CPAP treatment could offer immediate beneficial effects on your sleep. Although there is a time of transition as you proceed to feel the mask and pressurized air, most people quickly find a change in their comfort level, sometimes after using the CPAP machine in your therapy sometimes.
They can awake without apnea-related sore throats and headaches, and their sleepiness throughout the day changes a bit more every day they begin their therapy. One study shows that the more you use your CPAP, the more your apnea conditions will improve.
However, if you experience a backslide of your old symptoms for a while—if you wake up sore, if your head hurts, if your throat feels raw, if you feel drained, or if your wife says you’re snoring again—don’t give up on your care. You have not set up a tolerance to CPAP treatment. Your apnea does not get any worse. The problem may be much more straightforward: your apnea mask might leak.
Why Does a Mask Leak Matter?
The success of your CPAP therapy depends on having the right amount of air pressure administered to your airway through your CPAP system, tubing, and mask. This air pressure is determined during your titration assessment and recommended by your sleep medicine practitioner. It’s precisely what you need to protect your airway from closing.
Although all CPAP machines and masks are built to provide a certain reasonable amount of deliberate leakage (so that you can exhale CO2), accidental leakage of a hole or a bad seal around your nose or mouth can allow the air pressure to be too low beyond the accepted level.
If this happens, you might not be under enough control. This means that you could wear your mask all night but still suffer a partial or complete airway collapse. Your therapy has been ruined.
A mask leak can also be irritating in other respects. Leaking air can enter your eyes and dry them out, causing discomfort. A mask leak may also induce a sneezing or hissing noise aroused by you or your bedmate, leading to disturbed sleep or insomnia. To guarantee that the therapy is successful, the CPAP mask’s leakage needs to be identified and handled promptly.
What Causes Apnea Mask Leaks?
A variety of different factors can cause your apnea mask to leak out. This includes the following:
Poor fit. If your mask doesn’t suit you properly—for instance, if you have a gap across your cheeks or mouth—the seal may not be close enough, and air may leak through such a broken seal. Improper charging of the headgear will have the same impact; if the elastic bands are too relaxed or too rigid, your mask won’t fit properly. Typically, the CPAP mask cushions contain two layers; if the fit on your face is too grippy, the outer layer cannot be inflated to create a firm seal. If you’re not sure how to match your mask on your face, ask your sleeping technicians or distributor for advice. Often, look for a new mask or new fit after you gain or lose a significant amount of weight since weight gain and loss can influence the appearance of your face or how well your mask forms a seal.
Dirt and oil are weakening the mask. It’s vital to keep your apnea mask clean; if you can’t clean it every week (and clean your face every night before you go to bed), dust and oils from your skin can adhere to the cushioning and weaken the seal, particularly as the air pressure from the CPAP machine rises during the night.
Position of sleep. If you are a restless sleeper who throws and turns a lot during the night, these shifts in sleeping posture can disturb the mask’s positioning on your face. Some individuals even tear off their masks in their sleep.
What to do if your CPAP Mask has a leak
Look for the match and the seal- Often, a weak seal happens when people have lost their apnea masks. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, the right way to wear a CPAP mask is to secure it to your face when you’re in bed. Next, turn on your CPAP machine.
Test a different mask type (or a new CPAP machine)- A full-face mask that moves through your nose or mouth can be useful if you use your mouth for breathing. A nasal-only mask with a chin strap might help wear a full face mask but still experience leaks. A different machine type can also help—for instance, an APAP or a BiPAP.
Get attachments for masks to help- Speak to your CPAP provider if you have any leakage issues. CPAP masking accessories such as mask sealers, CPAP cushions, full facial liners, nasal gel pads, nasal masks or nasal pillow liners, and eye shields can help avoid or reduce leakage and irritations involved with them.
Fixing your Leaking CPAP Mask
A leaked CPAP mask is not a disaster. It is typically a symptom of either an incorrect fit or a need for new parts or accessories. Contact Best Cpap Cleaners at (855) 275-8951. We are here to help you get the best possible outcome with your therapy.