If your physician has told you that you should start wearing a CPAP, you probably feel a little overwhelmed. Many people order their CPAP, sleep with it for the first time and realize that it didn’t solve all their problems. Many patients have more problems because they aren’t wearing the CPAP correctly.
Here are the things you should do to prepare for wearing a CPAP for the first time, how to use it, and what to expect as you wear it night after night. By knowing what to expect, you’ll see if you’re having issues rather than typical introductory concerns.
Before You Start Wearing a CPAP
- Sit in a quiet place with a mirror, way before bedtime.
You don’t want to try fitting the mask for the first time when you’re overtired. If you can find a place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted, you’ll be able to take the time to read instructions carefully and test the CPAP before using it.
Ideally, test the mask in your bedroom. After the initial fitting, you can test it in your sleeping position. Our muscles change when we lie down, so you may need to make minor adjustments as you lay down.
- Read the instructions.
Not all masks will fit the same way, so reading the manufacturer’s instructions is the best place to start. That being said, the next few steps are general enough to work for most masks.
Fitting the CPAP mask to your face
- The first step to a good fit is using just the mask. Without placing the straps over your head and without hooking the tubes to your machine, place the mask on your face.
- Place the straps over your head and tighten gently. The straps should not need to be very tight in order to make a seal. (Resmed.co.uk) Tighten the top straps first and then the lower straps.
- Tighten the straps until the mask stays in place and lay down in your sleeping position. Does the mask seem like it is sealed to your face? That’s the goal. If the mask leaks, it cannot do its job correctly. As you get used to using the mask, you will learn how tight is right for you, but don’t make too many adjustments before lying down.
- Attach the machine and lie still to test the machine.
Troubleshooting the act of wearing a CPAP mask
My CPAP is leaking.
If your CPAP is leaking, your mask is not fitting properly. Try adjusting the straps to fix the seal. Make sure you are lying in your normal sleep position as you adjust the straps.
If the adjustments still don’t create a seal, check the instructions manual to be sure your straps are connected correctly.
Is your mask clean? It’s unlikely, but a build-up of dirt could get in the way of creating the seal between your mask and your face. Try cleaning and waiting until the mask is clean before starting the fitting process again.
If you have tried the tricks above, but the seal is still not happening, you might need to look at a different mask. The fit could be wrong for your face, the mask could be a bad choice for you, or the mask could be worn in parts and need to be replaced.
I’m hearing a loud noise when using my CPAP mask
Unfortunately, a loud noise coming from the CPAP is usually a sign of a leak meaning the mask is not fitting your face correctly.
The CPAP hurts my face.
If the CPAP is hurting, your straps are too tight. If the only way to create a seal is by having the straps that tight, you may need a larger mask.
I don’t have the instructions anymore.
No problem, the technicians at Advanced Homecare can help find the instructions for your machine. Use the form below to get in touch for this, or any other CPAP mask questions you have.