Solving CPAP Mask Problems: Getting the Right Fit on a CPAP Mask
A CPAP mask is the most important piece of CPAP equipment you’ll use, and also the trickiest to use correctly. Many doctors and sleep therapists who see thousands of patients will tell you that the number one CPAP therapy complaint is mask fit. Your machine is only one part of CPAP therapy—your mask is more important as it’s what you’ll be wearing on your face every single night. Comfort is very important with the biggest issue being properly fitting the mask to your face shape. The mask should feel comfortable and secure when you’re sitting upright and when reclining in a sleeping position. It is important to test the mask while sitting upright and lying down and at various pressures in order to ensure a good fit without leaks. Additionally, try shifting in ways you would normally move during sleep—side to side and on your stomach- to ensure the mask remains in place, adjusting the headgear and checking for leaks.
Steps On Getting the Right Fit on a CPAP Mask:
· If it is the first time you’re fitting a CPAP mask, do so during the daylight hours and before you become tired. You’ll need to re-adjust the mask a few times before it fits properly and you grow accustomed to it.
· Ensure that all straps are as loose as possible.
· Hold the mask up to your nose and connect the headgear to the proper locations. It helps to do this step in front of a mirror.
· Make sure the CPAP mask is properly on the nose bridge using any adjustment straps to adjust its location. Gently pull for a secure fit. Make sure the mask is snug but not overly tight. A common problem is over-tightening so be sure the mask is just secure enough to create a proper seal.
· If the mask is too tight, the silicone cushion that creates the seal can “fold over” on itself, giving air places to escape and causing leaks.
· If you have long hair, hold it up in a ponytail while putting on the mask. Once secure, let your hair down over the back headgear.
· Finally, turn on the CPAP machine to make sure there are no leaks. If so, it’s best to start over. The time spent getting the right fit will provide a more comfortable, overall CPAP experience.
My CPAP Mask is Leaking:
If your CPAP mask is leaking, there are several steps you can take to solve the problem. Remember it is important for the mask to be snug but not tight. Firstly, readjust the headgear and make sure to place the cushion properly. If your CPAP mask headgear has a chinstrap band, check to make sure it’s not too tight as it might pull the mask downward. If your CPAP mask has nasal pillows, rotate the nose cushions or try a different size to help secure the fit.
It is difficult to get familiar with wearing a CPAP mask every night. If you find one that works best for you and fits and adjusts properly, the benefit will be a great night’s sleep. There are many varieties of CPAP masks and accessories that’ll meet your needs—not everyone sleeps the same way. If you lie on your stomach or if you toss and turn, there’s a CPAP mask that will work for you. If you’re uncomfortable with a CPAP mask that covers your entire face, you may prefer a nose pillow CPAP mask that has minimal headgear and seals inside the nostrils. Take the time to consult with a knowledgeable source and experiment with CPAP masks and accessories to find the one that works best for you.