Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

Posts Tagged ‘cpap mask’

The Challenge of Proper CPAP Mask Choice

Posted by amykr on July 29, 2011

It is always a challenge when we have met a person for the first time and we ask a few questions and than we have to help them choose a mask that will work for him or her. This is a very interactive experience that can take a short period of time, or what usually happens is that it takes quite a bit of time making the decision. There are basically five ways to make this experience easier and more successful
1. You need to come in with your mind open. Many people go into the experience thinking they know what want in a mask. This may be because a friend has a CPAP and is successful with a mask they chose and so you figure it will work for you. It could also be because you went researching on the internet and thought the newest mask on their looked like something you want. The truth is that there are so many masks on the market because there are that many different needs for different people.
2. Claustrophobia does not mean that a smaller mask is a better mask. The fact is that nasal pillows and can sometimes feel stronger and make you feel more claustrophobic. A mask that allows you to breathe through your mouth may be more comfortable. There are masks on the market that do not block your line of vision and will make you feel more comfortable.
3. If you take steroids or blood thinners your skin will react differently to masks. Your skin will be more fragile. The person working with you needs to be aware of this so they can choose a mask that puts less pressure on the bridge of your nose. There are extra cushions if needed but the ideal is to find the right mask that does not put pressure on your face.
4. Do not be afraid to ask to try a different mask. You will be using this mask for a long period of time and you have the right to try as many masks as you want. You are not annoying the technologist. We would rather have someone tell us that there is a problem with the mask during the night than to find it out after the test when they cannot do anything about it.
5. If you think you will need time to get used to the mask and the therapy see if you can come in before the night of your study. In many labs they will have you come in for a PAP NAP during the day. They will allow you to trial masks and get used to the pressure during the day. It is a great opportunity to take your time and not feel the pressure of having to go to sleep on the machine right away.
CPAP therapy can help you to improve your health and allow you to feel more energetic. Being successful using the therapy requires that you find just the right mask whether it is a full face mask, nasal mask or nasal pillows. The goal is for you to find a mask that will allow you to sleep comfortably and breathe easily.

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New Equipment for CPAP Users on the Way

Posted by amykr on October 15, 2009

There are many CPAP users out there who do not use their machines. Much of this is due to the fact that this type of therapy is requires a strong desire by the user to stick with the therapy. The good news is new masks, machines and humidifiers are making this type of care more comfortable. Several new pieces of equipment are being introduced in the next couple of months.

A new machine is being introduced by Phillips Respironics. This new CPAP, according to the literature, takes care of many of the issues that users tend to have. It has CFLEX, a therapy mode that allows the breath to be delivered similar to a natural breath rather then a machine. This setting also has an adjustment so that the user can find the flow that is comfortable for their personal breathing pattern.

The equipment is also able to communicate with your doctor and medical equipment company. It has a program that will allow them to monitor the progress of the person using the machine and if they are having any issues they can be corrected in a timely manner instead having to wait for a doctor’s appointment and discussing it with them. All the patient needs to do is make a phone call. The doctor of the equipment company can then access the machine and know if it is being used, if the user is still have issues with snoring, apneas, or with the mask and they can then change the setting to help the person be more comfortable.

The final issue they have looked at is proper humidification without the water collecting in the tube. In the old humidifier the temperature was not controlled at the mask. This new machine looks at humidification at the mask so that excess water does not accumulate in the tubing causing a sloshing sound and accidentally drenching the patient as they move during the night.

New masks come out constantly. Phillips Respironics and Resmed have both come out with changes to the masks they offer. Respironics has two new full face masks. The FullLife mask is a restructuring of typical full face mask to make it more comfortable as well as making it lighter. The most unique thing is that it no longer has a forehead pad but has a headgear with a chin strap to adjust the pressure across the bridge of the nose. The Total Face Mask is a mask that seals around the whole face. This allows patients with unusual shaped faces or patients who can not tolerate nasal or full face masks a new option.

Resmed announced they have added a Softgel interface to their line of masks. This will allow for a comfortable fit for patients who need a little more support to their masks.

For people who have had their machines for 5 years or longer many insurance companies will replace older machines, however they may require you to re-qualify by having another sleep study to prove you still have sleep apnea. Mask, hoses, filters and other equipment are replaced every 3 to 6 months but most people have to call their equipment provider to ask for these to be replaced. If a CPAP user wants a new mask most likely they will have to ask their doctor for a new prescription. Masks generally are not interchangeable. Once you choose a mask you must get a new prescription to change it. The same is true for a humidifier. If a person does not get a heated humidifier when they initially get their machine they must get a prescription and may even need another sleep study in order to get one.

Once you have started on CPAP therapy staying current with the changes in equipment may help in keeping a user compliant with care.

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