Community Learning Centre

Community

As many sleep apnea sufferers can attest to, the first time you try your CPAP mask: you hate it. The main problem is our mindset. Many of us feel hesitant about wanting to wear a mask, in any capacity, while we sleep.

A 2008 research study1 hailing from the Canadian Respiratory Journal reports that almost half of those who try the treatment, or are merely diagnosed with sleep apnea, wind up not doing the treatment at all.

The study reports the following:

  • 43 of 80 patients (54%) were still using CPAP and most reported an improvement in symptoms.
  • 12 of 80 patients (15%) had abandoned CPAP after using it for approximately 10–15 months.
  • 25 of 80 patients (31%) had never commenced therapy after initial diagnosis and CPAP titration.

Many continue sleeping like they always have, not realizing years later that their health will suffer for it. But finding out you have sleep apnea shouldn’t result in a negative mindset. Instead, it should be the opposite: You found out before it’s too late and, thankfully, there’s a treatment that will have you feeling better than you ever thought imaginable!

Sleeping with CPAP is the beginning to living a more energized and healthy life. It takes some time to adjust to, but I hope these tips will help you adjust faster and have you sleeping like a baby – with your CPAP mask.

Tip 1: Practice makes perfect

This is just like wearing a watch or ring for the first time. It feels weird. The same applies to your mask. If you don’t get accustomed to wearing it, you’ll have trouble sleeping with it. Wear it as much as you can, before using it at night, at first.

If you’re sitting around the house relaxing during the day, wear it. If you don’t want to do that, then wear it for an hour or so before bedtime every night.

The more you get used to wearing it, the sooner you’ll have sweet dreams.

Tip 2: Use your mask every time you sleep

This, of course, is very important. In medical terms, physicians call this “patient compliance.” Pro tip: Don’t use it one night, but not the next. Make sure you’re using it every night, and for naps (if you’re a frequent napper), even it’s a bit uncomfortable at first. Get yourself in a routine in the beginning by putting it on as soon as you get finished with another routine, such as brushing your teeth, for example.

If you don’t take it seriously and use it daily, as is recommended, CPAP treatment can’t help you! Wearing a mask nightly takes time to adjust to: Just like your first week at a new job, it can be nerve wracking! Trust the treatment. Your mind and body will thank you for it later.

PRO TIP | FROM THE RESMED CLINICAL TEAM

“Yes: Don’t skip nights, as this will only prolong the time it takes to adapt to your mask. Also, in regards to napping and CPAP beginners, it’s important to avoid naps because they reduce your sleep debt. Believe it or not, sleep debt is a good thing to have when you’re adjusting to CPAP treatment because it makes you feel more tired at bedtime. This in turn makes falling asleep easier to do while you’re getting used to your new equipment. The more tired you are, the faster you’ll sleep with CPAP. And the more you sleep with CPAP, the more familiar and second-nature it will become. For those who are anxious about CPAP, and enjoy naps, practicing with your new CPAP during a nap is a good idea, but the advice may not be one-size-fits-all. It’s also important to remember that CPAP masks have come a long way over the years. At ResMed, we offer a wide range of comfortable options.”

Tip 3: Make small adjustments to your mask nightly

This is fairly self-explanatory, but again, important. If you’re waking up with red marks on your face, loosen the mask up a little. If it falls off your face in the middle of the night, tighten it up. Even if your physician or medical equipment provider personally fits your mask for you, it still doesn’t mean you can’t tweak it to make it more comfortable.

As long as you’re receiving CPAP treatment, it’s alleviating your sleep apnea symptoms and you’re comfortable: you and your doctor will both be happy.

PRO TIP | FROM THE RESMED CLINICAL TEAM

“In addition, make sure, if you’re making adjustments, you do so lying down and with the device on. Many masks inflate slightly with the air on; this is a function of how they seal.”

Tip 4: Make sure your mask is fitted for YOU

It is very possible that you may head online and discover the best CPAP mask for you after you have some experience with one – but not so much if you’re new to CPAP. You need to make sure your sleep physician is going to fit you with the right mask and treatment. They usually will, so no worries, but just in case, be upfront and open with him/her and speak up on how important it is to you. Sometimes we have to be our own patient advocate in such circumstances.

A popular brand to start with, is of course, ResMed and I’m not saying that just because I am writing this article on their site. When I think CPAP, I think ResMed. They have set the standard for sleep apnea treatment products.

Tip 5: Use ‘AutoRamp™ Mode;’ it’s there for a reason

This is the most popular setting on (almost all) CPAP machines. The AutoRamp setting allows you to adjust to air pressure by starting at a very low air pressure setting while you’re trying to fall asleep and then increasing to full pressure after you’re asleep. The reason for this feature is so you can fall asleep easily and comfortably, and then get the full treatment while you’re sleeping.

I can almost promise you, if you lay down that first night using CPAP, put on your mask, and turn on your machine without trying AutoRamp Mode: you’re going to think, “There is no way I can do this!” Therefore, don’t do it!

Tip 6: Use a humidifier if your nose or throat is dry

This will not apply to all, but does apply to many. Keeping your nose and throat moist is a must when receiving CPAP treatment. All that air pressure can and will make it drier than what you’re used to, especially if your room is already lacking moisture. A humidifier should do the trick. You can find them in most big box department stores, or online; they’re typically inexpensive and will provide you with much comfort.

PRO TIP | FROM THE RESMED CLINICAL TEAM

Humidity is essential for success with CPAP, and while room humidifiers are good, CPAP machines now come with their own heated humidifier and heated tubing. Being able to custom-tailor the right amount of humidity for your body can help keep your throat and mouth less dry, for a more comfortable experience.

Tip 7: Wear gloves if you’re having trouble keeping it on

I see and hear the question all the time: “I wake up the next morning and my CPAP mask is not on my face. I don’t remember taking it off. How do I keep it on?” Wear gloves. It doesn’t matter what kind, but preferably gloves with a poor grip, or no grip.

I know this may sound ridiculous, or you may feel ridiculous doing it, but it’s not something you will be doing permanently. The gloves will help prevent you from pulling off your mask in the middle of the night – when you’re unaware you’re doing it. Gloves will feel weird when you try them at first, which in turn will make you conscious of it. After you train yourself this way for a week or so, you should be able to throw the gloves back in the drawer.

PRO TIP | FROM THE RESMED CLINICAL TEAM

“Many patients who take their masks off, do so in their sleep, and often do this if they are taking sleeping medication(s), or have a history of disruptive sleep patterns, such as sleep walking or talking. If you’re consistently experiencing this type of issue, speak to your MD regarding possible causes for this and treatment options.”

Final thoughts

The key idea in all this is: Be positive. The moment you start feeling negative about the mask and the treatment, that’s the moment you’re going backwards. You could even enlist a family member or close friend to be your support, and share your feelings with them.

But most importantly, take the tips above and go in with the right attitude to conquer your CPAP therapy and, most importantly, give yourself a healthier life. After you become adjusted, it is no different than any other routine (bathing, brushing your teeth, shaving) during the day. Years down the road, you will thank yourself for it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aaron Stevenson is a public educator, health freak and founder of www.snoozeez.com, a go-to source for many sleep-related topics. Aaron studies, researches and blogs about all things sleep. You can follow him here on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

BLOG DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.  

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice, or other institution with which the authors are affiliated and do not directly reflect the views of ResMed or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.

Springtime and CPAP Springtime is here! Time to open the windows and let the fresh air in – along with dust, pollen and other allergens. And read our helpful springtime CPAP tips.

1. If you have spring allergies, try CPAP humidification.

If allergies are attacking your nose, it can feel more irritated when it has to warm up all that incoming CPAP air. Using your CPAP humidifier can help when you have allergies by sharing your nose’s job of warming that air, making you feel more comfortable and relaxed. It can also help if your allergies cause you to havecongestion, dry mouth or cold-like symptoms without a fever.

2. Adjust your own humidification.

If you have an Air10™ or S9™ CPAP machine, your Climate Control Auto settings will provide the best protection against rain-out (an uncomfortable condition in which humidified air cools too quickly and condenses in your mask, becoming water droplets that dampen your face). But some nights, you may want more control over your humidification, especially if you have allergies, get a cold, etc. Fortunately, setting your own humidity and temperature settings on your Air10™ or S9™ machine is easy – just follow these simple steps.

3. Check your CPAP air filter.

We recommend checking your CPAP machine’s air filter year round for dust buildup, and replacing it at leastonce a month, as needed. This is worth emphasizing in March and April when more particles both in and outside your house can find their way into your filter. (Ask your equipment provider how often you’re covered to get replacement air filters, and if you’re eligible to receive hypoallergenic filters.)

4. Still congested? Consider a full face mask.

If you’re using a nasal or a nasal pillows mask and have nasal allergies with stuffiness and congestion, you may find a full face mask easier to breathe through when your allergies flare up – especially if you also have a deviated septum. (This is one of the reasons some people prefer using two CPAP masks.) Ask your equipment provider if a full face mask could help you during your allergy season.

Travel with CPAP equipment

Sleep apnea treatment doesn’t have to interfere with your travel plans. ResMed masks, machines and accessories are fully portable.

Air travel

When sleep apnea treatment is needed in-flight, it is recommended that you contact the airline at least two weeks prior to traveling. Follow these recommended preparations:

1

  • Carry a letter from your doctor certifying your need for CPAP treatment.
  • Obtain approval from the airline’s Medical Services for use on the flight.
  • Carry a copy of the approval letter from the airline if they provide one.
  • Carry a copy of ResMed’s statement of FAA compliance letter for ResMed devices.
  • Carry a copy of ResMed’s travel letter for assistance in carrying your CPAP device through security and on the aircraft.
  • Arrange seating close to a power source on the aircraft.
  • Confirm the type of power cord or adapter required by the aircraft.

Reminders

  • The airline has the final approval for in-flight usage.
  • Humidifiers should not be used with CPAP devices while on the plane, as water could spill.
  • Please note that not all ResMed devices are approved by the FAA.
1

International travel

  • ResMed devices run on virtually any power supply in the world without the need for a power transformer.
  • However, you will need a plug adapter appropriate for the country you are visiting.
    • Plug adapters can be purchased at most electronics and travel stores.

Battery options

Like camping? No worries, you can still take your machine along with you!

  • Your Air10™, S9™, Stellar™, and most S8 machines can connect to an external battery: the ResMed Power Station II (RPS II).
  • In addition, this battery provides a backup power for up to 13 hours in case of a power outage or no available outlet.
  • The RPS II is intended for single patient re-use in the home environment and multi-patient re-use in the hospital or institutional environment.

Click to view the battery compatibility list

You should have the following information with you when traveling

  • Your treatment pressure
  • Your mask type and size
  • Your equipment provider’s contact details
  • Your sleep specialist’s contact details
  • Your general practitioner’s information
  • Your health insurance information

Common CPAP complaint: Dry mouth

CPAP-complaint-dry-mouth

Your CPAP machine can be positively life-changing in so many ways (ie, restored sleep, more energy, improvement of other existing health conditions). But we know it can also be challenging to use at times, tempting users to abandon their treatment and accept life-threatening consequences.

That’s why, for the next three weeks, we’ll examine common complaints related to CPAP masks and how you and your doctor can try to resolve them – starting with dry mouth. We hope our tips can help you achieve better sleep apnea treatment and better sleep!

If you’ve ever felt dry mouth when you take your CPAP mask off in the morning, you’re not alone. Roughly 40% of patients on CPAP therapy experience dry mouth,1 which can cause various side effects including headaches, dizziness, bad breath, coughing and difficulty talking or eating.

Below are the three main causes of dry mouth:

Dry mouth cause #1: Medications or other conditions

Before you blame your CPAP mask for your dry mouth, it’s important to rule out other culprits. The Mayo Clinic lists six potential non-CPAP causes that you should discuss with your doctor first:

  • Oral medications that list dry mouth as a side effect
  • Aging
  • Cancer drugs
  • Nerve damage (as result of an injury or surgery)
  • Tobacco or methamphetamine use
  • Other health conditions:
    • Sjogren’s syndrome and HIV/AIDS can cause dry mouth
    • Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease can cause a perception of dry mouth, even though the salivary glands are functioning normally.2

Dry mouth cause #2: Non-heated air

If you and your doctor determine that your CPAP machine’s air is likely causing your dry mouth, you may benefit from added moisture through a heated humidifier and/or heated tubing. (Both come standard with ResMed’s new Air Solutions CPAP machines.) These devices feed moisture into the air you breathe through your CPAP machine to prevent dryness. The heat level can be easily adjusted to provide more or less moisture – too much could create condensation in your air tube, a condition called “rainout” or “washout.”

Dry mouth cause #3: Severe mask leak

Whether or not your CPAP machine has humidification, severe mask leak can also cause dry mouth – as well as reduce the effectiveness of your sleep apnea treatment. Mask leak is a leading reason why 45% of former CPAP users quit their therapy.3 It is common among patients who:

  • Have an ill-fitting mask. Ask your doctor or mask provider to refit you. Never overtighten a mask just to prevent leak; the resulting pressure could cause discomfort, facial marks and pressure ulcers.
  • Are on a bilevel machine. Ask your doctor about the benefits of switching to a full face mask that covers the nose and mouth.
  • Are mouth breathers who are using a nasal or nasal pillows mask. As with bilevel users, ask your doctor about the benefits of switching to a full face mask that covers the nose and mouth.

There’s so much to say about the causes and fixes for CPAP mask leaks that we’ll be focusing on it as its own Common CPAP Complaint #2 topic next week.

Let us know in the comments below if you ever experienced dry mouth, and what you and your doctor did to solve it.

Using a CPAP humidifier this winter

Using a CPAP humidifier this winter

When the weather outside is frightful, using humidification can make CPAP more delightful. Cold, dry air:

  • Is often less comfortable to breathe.
  • Can cause you to wake up with uncomfortabledry mouth.
  • Makes your nose work extra hard to heat air up before it reaches your lungs, which can cause sinus headaches and irritation.

Humidification can help you avoid all of that and sleep more comfortably all winter – and really all year! Here are some tips for breathing heated comfortable air during the cold months.

1) Use Climate Control to automate your settings – and your comfort

The Climate Control feature on your Air10™ or S9™ machine adjusts your humidification settings for you based on the room conditions to help you get the right amount of humidity for added comfort. Plus it automatically balances your settings to protect you from rain-out – a discomforting event that occurs when humidified air cools in your tubing, causing some moisture to condense and reach your mask as water, dampening your face.

2) If you choose to manually change your humidification, make small changes

Some nights, you may want to manually control your humidification settings, especially when the weather turns cold, dry and/or rainy. It’s easy to do if you have a ResMed Air10™ or S9™ CPAP machine and a ClimateLine™ or ClimateLineAir™ heated tube; just follow these simple steps. But we suggest making small changes to help avoid:

  • Air that’s much warmer in the humidifier than your tube, which can cause rain-out.
  • Air that’s too hot, causing the desired air moisture to evaporate, leaving you once again with non-humidified air.

3) Even if you haven’t needed humidification yet, it may help in the winter

If you don’t use humidification, you still might find it helpful as the weather gets colder and drier, if you get sick and experience congestion, and/or you have allergies that act up in the winter. In each of these cases, your nose will have to work extra hard to perform its crucial air-warming job, and humidification can help make that job easier and more comfortable. This is true if you experience allergies or congestion in any season or environment.

4) If your CPAP humidifier runs out of water, address mask leak

Your humidifier should never run out of water. If you find that it does in the wintertime, that’s likely because colder conditions are magnifying an existing problem – most likely mask leak. Learn the three common causes of mask leak and how to address them.

If your room is particularly dry in the winter, ask your equipment provider if you should consider getting a room humidifier as well. It might give your room’s air that little bit of moisture needed to help out your humidifier and keep your CPAP air warm throughout the night.

How has humidification helped you use CPAP in the winter?

When to replace CPAP supplies

CPAP-mask-parts-AirFit-F10

To get the most out of your CPAP supplies, using it is only half the battle. The other half is making sure you inspect and replace your supplies as often as needed to maximize seal, comfort and health benefits.

We all know that we need to replace our toothbrush every 3–4 months; if we don’t, the bristles wear down, fall out and become much less effective in cleaning our teeth. Similar things happen to our sleep apnea equipment over time. For instance, mask cushions collect dirt, oil and bacteria from our faces. These can create odors, deposit back onto our faces while we sleep, affect how well the mask seals, and also cause skin irritation. And of course CPAP machine filters need to be changed out for the same reasons that your car and vacuum filters do; build-up over time makes them less effective and even contribute to nasal symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes.

The great news is: Medicare and most private insurers cover scheduled replacements of all mask parts and other supplies (including CPAP machines, but we’ll talk about those in an upcoming blog post). Ask your insurance provider how often it will cover the replacement of each part. Your equipment supplier can answer any questions about this and even help you fill out and process any necessary forms. Based on Medicare coverage, we suggest that you replace:

Every month

  • Mask cushions and/or nasal pillows
  • CPAP machine filters

Every 3 months

  • Mask frame (not including the headgear)
  • CPAP tubing

Every 6 months

  • Mask headgear
  • Chin strap (if applicable)
  • Humidifier water tub

Keep it clean

Cleaning your equipment as recommended is also key to ensuring that it works as well as possible for as long as you need it to last. Your mask’s user guide will tell you exactly when and how to clean each part.

Untreated Sleep Apnea Risks

Sleep apnea can be a life-threatening disorder.

  • If treated, you can live a healthy, active life.
  • If untreated, you have a higher chance of serious health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

High blood pressure

  • 1 in 3 people with high blood pressure also has sleep apnea.
    • In patients who take multiple medications to control their blood pressure, that number is much higher.
  • Treating sleep apnea may help lower your blood pressure and benefit your heart.

Heart disease

  • Sleep apnea may place a patient at higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • CPAP therapy is associated with a lowered risk of heart disease.

For more detailed information about the effects of untreated sleep apnea on heart disease and sleep, click here.

Diabetes

  • More than 1 in 2 people with type 2 diabetes also suffer from sleep apnea.
  • Studies show that sleep apnea may affect the body’s ability to use glucose and insulin.

For more detailed information on diabetes and sleep, click here.

Obesity/overweight

Treating sleep apnea may help you in your efforts to reach a healthy weight.

  • Exercise is important in controlling your weight, but when you’re tired you have less energy to exercise.
  • Treating sleep apnea has been shown to improve a person’s overall quality of life and increase energy throughout the day.
  • The increased energy from treating sleep apnea may help you exercise, which can lead to weight loss.

COPD treatment from ResMed

COPD treatment from ResMed: VPAP COPD

In November (COPD Awareness Month), we learned about the symptoms, causes and facts of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder); and overlap syndrome (when people have COPD and obstructive sleep apnea), which affects 1 in 10 people with OSA. This week, we’ll discuss one COPD treatment option that can help patients breathe easier. It’s called non-invasive ventilation (NIV) therapy, which ResMed offers with VPAP™ COPD (pictured, right).

How NIV works

NIV treatment consists of a machine that provides air through a tube and mask to help you breathe easier, similar to CPAP. But VPAP COPD is designed specifically to treat COPD with these key comfort features:

  • Easy home setup. Your machine’s default settings were chosen to treat breathing challenges specific to COPD, so you can simply bring it home, plug it in and start using it.
  • Breathe comfortably. Its separate pressure settings for inhalation and exhalation make it easier to breathe in and out. VPAP COPD even syncs up with your breathing pattern in real time and offers Climate Control humidification and temperature settings to maximize comfort.
  • Works with oxygen therapy. If you’re on oxygen therapy, the ClimateLineMAX™ Oxy tube conveniently connects to both your oxygen tube and VPAP COPD machine, so there’s no need for a separate tubing connection. Plus, the oxygen can mix with VPAP COPD’s warmed, humidified air for added comfort.

ResMed also offers other machines for people in various stages of COPD. If you have COPD, ask your doctor if any of these options can help treat your COPD symptoms.

Why NIV for COPD?

If people with COPD are admitted to the hospital due to an acute exacerbation, they are often placed on NIV. But once they’re discharged, they continue with their standard medication and/or oxygen therapy. Oxygen addresses one common COPD issue, hypoxemia caused by impaired gas exchange in the lung tissue (type 1 respiratory failure), but not the other, hypercapnia caused by ventilatory failure (type 2 respiratory failure). NIV can effectively treat both, and has also been shown to:

  • Enjoy a better quality of life;1
  • Reduce one’s risk of getting hospitalized due to a COPD-related event;2 and
  • Reduce one’s risk of mortality over one year.3

What should I do?

To see if you’re at risk for COPD, take this fast 5-question screening quiz4 on the COPD Foundation’s website, and discuss the results with your doctor. If you have COPD, ask your doctor if NIV treatment can help treat your symptoms. We also urge you to share this and other facts about COPD with your family, friends and coworkers. November may be over – but every month should be COPD Awareness Month.

Next time you sleep under the stars, make sure you and your tent mates can actually sleep. If you have sleep apnea, check out these four CPAP camping tips.

1. Use CPAP while camping.

Always use CPAP whenever and wherever you sleep. Travel bags make it easy to bring CPAP with you. You’ll also be glad you got a good night’s sleep in order to get the most out of your outdoor vacation. (Not to mention, your tent mates will rest well too if CPAP keeps you from snoring.)

2. Know how to power your CPAP outside.

If you have an external CPAP battery, refer to its user guide on how to charge it. The ResMed Power Station II (RPS II) can only be charged in a wall outlet. If you don’t have access to wall socket power during your multi-night vacation, you should consider getting a marine battery to power your CPAP machine. Talk to your equipment provider about what you need and where you can get it.

3. Know how many hours of power you have.

Humidification and CPAP pressure can both affect how much power your battery can provide. For instance, ResMed’s RPS II packs up to 13 hours of power. But with humidification on, it’s closer to 4 hours. Ask your equipment provider:

  • How much power your CPAP battery can provide
  • Whether you can run two batteries at once to double your power (you can with the RPS II)
  • Whether you can likely get by without using humidification outside (depending on the weather forecast)

4. Change your filter when you get home.

Your filter likely picked up far more allergens and dust particles outside than it does in your bedroom. Be sure to ask your provider for another filter before you go camping, and swap them the day you get home.

Yes, for any type of CPAP machines. Provincial regulations require we have a valid prescription on file before we set up your machine. Please visit your provincial website to find out more about regulations.

Ontario – http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/adp/

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Assistive Devices Program
7th Floor, 5700 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M2M 4K5

Toronto 416-327-8804
Toll-free 1-800-268-6021
TDD/TTY 416-327-4282
TDD/TTY 1-800-387-5559
Fax 416-327-8192
e-mail: adp@ontario.ca

 

The most important thing you need to know is you have a choice where you get your next machine. You can always ask for your prescription and be set up by who you like. We would be happy to help you with your machine set up, we provide in home set ups or meet you at your work free of charge.

CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.
CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.

Sleep Apnea 101: New User Basics

If you suspect you may have Sleep Apnea, speak with your general care physician. Your doctor can refer you to a Sleep Lab for a Sleep Study. Based on your Sleep Study results, your doctor may diagnose you with Sleep Apnea and prescribe your sleep therapy. As a patient, realize you have a right to a copy of both your prescription and your sleep study. You have the choice to use your insurance coverage to get equipment or to pay cash through an internet retailer. Often times, internet retailers offer more choice and better pricing than local dealers. cpapsupply.ca offers user reviews, return insurance and many other benefits local distributors are unable to offer.

CPAP Machines Overview

CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.

CPAP Machines

As many sleep apnea sufferers can attest to, the first time you try your CPAP mask: you hate it. The main problem is our mindset. Many of us feel hesitant about wanting to wear a mask, in any capacity, while we sleep.

A 2008 research study1 hailing from the Canadian Respiratory Journal reports that almost half of those who try the treatment, or are merely diagnosed with sleep apnea, wind up not doing the treatment at all.

The study reports the following:

  • 43 of 80 patients (54%) were still using CPAP and most reported an improvement in symptoms.
  • 12 of 80 patients (15%) had abandoned CPAP after using it for approximately 10–15 months.
  • 25 of 80 patients (31%) had never commenced therapy after initial diagnosis and CPAP titration.

Many continue sleeping like they always have, not realizing years later that their health will suffer for it. But finding out you have sleep apnea shouldn’t result in a negative mindset. Instead, it should be the opposite: You found out before it’s too late and, thankfully, there’s a treatment that will have you feeling better than you ever thought imaginable!

Sleeping with CPAP is the beginning to living a more energized and healthy life. It takes some time to adjust to, but I hope these tips will help you adjust faster and have you sleeping like a baby – with your CPAP mask.

Tip 1: Practice makes perfect

This is just like wearing a watch or ring for the first time. It feels weird. The same applies to your mask. If you don’t get accustomed to wearing it, you’ll have trouble sleeping with it. Wear it as much as you can, before using it at night, at first.

If you’re sitting around the house relaxing during the day, wear it. If you don’t want to do that, then wear it for an hour or so before bedtime every night.

The more you get used to wearing it, the sooner you’ll have sweet dreams.

Tip 2: Use your mask every time you sleep

This, of course, is very important. In medical terms, physicians call this “patient compliance.” Pro tip: Don’t use it one night, but not the next. Make sure you’re using it every night, and for naps (if you’re a frequent napper), even it’s a bit uncomfortable at first. Get yourself in a routine in the beginning by putting it on as soon as you get finished with another routine, such as brushing your teeth, for example.

If you don’t take it seriously and use it daily, as is recommended, CPAP treatment can’t help you! Wearing a mask nightly takes time to adjust to: Just like your first week at a new job, it can be nerve wracking! Trust the treatment. Your mind and body will thank you for it later.

PRO TIP | FROM THE RESMED CLINICAL TEAM

“Yes: Don’t skip nights, as this will only prolong the time it takes to adapt to your mask. Also, in regards to napping and CPAP beginners, it’s important to avoid naps because they reduce your sleep debt. Believe it or not, sleep debt is a good thing to have when you’re adjusting to CPAP treatment because it makes you feel more tired at bedtime. This in turn makes falling asleep easier to do while you’re getting used to your new equipment. The more tired you are, the faster you’ll sleep with CPAP. And the more you sleep with CPAP, the more familiar and second-nature it will become. For those who are anxious about CPAP, and enjoy naps, practicing with your new CPAP during a nap is a good idea, but the advice may not be one-size-fits-all. It’s also important to remember that CPAP masks have come a long way over the years. At ResMed, we offer a wide range of comfortable options.”

Tip 3: Make small adjustments to your mask nightly

This is fairly self-explanatory, but again, important. If you’re waking up with red marks on your face, loosen the mask up a little. If it falls off your face in the middle of the night, tighten it up. Even if your physician or medical equipment provider personally fits your mask for you, it still doesn’t mean you can’t tweak it to make it more comfortable.

As long as you’re receiving CPAP treatment, it’s alleviating your sleep apnea symptoms and you’re comfortable: you and your doctor will both be happy.

PRO TIP | FROM THE RESMED CLINICAL TEAM

“In addition, make sure, if you’re making adjustments, you do so lying down and with the device on. Many masks inflate slightly with the air on; this is a function of how they seal.”

Tip 4: Make sure your mask is fitted for YOU

It is very possible that you may head online and discover the best CPAP mask for you after you have some experience with one – but not so much if you’re new to CPAP. You need to make sure your sleep physician is going to fit you with the right mask and treatment. They usually will, so no worries, but just in case, be upfront and open with him/her and speak up on how important it is to you. Sometimes we have to be our own patient advocate in such circumstances.

A popular brand to start with, is of course, ResMed and I’m not saying that just because I am writing this article on their site. When I think CPAP, I think ResMed. They have set the standard for sleep apnea treatment products.

Tip 5: Use ‘AutoRamp™ Mode;’ it’s there for a reason

This is the most popular setting on (almost all) CPAP machines. The AutoRamp setting allows you to adjust to air pressure by starting at a very low air pressure setting while you’re trying to fall asleep and then increasing to full pressure after you’re asleep. The reason for this feature is so you can fall asleep easily and comfortably, and then get the full treatment while you’re sleeping.

I can almost promise you, if you lay down that first night using CPAP, put on your mask, and turn on your machine without trying AutoRamp Mode: you’re going to think, “There is no way I can do this!” Therefore, don’t do it!

Tip 6: Use a humidifier if your nose or throat is dry

This will not apply to all, but does apply to many. Keeping your nose and throat moist is a must when receiving CPAP treatment. All that air pressure can and will make it drier than what you’re used to, especially if your room is already lacking moisture. A humidifier should do the trick. You can find them in most big box department stores, or online; they’re typically inexpensive and will provide you with much comfort.

PRO TIP | FROM THE RESMED CLINICAL TEAM

Humidity is essential for success with CPAP, and while room humidifiers are good, CPAP machines now come with their own heated humidifier and heated tubing. Being able to custom-tailor the right amount of humidity for your body can help keep your throat and mouth less dry, for a more comfortable experience.

Tip 7: Wear gloves if you’re having trouble keeping it on

I see and hear the question all the time: “I wake up the next morning and my CPAP mask is not on my face. I don’t remember taking it off. How do I keep it on?” Wear gloves. It doesn’t matter what kind, but preferably gloves with a poor grip, or no grip.

I know this may sound ridiculous, or you may feel ridiculous doing it, but it’s not something you will be doing permanently. The gloves will help prevent you from pulling off your mask in the middle of the night – when you’re unaware you’re doing it. Gloves will feel weird when you try them at first, which in turn will make you conscious of it. After you train yourself this way for a week or so, you should be able to throw the gloves back in the drawer.

PRO TIP | FROM THE RESMED CLINICAL TEAM

“Many patients who take their masks off, do so in their sleep, and often do this if they are taking sleeping medication(s), or have a history of disruptive sleep patterns, such as sleep walking or talking. If you’re consistently experiencing this type of issue, speak to your MD regarding possible causes for this and treatment options.”

Final thoughts

The key idea in all this is: Be positive. The moment you start feeling negative about the mask and the treatment, that’s the moment you’re going backwards. You could even enlist a family member or close friend to be your support, and share your feelings with them.

But most importantly, take the tips above and go in with the right attitude to conquer your CPAP therapy and, most importantly, give yourself a healthier life. After you become adjusted, it is no different than any other routine (bathing, brushing your teeth, shaving) during the day. Years down the road, you will thank yourself for it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aaron Stevenson is a public educator, health freak and founder of www.snoozeez.com, a go-to source for many sleep-related topics. Aaron studies, researches and blogs about all things sleep. You can follow him here on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

BLOG DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice, or other institution with which the authors are affiliated and do not directly reflect the views of ResMed or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.

Manual mode: Know your CPAP humidifier

Manual mode: CPAP humidifier

With CPAP, comfort is everything! A CPAP humidifier helps many users enjoy maximum comfort. In most cases, the Climate Control Auto settings provide the best protection against rain-out (an uncomfortable condition in which humidified air cools too quickly and condenses in your mask, becoming water droplets that dampen your face). But some nights, it helps to have more control over your humidification to meet your individual needs. That’s why we include Climate Control Manual mode in your ResMed AirSense™ 10, AirCurve™ 10 or S9™ CPAP/VPAP machine – so long as you also have a ClimateLine™ or ClimateLineAir™ heated tube. Here’s how it works:

How do I find the Climate Control Manual mode?

Air10™ users: You can access the Climate Control Manual setting anytime. From your machine’s Home screen:

  1. Select My Options
  2. Select Climate Ctrl
  3. Change default “Auto” setting to Manual
  4. Select Humidity Level and turn the dial to change the humidity (1–8; default setting is 4)
  5. Select Tube Temp and turn the dial to set the ClimateLine/ClimateLineAir heated tube to the temperature you find most comfortable (60–86⁰F; default setting is 81⁰F).

For more details, see your ClimateLineAir user guide.

S9 users: Your equipment supplier must turn on your Climate Control Manual setting for you if they haven’t already. From your machine’s Home screen:

  1. For humidity: Turn the dial to highlight the water drop icon; push the dial, turning the background yellow. Then turn the dial again to set the humidity (1–6, default setting is 3). Push the dial once more to set the new humidity level.
  2. For tube temperature: Turn the dial to highlight the thermometer icon; push the dial, turning that background yellow. Then turn the dial again to set the ClimateLine/ClimateLineAir tube temperature (60–86⁰F, default setting is 80⁰F). Push the dial once more to set the new temp.

(Watch this helpful S9 video.)

When should I change the humidity vs. the temperature?

Most patients find cooler air easier to breathe while trying to sleep, especially those who are new to CPAP, wear a full face CPAP mask, and women experiencing hot flashes at bedtime. However, warmer air provides the best humidity and helps reduce nasal irritation since your nose doesn’t have to warm all that CPAP air on its own. It generally helps to increase:

  • Humidity if dry air is causing you to wake up with dry mouth, an uncomfortable side effect that 40% of CPAP users experience.1 If you want more humidity, try manually adjusting it and the temperature one notch at a time. If you reach the highest levels and still feel dry, talk to your equipment supplier and doctor about whether mask leak, oral medications or other factors may be the real cause of your dryness. (You should also check for mask leak if you wake up to find your humidifier’s water chamber empty.)
  • Tube temperature if you’re experiencing dryness despite increasing the humidity. Consider increasing your tube temperature by just 1–2⁰F to see if that provides the best comfort.

Having the power to make these adjustments yourself in real time gives many of our patients and their loved ones great peace of mind. As always, talk to your doctor or equipment supplier before making any adjustments to your treatment.

If you use manual humidification settings, tell us how it’s changed your CPAP experience.

Bloating is a sign that you are swallowing the CPAP air. There is no real medical solution, but we have found that sleeping position may be a factor. Try sleeping as flat as possible first, even without a pillow. If that position doesn’t help, try sleeping on your side or elevated, whichever one you don’t sleep in now.

If changing your position doesn’t resolve the problem, talk to your doctor.

When a physician orders a pressure change, or a patient moves to an area with a very different altitude and does not have an altitude compensating machine, there are a number of ways to ensure you are receiving CPAP therapy at the correct pressure.

The first and most common way is to contact your Homecare Provider. The company that sold you your machine is normally more than willing to help you adjust your pressure.

A second way is to call the sleep laboratories and/or sleep disorder centre, as they may be willing to make this pressure change for you. Be sure to take your prescription.

It is the law and good common sense to run all sleep disorder devices at the prescribed pressure. If you think your prescribed pressure is wrong, talk to your physician.

All CPAPs will operate on DC power with the use of an inverter to change the current from DC to AC before it reaches the machine. However, many will operate on DC power without the need for an inverter, just a power cord that plugs into the CPAP and ends in a cigarette lighter plug.

Inverters do require a lot of power. If you need to use an inverter to run your machine on battery power, the inverter will probably take about half the life off the battery.

To determine if your CPAP will operate without an inverter, look for a DC outlet on the machine, either at the back or on the side, with a single opening directly in the center. It should be labeled “DC Power” or similar term.

An adapter may be required to plug a US power cord into a wall outlet in a foreign country. All the models cpapsupply.ca sell contain power converters that enable the machine to operate on any AC current from 100 to 240 volts without any adjustment. Check with your dealer or manufacturer to see if your machine needs an external converter that lowers the voltage from 240 to 120 VAC.
Yes. CPAP therapy should be used every night. In the USA & Canada CPAP it is not counted as a carry on item for air travel. Some locations in Asia and Europe will count it as a carry on, but all will allow it.
To prepare for your international travel, be sure to:

  • Check the voltage of your destination. You may need a plug adapter for your machine.
  • Go ahead and pack spare parts to your equipment. Unfortunately, CPAPsupply.ca cannot ship to most destinations around the world.
CPAP therapy should be used every night. Your CPAP should go with you on trips. There are some tips to help with your travel:

  • Remove Water From The Humidifier. If you are going to take your CPAP humidifier with you, remove ALL water from the humidifier chamber. Water left in the humidifier chamber can be tipped into your machine and cause damage.
  • Accompany Your CPAP Through Security. Stay with your CPAP. When going through security, security agents will usually need to inspect the CPAP separately. Ask to stay with the CPAP. This way you can watch them handle the CPAP machine, and you can make sure all of your parts (cords, masks, chambers) get back into the bag.
  • Plan Your Power Needs. Know what type of power your CPAP requires. If you are going to use a battery, make sure you have all the parts needed to safely run the CPAP on battery power. If you are traveling abroad make sure you have an international adapter plug.
  • Identify Your CPAP as Medical Equipment. To help move through security easier, put a Medical Equipment tag on your CPAP bag.
  • Pack Your Power Cord. Just like people commonly leave cell phone chargers at home or in the hotel, we frequently get called from travelers who left their cpap power cord. Check to make sure your cord is packed with your machine.
  • Bring Spare Parts and Back Up Mask. Like the power cord, items get left behind or misplaced while on the road. Having backup parts and a back up mask will make sure that you are not caught without equipment.
Machines come with a six foot hose, power cord, at least one filter, basic mask and manuals. Most manufacturers include a carrying case which is designed specifically for their equipment. The basic mask that is included is the Respironics Comfort Classic Nasal CPAP Mask. other CPAP Masks are considered upgrades and must be purchased separately.
Bi-Flex is a feature that makes breathing back against CPAP pressure easier to do. Bi-Flex pressure relief technology offers pressure relief at the transition from exhalation to inhalation, at the transition from inhalation to exhalation, and during exhalation to make BiPAP therapy more like natural breathing.
A-Flex is a form of exhalation relief which helps the air pressure from an APAP machine mirror a person’s breathing. Like C-Flex, A-Flex provides flow-based pressure relief at the beginning of exhalation. Like Bi-Flex, A-Flex softens the pressure transition from inhalation to exhalation to provide additional comfort in an auto-CPAP mode.
C-Flex is a pressure relief feature that makes breathing back against CPAP pressure easier to do by reducing the pressure at the beginning of exhalation and returning to therapeutic pressure just before inhalation. Independent studies conducted by leading universities indicate that patient comfort, and therefore, patient CPAP compliance, is higher with machines that use C-Flex. C-Flex is a technology invented by Respironics, is proprietary, and is not available on other brands of CPAP Machines.
C-Flex only works at the start of an exhale. Bi-Flex works during the transition from exhalation to inhalation, the transition from inhalation to exhalation and during exhalation.
C-flex drops the pressure on exhale only. A-flex drops the pressure on the exhale but also helps with the transition from inhale to exhale.
Exhalation relief is a comfort feature offered by two manufactures which reduces the air flow at the time of exhalation making the breathing process more natural.

  • Respironics = C-Flex, C-Flex+, A-Flex and Bi-Flex
  • Resmed = EPR (Expiratory Pressure Relief)
The ramp button on a machine is a feature that allows for a gradual pressure build-up to your prescribed pressure. The feature is enjoyed by those with high pressures because they ease up to their pressure.
A BiPAP machine which is also referred to as BiLevel or VPAP, delivers two separate and distinct pressures; that being a higher pressure when the patient inhales and a lower pressure when they exhale. The machine alternates between the two set pressures which are set per the doctor’s order or prescription. A prescription for a CPAP machine may not be used to purchase a BiPAP machine.

An example of an Bi-Level is the Phillips Respironics PR System One 60 Series Bi-PAP with Bi-Flex.

Some CPAP users find it more pleasant to breath with APAP than with CPAP because the pressure automatically changes as needed to deliver the minimal pressure needed. With a CPAP, on the other hand, the pressure is set at the highest necessary to keep the airway open, even though the high pressure is needed only a fraction of the time.
An APAP (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure) machine automatically adjusts on a breath by breath basis to blow the minimum pressure needed to keep your airway open during sleep. This allows your machine to provide you with your ideal pressure nightly.

APAPs tend to be more advanced than CPAPs in that they normally offer more therapy tracking information and more comfort features. You can learn more about therapy tracking information in our Software section of the Learning Center.

Every APAP machine can be placed in a CPAP mode to blow one straight pressure like a CPAP. However, no CPAP can automatically adjust pressure like an APAP. An example of an APAP machine is the Res Med Auto.

The only care a CPAP, APAP, and Bi-Level machine require is to clean or change the filters at the air intake. This keeps the internal parts from accumulating dust. Fine, paper filters should be changed out every 90-120 days, or when they appear soiled. Foam, washable filters should be rinsed with clear running water once a week, allowed to air dry, and reinserted.

There are some other suggested actions to care for your machine:

  • Keep the area around your machine clean. Remove any dust from around the machine to improve the air quality delivered to your machine and you.
  • Keep the air intake of the machine unblocked. Curtains, bedding, and papers can easily block the air intake of your machine, reducing the airflow.
  • If a humidifier is used do not pick up the machine with the humidifier attached. With most machines it is easy to spill water from the humidifier chamber into the machine causing damage. Manufacturer warranties are voided by water damage to the machine. To avoid this, remove the chamber from the humidifier and then remove the humidifier from the machine rather than transporting them together.
  • If a humidifier is used you should empty the water from the chamber every morning. Accidents happen. If a family pet or family member moves the machine and humidifier with water in the chamber it is more likely that water could be spilled into your machine. Water damage to a machine voids the manufacturer warranty.
Washable foam filters should be cleaned as soon as they become dis-colored. Depending on your environment, that may mean weekly cleaning.

Disposable filters should not be cleaned, just disposed of.

Yes, all CPAPs use at least one filter that is usually a type of foam material and washable. Some CPAPs offer finer filtration with the addition of a disposable paper filter.

Cleaning and changing filters is the only maintenance required for a CPAP machine.

The filters are located at the back of the machine at the air intake.

EPR (Expiratory Pressure Relief) is a pressure relief feature developed by ResMed. EPR reduces pressure during exhalation in order to make breathing more comfortable. Easy-Breathe technology applies a smooth waveform that helps make breathing feel more natural.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP therapy is the most recommended and the most effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

A CPAP machine provides air at a constant prescribed pressure through a tube and out of a CPAP mask to a person with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. CPAP therapy provides a constant airflow which holds the airway open so that uninterrupted breathing is maintained during sleep. This eliminates sleep apnea events and allows the patient to get a restful sleep.

The pressure of the air is determined during your sleep study and your doctor will prescribe you a CPAP machine at that pressure.

CPAP therapy is traditionally provided through a nasal mask that seals around the nose. However, more innovative and comfortable options are available and advances in the delivery of CPAP therapy are continually occurring.

For instance: CPAPs with that boast FLEX or EPR technology will offer you exhalation relief. APAP, Bi-PAP and BiLevel machines offer various levels of pressure throughout the night and exhalation relief.

CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.
CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.
CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.
CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.

CPAP Masks

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. This method can be used with all types of masks, and should also be applied to mask replacement parts. While soaking the mask will help remove the surface chemicals, it my reduce the life of the silicone.

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
Nasal pillow and nasal prong masks seal only at the nostrils or nares. Therefore, only the size of the nostrils has to be considered when selecting a delivery system. Also, most nasal pillows masks come with all sizes included to offer options for the user. Some nasal and full face masks are offered in smaller sizes.

Nasal Masks

  • Mirage Fx Small
  • Zest Q Petite

Nasal Pillow Masks

  • Swift FX XS

Full Face Masks

  • Mirage Quattro XS
  • Quattro Air (S)
  • Simplus (S)
With a deviated septum, you likely breathe through your mouth. A mask that delivers air to the nasal passageway will not be as effective as one that delivers air to the mouth. A Full face mask will serve you well.

If you awake in the morning to find your mouth is dry, then you are most likely breathing through your mouth, and one of these masks will work for you.

People who have a deviated septum or small nostrils, or suffer from season allergies or chronic sinus issues, may breathe through the mouth rather than the nose. If you are a person who breathes through your mouth you may be able to wear most masks with a few adaptations. Add a Chinstrap when using nasal pillows, nasal prongs or a nasal mask.

A full face mask or hybrid mask can be used without a chinstrap because the seal covers both the nose and mouth. A full face mask will allow you to breathe through your mouth or through your nose.

If you suffer from chronic sinus issues, a full face mask or an oral face mask are good options. Oral masks work best for mouth breathers with blocked nasal passages. You must use a heated humidifier with the oral mask.

Full face masks work well for CPAP users with full beards. One tip is to smooth the beard with lanolin to soften the beard where the seal makes contact.

Nasal Pillow Masks are also liked by full bearded CPAP users. If you are a person who breathes through your mouth remember to use a chinstrap.

Total face masks encompass the entire face and can be an option for people with facial hair.

Masks with a gel or foam cushion can also be better with facial hair as they are able to mold better to the face to create a seal.

During CPAP therapy, air will leak from the mouth whenever the mouth is opened. This occurs for many reasons, but a very common one is due to nasal irritation from the CPAP airflow.

The correlation between a lack of humidification and mouth leaks has been a topic that was heavily researched. The hypothesis is that a large amount of mouth leakage is caused by the following cycle:

  • CPAP therapy is used with ineffective or no humidification,
  • The nasal membranes are unable to adequately condition the increased airflow and after a few minutes the airway and nasal passages become dry.
  • To remedy the dryness and obtain moisture, the body uses the mouth to breathe.
  • CPAP air follows the path of least resistance and leaks out of the open mouth.
  • The air leaking through the mouth causes more dryness.
  • Patient wakes up feeling tired with significant dryness in mouth and dry, swollen nasal passages.

The answer to this cycle is humidification. If the mouth continues to open during sleep, a Chinstrap (CPAP Supplies – Chin Strap) may be needed to hold the jaw up so that the mouth can close. If mouth breathing continues, a full face mask is suggested.

 

No, for masks, tubing, filters, humidifiers or any other supplies.
Masks should be washed daily with warm water using a very gentle soap or baby shampoo, and left to air dry. CPAPSupply.ca also offers a mask wipe under the CPAP Supplies ~ Cleaning Supplies.

Never use antibacterial soap as it will break down the silicone of the mask cushion. Avoid soaps that include lotion which can coat the mask and cause it to lose its seal. Remember, going to bed with a clean face will improve your seal and protect the lifespan of your mask.

The best time to clean your mask is in the morning after use. This removes the oils left behind from your skin which can reduce the lifespan of your mask. We recommend using mask wipes or even baby wipes to make daily morning cleaning easy. The mask wipes are made from materials that will not break down your mask.

Most Insurance companies allow for replacement every (6) months to (12) months. CPAP manufacturers and vendors suggest replacement schedules as well.

In our experience, most mask cushions begin to deteriorate after about six months of use. The cushion eventually becomes too soft to hold a seal. The headgear straps lose elasticity and must be tightened more and more to get the same quality seal.

We strongly suggest replacing cushions and pillows as soon as they start to soften. Air leaks may reduce the effectiveness of CPAP therapy and headgear that is too tight may cause facial sores at pressure points. In most cases, replacement headgear is available if it is stretched out or the Velcro worn out.

To see what parts of your mask are replaceable refer to our CPAP Supplies – Mask Parts page. Just search for your mask to see all of the replaceable parts.

All CPAP masks work with all machines.
Nasal CPAP Masks are the most common and best selling masks. Nasal Masks provide the perfect blend of comfort and fit. The second most common would be Nasal Pillow masks, because they are small and compact. The least most popular mask is the Full face mask, because of the size and weight compared to the two other types. If you have any other questions about masks, please do not hesitate to contact us to get our advice.
CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.
CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.
CPAP machines blow air at a pressure high enough to keep your airway open during sleep. Modern machines offer therapy tracking software, off grid power options and heated humidification. Machine type is determined by the complexity level of the machines air delivery algorithm. CPAP machines blow one pressure no matter what, APAP machines adjust in a breath by breath basis to your ideal pressure and BiPAP machines blow one inhale and one exhale pressure.