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What are the common CPAP problems and how to solve them?

mathew stok

There will be no objections regarding the problems faced by the users of the CPAP mask. But it is also a fact that it is necessary for meeting the requirements of a patient if that person is demanding. 


Here are a few CPAP problems faced by beginners


If you need to sleep with a mask that also pumps air is a huge distraction. Those people who need to face such situations will fall into feelings of claustrophobia, itchiness, or irritation. And this may affect some people with aerophagia(aerophagia occurs when a person is swallowing excess air or is generally termed as air eating). And this medical condition is very dangerous and frightening. If the entering air pressure is very high then it can enter the stomach by the esophagus. And the symptoms of this will be immense burping or bloating. When you experience this it means that you have swallowed the air. So it is very important to get the training regarding the control of air pressure. This can be controlled in the CPAP machine itself. Some other symptoms caused by air eating are ear problems and headaches. 


If the air pressure is too high, the CPAP will also result in sores on the skin. And this eventually will develop into very painful ulcers. This is usually occurring due to the seal of the mask which is near the nose area. To prevent the skin from these sores there are various types of mask liners and creams are available. So by making use of it you can get rid of the sores very easily. The other problem faced is that sometimes the mask also will leak air around the edges. 


Solutions for the problems faced by the CPAP mask


In some cases, a permanent fix is better than the adjustments. If the headgear part of the mask is not properly adjusted or fixed this will result in a headache or visible sores due to the over-tightness of the mask. So if you are feeling so try to loosen the mask in such a way that it is fit but comfortable. These straps can loosen any time and easily so make sure the mask is fit and comfortable. You must regularly or at least weekly check the adjustments. 


But most commonly the problem will be due to the high air pressure. In this approach your doctor for the rate of pressure that is to be varied. Or the other alternative is to use the other type of machine-like auto-adjusting one which is known as APAP. This machine will auto-adjust the pressure concerning the user's breathing level. If there is any other discomfort there are several other ways to feel that you are wearing it comfortably. So it is always better to choose the daytime or the time of your personal choice or the free time you spend watching television, playing computer games or reading a book. From then wear this during your small naps in the daytime and then slowly increase the intervals of wearing the mask. Initially start with small hours and then increase the duration and make the way up to the entire night. If you are not getting adjustable then check if the CPAP is having a ramp feature. This will help the air pressure to go low and after a short period, it will increase very slowly. 


There are also BPAP(bi-level positive airway pressure) that will provide a most useful feature like it will push out more air during breathing in and push out less air during breathing out. You must try different varieties of masks until you do not get comfortable.


Several types of CPAP masks


Being uncomfortable while using a CPAP mask is a common thing. But there are various CPAP masks available. If you are continuously feeling uncomfortable with the mask then there is a possibility of an unsuitable mask that is provided by the machine. So maybe a trial and error method would be needed to select the most suited mask.


There are three types of CPAP masks

  1. Full face masks
  2. Nasal masks
  3. Nasal pillow masks


Full face mask

This is the most uncomfortable and unfitted mask among the other two because it will cover both airways. 


Nasal mask

This only covers the nasal part of the face which is thereby the most fitted and comfortable mask.


Nasal pillow mask

This is the best fit for those who use it at night because it will cover only the nostril.


Therefore nasal masks and nasal pillows are not recommended for people who need to breathe through the mouth at night. The CPAP masks are of different types so it is purely based on the doctor’s advice that we need to choose which one is the most suited. And generally, all the masks need to be adjusted depending on each person.

mathew stok
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