Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder caused by partial obstruction of the airway during sleep. This condition causes sufferers to stop breathing for short periods of time throughout the night, which increases the risk for death and other serious medical problems. People with sleep apnea can use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to prevent the problems associated with sleep apnea. These machines are effective, but some users experience problems with leaks or discomfort caused by friction between the skin and the mask components. These are some of the most frequently asked questions about using the ResMed S9 CPAP sleep apnea machine to treat sleep apnea.
What do I do if the straps dig into my skin?
Some people experience discomfort caused by the traps and buckles of their masks digging into the skin while they sleep. There are several steps you can take to correct this problem. ResMed makes protective pads that reduce contact between the skin and the straps of the mask. This reduces friction and eases skin irritation. If you have tried these pads without relief, try adjusting your mask. If you have gained or lost weight in the face, you may have to adjust the straps to accommodate these changes. Swelling caused by dental problems, allergies, sinusitis and hormonal changes can also make your mask uncomfortable. Adjust your mask whenever necessary to prevent the straps from causing discomfort and leaving marks on your skin.
I experience air leaks from my mask even though it is fitted properly. What can I do?
There are several things you can do to eliminate leaks. One of them is very simple – just wash your face before bed every night. If you do not wash your face at night, the oils on your skin can prevent the mask from forming the correct sale. You should also clean your mask and tubing every morning. This removes oil from the components, reducing the risk that the oil will prevent a proper seal. Since oil can also break down the tubing, washing these components each day will help your mask and tubing last longer. If you take these steps and still experience leaks, ask your sleep specialist to help you adjust the mask so that it does not leak.
What factors should I consider when selecting a CPAP mask?
When the time comes to choose a CPAP mask, you should work with your doctor to pick the mask that meets your medical needs while also ensuring your comfort. There are several factors to consider when working with your physician to select a CPAP mask. Since several nasal problems can affect how a mask works, you should let your doctor know if you have had nasal surgery or palate surgery in the past. If you suffer regular bouts of hay fever, sinusitis or rhinitis, you may have to choose a mask with a humidifier. People who move a lot during their sleep, as well as people who breathe through their mouths, should let their doctors know about these behaviors. If you have allergies or your skin gets irritated easily, be sure to ask your doctor about which masks have the lowest risk of irritating the skin. Those who experience claustrophobia also have to use caution when selecting a mask, as some models can make you feel like you are in an enclosed space.
How do I know which mask size is right for me?
ResMed makes a template that makes it easy for CPAP users to choose the right size mask. When you are working with your doctor to select a mask, you should be given this template to help determine your mask size. Insert your nose into the template to determine the size and shape of the mask you need for your machine. Be careful not to position the template too close to your nostrils or perimeter of your nose, as the mask may cause pressure and discomfort. Picking the wrong size can also lead to air leaks around the nose.
I am a side sleeper, and sometimes my mask leaks when I turn on my side. What can I do?
You may need to choose a new mask if your sleep habits are interfering with your use of a CPAP machine. If you are used to sleeping on your side, it is difficult to break the habit just because you start using a CPAP machine. You may need to switch to a unit that has tubing connected to the side of the mask. This can make it easier for you to sleep comfortably and help you eliminate leaks that interfere with your sleep apnea treatment.