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CPAP Frequently Asked Questions

CPAP therapy is not an overnight adjustment.  We understand that every individual has different needs and different compliance times.  Our 2 month trial not only gives our clients time to adjust to their therapy but gives us enough time to optimize their care as well.  Here are a list of common questions that clients have regarding their CPAP Therapy.

1.  Why is there water in my tubing?

Answer:  This occurs when the tubing cools significantly when leaving the CPAP unit.  This results in rain out.  This can be quite frustrating due to noise due to the “Swishing” of the water as well as having water around your nose.

2.  How do I prevent this from happening?

Answer:  The key is to reduce the temperature difference from when the air leaves your heated humidifier and the mask.  You can help reduce this by: Raising the temperature of your room, Turning down the level of the humidifier, Using a tubing blanket to keep your tube warm or using a CPAP unit that has a heated tubing or humidity sensor.  Most new CPAP units have minimal to no rain out.

3.  What is the best type of mask?

Answer: No such thing!  Everybody has a different facial contour and preference.  Some individuals are sensitive to masks that cover their nose while others can not tolerate anything that goes into their nostrils.  The biggest challenge is finding a mask that provides optimal comfort you.  It will require sitting down with your provider and trying a few masks on and at this time they will fit you appropriately.

4.  What is an auto CPAP unit?

Answer:  Almost every brand of CPAP will have a fixed pressure unit or auto unit.  The fixed pressure unit is a CPAP unit in which you will receive the same set pressure.  This will be determined by your physician, sleep specialist or provider.  An auto CPAP unit will constantly adjust the amount or pressure required to keep your airway open.

5.  What is Flex technology or EPR technology on my CPAP unit?

Answer:  One of the biggest challenges of CPAP Therapy is back pressureBreathing out becomes more difficult especially during higher CPAP pressures.  Most of the new CPAP units have a feature that reduces the amount of air being pumped when you exhale.  This is FLEX or EPR technology.  This can be set at various levels or even turned off to provided optimal comfort.

5.  Why is my mouth dry?

Answer:  This can occur when your mouth is opening up during the night.  Turning up the humidity might help with this but the most effective way to eliminate this from occurring is by trying to prevent the mouth from opening.  This can be done by using a chinstrap in conjunction with your nasal mask or using a full face mask.

6.  What are side effects of CPAP Therapy?

Answer:  Common side effects include nasal congestion, nose bleeds and headaches.  Almost all of these can be prevented by using a heated humidifier.  The dry air can cause drying and irritation to the mucous membranes resulting in congestion and rarely nosebleeds.  If this does not correct your issues, try using a saline rinse or nasal spray to help alleviate these issues.  If none of these work, please see your sleep specialist.

7.  Why do I feel bloated and have stomach discomfort when CPAP therapy is used?

Answer:  This occurs when air is going into the digestive tract.  This is a very difficult problem to correct but the following should be tried:  A change in sleep position, if you sleep on your back, try lying on your side, or if you sleep flat, trying elevating your body a little.  If this is continues to occur, please see your sleep specialist.

8.  Why am I having dry eyes in the morning?

Answer:  This is most likely caused by an air leak around your mask.  You may need to adjust your nasal mask to prevent air from leaking out the top into your eyes.  If you are using a nasal pillows mask, make sure it is sized properly from preventing it from coming out of your nostrils and blowing into your eyes during the night.  If it has been 6-9 months since you have changed your mask, make an appointment with your provider to see i the mask is still providing an optimal seal.

9.  Why is my nose sore in the morning?

Answer:  This is most likely due to the mask being on too tight or an improper fitting of your nasal pillows mask.  Try adjusting the mask tight enough to remove any leaks.  This can be done by putting your CPAP mask on loosely and adjusting it slightly to take away any leaks.  Having any type of mask on too tight will result in sores and blisters in the long run.

10.  Why am I more sleepy after using CPAP Therapy?

Answer:  Sleep “debt.”  Your body has probably forgotten how important sleep is and is wanting more.  This does happen and we encourage you to continue with your therapy.  It may take days to weeks for your body to recover its sleep debt and eventually you will feel more rested.

11. How often should I change my mask?

Answer:  It is recommended that you replace your mask every 6-9 months.  If your mask is used consistently and cleaned constantly it should only provide an optimal seal for that length of period.  Also, it has been shown that most bacteria and fungi can not be removed after 6 months no matter how much it is cleaned.

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The information is intended only for residents of Canada.

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