New launches showcase trends such as minimal face contact, noise reducing technology, and a natural feel. By Lisa Spear Some sleep apnea patients will tell you that it’s not always easy to sleep with a CPAP mask. Escaping air can create a loud hissing noise that wakes them up during the night. The headgear can feel claustrophobic and restrictive. Tight straps that keep the mask securely in place can dig into the skin and leave marks the next morning. Some patients may find that nasal pillow masks are less bulky, make minimal contact with the face, and allow them to move more freely. These masks continue to evolve, offering lighter, more comfortable interfaces. “I find that a lot of patients are pulling away from the full facemask. They want the very small, petite, noninvasive, nonintrusive nasal masks,” says Russell Rozensky, MS, RRT-SDS, CPFT, RPSGT, program director at The Stony Brook School of Health Technology and Management’s Polysomnographic Technology Program in New York. “A lot of the full facemasks cause a certain level of anxiety for patients and with the new nasal pillows, and the smaller nasal interfaces, it makes it a lot more comfortable for patients to sleep with,” says Rozensky. When working with a new patient, Rozensky will first have them try a nasal pillow mask. If there isn’t enough pressure or if the sleep apnea is severe, he might move them to a full face mask, but then there are new problems that emerge. Sometimes patients on full masks will swallow too much air, which leads to stomachaches, flatulence and even, in some cases, vomiting. This is more avoidable with nasal pillows since they are easier to remove quickly during the night, if [...]
A lot of new CPAP users report having an increase in sinus congestion after starting CPAP therapy. When treating your Obstructive Sleep Apnea, sinus congestion presents a roadblock to healthy breathing. CPAP air is an irritant - to one degree or another - to everyone. The irritation may cause the nasal passages to dry out and bleed, or the mucous membranes may try to protect the nasal passages by producing excess mucous and so congestion results. The best option is to increase your humidifier level to add moisture to the CPAP air and reduce or eliminate the irritation. If you are already using a heated humidifier, try turning it up to a higher setting. If that produces condensation in the six foot hose, you should try an insulated cover for the hose. Other options are to: Try a Heated CPAP Tubing which gives you better control of the humidity (these can be found under CPAP Tubing). Wait and See Visit your the ear/nose/throat doctor, and let them know you are on CPAP therapy
Sores, redness and bumps around your nose can be caused by one of three main reasons: facial oils are building up under the mask material; the mask is overly tight; or the mask material is causing an allergic reaction. A breakout can occur from the facial oils building up under the mask at night. You can help minimize this by washing your face before putting on the mask at night and by cleaning the facial oils off the mask every morning. If you are still experiencing a breakout, you might consider Nasal Pillow Mask which have less material that comes in contact with the skin. Sores at the bridge of the nose or below the nose are usually due to tightening the headgear straps too much. The pressure will create soreness, then a bruise, and may eventually create an open sore if left untreated. Your mask should seal when worn comfortably. If you have to over tighten your mask to get a good seal, consider switching to another mask type. To avoid over tightening your mask, you should work clockwise around the mask, making small adjustments to the headgear, until the headgear in securely in place but not overly tight. You should avoid pulling too much on one side of the mask than then other. Most masks are made of silicone, which is an inert substance. But silicone is manufactured in chemicals to which some people are allergic. The chemicals normally degrade and disperse over time, but may cause a reaction when first used. The solution is to remove surface chemicals before using the mask. Washing the mask will reduce or eliminate the problem. This process can be accelerated by long soaks in warm soapy water. [...]
Most red marks on the face are caused by over tightening the CPAP mask. CPAP masks should only be tightened down enough to create a seal. To avoid over tightening your mask, you should work clockwise around the mask, making small adjustments to the headgear, until the mask is securely in place but not overly tight. You should avoid pulling too much on one side of the mask than then other. By cleaning your mask cushion, nasal pillows, and nasal prongs on a daily basis, you ensure a better seal each time you put on your mask. If you know you have a mask that fits, and are cleaning it daily, and still have red marks, consider using mask strap pads which are soft covering for the headgear straps.
People remove their mask during sleep because they are not getting enough air. The CPAP pressure may be reduced if your mask is leaking. Your mask may be too big or too old. We would suggest you resize your mask to be sure you have the best size. If your mask fits you but is six to nine months old, it should be replaced. As the silicone in the mask cushion ages, it deteriorates and becomes too soft to hold a seal. For many masks, you can get a replacement cushion. Go to our Mask Parts section under CPAP Supplies to buy a new cushion. If the CPAP air is being delivered effectively and without leaks, it may be that the pressure is set too low. Pressure settings may require change due to weight gain or loss and aging. You should speak to your doctor if you think your pressure may need to be adjusted.
The primary reason why nasal passages sometimes dry out from CPAP use is lack of adequate humidification. CPAP air is an irritant - one degree or another - to everyone. The irritation may cause the nasal passages to dry out and bleed, or the mucous membranes may try to protect the nasal passages by producing excess mucous and so congestion results. And the irritation can be cumulative; the problem may develop over time. Furthermore, dry, cracked or bleeding nasal passages are a breeding ground for infection. Increase your humidity level to add moisture to the CPAP air and reduce or eliminate the irritation. If that produces condensation in the six foot hose, you should try a insulated cover for your hose or a heated tubing.
Air leaking from the mask at the bridge of the nose and over the eyes during sleep will cause the eyes to dry out. The most common reason for air leaking at the nose bridge is that the mask is too big or too long for the nose. We would suggest you resize your mask to be sure you have the best size. A mask that has an adjustment at the bridge may also be helpful in getting a good fit. Nasal pillow or nose cushion devices which do not rest on the nose are also an option. It is not advisable to tighten the headgear to eliminate the air leak. Pressure from a mask that is too tight will cause bruises and even open sores if applied long enough.
Sores at the bridge of the nose or below the nose are usually due to tightening the headgear straps too much. The pressure will create soreness, then a bruise, and may eventually create an open sore if left untreated. Headgear is usually tightened too much to reduce or eliminate air leaks. A small degree of this may be necessary, but too much is an indication that the mask is too large, too old or just the wrong style. If your mask is six to nine months old and the silicone is becoming too soft to hold a seal, try replacing it. Find the right replacement cushion for your mask using our Mask Parts page. It is usually necessary to stop wearing a mask to allow these sores to heal. A Nasal Pillow mask is also an option in the meantime.
Air leaks are caused by masks that are too big, too old, or just the wrong style. Air leaking into the eyes is usually an indication that the mask is too big (long or wide) as are leaks at the base of the nose. Leaks may also occur under the nose due to facial hair. As the silicone in the mask cushion ages, it deteriorates and becomes too soft to hold a seal. For many masks, the cushion may be removed and replaced to extend the life of the mask. View our CPAP Supplies - Mask Parts to see if a replacement cushion is available for your mask. When a cushion has softened to the point where it will no longer hold a seal, you may be able to tighten it enough to stop the leaking when you go to sleep, but during the night the seal will loosen and leak. Mask Leaks may also be caused by the pillow pushing against the mask and changing the position and seal of the mask. There are special CPAP Pillows which are are designed to minimize the contact of the CPAP mask with the pillow, even when you are sleeping on your side.
For every masks there are parts that are replaceable such as the mask cushion, headgear, headgear clips and other parts. To find parts which are compatible with your mask, or to find which parts of your mask are replaceable, you can: Use our (CPAP Supplies - Replacement Parts) to identify your mask and see all the available parts Log In to your account and then click the "Replacement Parts" button on your mask's product page