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Frequently Asked Questions

What is CPAP therapy?

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. The constant air pressure holds the airway open so that uninterrupted breathing is maintained during sleep.

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

What is Bilevel or BIPAP therapy?

BIPAP stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. It delivers a higher pressure when you breathe in and a lower pressure when you breathe out.

Bilevel therapy is usually prescribed after a trial of CPAP has been given and has been proven ineffective.

I'm having difficulty feeling comfortable with my machine and/or mask. What should I do?

It takes time to adjust to your mask and machine. Practicing daily by wearing your mask and machine will help you slowly adjust. You can practice by wearing it while doing something relaxing such as watching TV, reading, napping, etc.

If you are still experiencing difficulty adjusting, you may need to try a different mask. Contact one of our respiratory therapists to schedule a mask fitting appointment.

The pressure on your machine may need to be adjusted if multiple masks have been tried. Your doctor prescribes the pressure and will determine if a different pressure is needed.

Why is air leaking from my mask?

Your mask could be leaking due to wearing the headgear straps too tight or too loose. The straps should fit as loose as possible while still maintaining a seal. Over-tightening a mask can cause your mask to leak even more.

You may also need to try a different size mask. Contact one of our respiratory therapists for a mask fitting appointment.

Oils from your skin can cause the mask to slip and move more frequently during the night. Try washing your cushion/nasal pillow in a mild soap. You should wash your face nightly to help maintain a seal.

Your mask may also need to be replaced. Over time, cushions may become too soft and have difficulty maintaining a seal. You may contact our office to receive replacement supplies.

Why does the bridge of my nose feel sore?

Your mask may be tightened too much around your nose causing it to put pressure on the bridge of your nose. Try loosening the straps at the top, just enough to relieve the pressure.

You may need to try a different mask or a nasal pad to place under your mask. Contact one of our respiratory therapists for a mask fitting appointment.

What should I do if I'm waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat?

Try increasing the humidifier setting. The humidifier control is designed to be adjusted according to your needs. If you need more moisture, increase the setting. If you need less moisture, decrease the setting. Different climates and seasons may require a different humidifier setting. You can adjust your setting to your comfort.

If you are on a nasal mask or nasal pillow mask, you may be sleeping with your mouth open. Contact one of our respiratory therapists to discuss trying a full face mask or a chinstrap.

What could be causing my eyes to feel dry, irritated or swollen when I wake up?

Your mask is probably leaking air into your eyes. The cushion may not be sealing correctly. Try reseating the mask on your face by taking it off and placing it back on. You can also readjust the straps. Be sure to adjust the headgear straps at the same time to avoid pulling your mask to one side.

Oils from your skin can cause the mask to slip and move more frequently during the night. Try washing your cushion/nasal pillow in warm, soapy water. You should wash your face nightly to help maintain a seal.

Your mask may also need to be replaced. Over time, cushions may become too soft and have difficulty maintaining a seal. Contact our office to receive replacement supplies.

Why do I wake up with water in my tubing or on my face?

Your humidifier setting may be too high. Empty all water out of the tubing and mask and decrease the setting. Different climates and seasons may require a different humidifier setting. You can adjust your humidifier setting to your comfort.

If you are still experiencing difficulty with this, contact one of our respiratory therapists. You may be able to get heated tubing or a tube insulator.

Why do I have red marks on my face in the morning?

Your mask may be over tightened. Only tighten your mask enough to create a seal. Be sure to adjust the straps at the same time to prevent your mask from pulling to one side.

I have nasal congestion, allergies and/or a runny nose. Can I still use my machine?

You can still use your machine. Try to increase your humidifier setting.

You may want to have a full face mask for the times of the year that you experience allergies. Contact one of our respiratory therapists to have a mask fitting appointment.

Be sure to keep your filter clean and replace frequently. Filters should be checked and/or replaced monthly. Please contact our office for replacement filters.

What should I do if I'm feeling claustrophobic with my mask and machine?

It takes time to adjust to your mask and machine. Practicing daily by wearing your mask and machine will help you slowly adjust. You can practice by wearing it while doing something relaxing such as watching TV, reading, napping, etc.

If you are still experiencing difficulty adjusting, you may need to try a different mask. Contact one of our respiratory therapists to schedule a mask fitting appointment.

The pressure on your machine may need to be adjusted if multiple masks have been tried. Your doctor prescribes the pressure and will determine if a different pressure is needed.

Can I travel with my machine?

PAP equipment manufacturers have made a vast improvement in the designs and size of the machines in the last 10 years. The machines are now significantly smaller and are designed for the traveling patient.

Most airlines will allow you to take your CPAP in addition to the allowed number of carry-on bags. Check with the airline in advance to be familiar with their guidelines.

If you plan to use your machine in flight, the manufacturers have FAA approval letters for each device. Contact the manufacturer for an FAA approval letter.

Helpful Hints for Travel:

  1. Always take your machine as a carry-on. It is best to keep it with you to ensure proper care is taken with the machine.
  2. Carry a copy of your sleep study and prescription with you.
  3. Inform security that you are carrying a medical device.
  4. Ask the security officer to wear clean gloves when handling your medical equipment.
  5. You may want to get a battery to use with your machine. Please contact our office for more information.
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