurance provider, Nationwide Medical can assist you in getting the machine repaired and in many cases provide a loaner unit while yours is being serviced. Please contact our Clinical Care Department for more information.
Although using a CPAP device can be frustrating to begin with, it is worth sticking with it. CPAP therapy is the best non-invasive treatment option available to people suffering from sleep apnea. Successful treatment with CPAP therapy can decrease your chances of developing many sleep apnea-related complications including heart disease, diabetes, and daytime sleepiness.
Nationwide Medical Inc. is a leader in sleep apnea support and CPAP/BiLevel machines and supplies. We have more than a decade of experience serving 100,000 patients with 24/7 clinical support and are contracted with Medicare and most commercial insurance companies. You can reach us at www.nationwidemedical.com or call 1-877-307-2727 (CPAP). Please also visit our cash pay site at www.nationwidemedicaldirect.com.