CPAP therapy is usually smooth sailing for most people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea after they get used to wearing a mask. However, even the seasoned CPAP user may experience CPAP mask leaks. You’ll know that this is happening at night if you begin having the same symptoms you had before starting CPAP therapy. These symptoms will include waking up tired, headaches, sore throats or dry mouth, snoring, etc. It’s also evident in in the average leak rate reported in the sleep data from your CPAP machine.
A few simple adjustments can be made to your mask to ensure you don’t experience an excessive mask leak during therapy. There is usually some small amount of leakage while using a CPAP masks, but a high leak rate prevents the CPAP machine from providing effective therapy. CPAP therapy is only effective if you are getting the adequate pressurized airflow while you sleep to keep your airway open.
The Causes of CPAP Mask Leaks
CPAP mask leaks are normally caused by a variety of factors:
A hole in the tubing or mask itself: if this is the case, you will need to purchase a replacement part. CPAP accessories and replacement parts are readily available for online purchase from many CPAP retailers.
A poorly fitted mask: if your CPAP mask does not fit you properly, it will cause air to leak from the mask throughout the night. If this is the case, try adjusting the straps on your mask until you no longer feel air escaping from the mask itself. You need to achieve a nice seal when fitting your mask to your face, without having to over tighten the headgear straps. If you find that your mask doesn’t fit properly, contact your CPAP supplier for alternate options. There are many different masks available, making it easy to find one that’s right for you.
Aging masks: old masks can have worn out parts that cause air to escape. Dirt and oils from your face can also break down your mask over time. Follow care and replacement guidelines for your mask to ensure that it is kept in working order and make sure to keep your mask and face clean. You can check with your CPAP supplier for the recommended replacement schedule.
Your sleep position: tossing and turning at night can cause your mask to come loose if the tubing becomes tangled. Some masks feature a 360 degree swivel or direct the tubing across the top of the head to allow free movement for the tubing as you change positions throughout the night.
Buying the wrong type of mask: it’s important to use a mask that fits your face as well as your breathing habits. People who breathe heavily through their mouth while they sleep need a full-face CPAP mask so that airflow doesn’t leak out of their mouths, thereby reducing therapy pressure and therapy effectiveness.
Other obstructions: sometimes wearing other items (hair curlers, sleep masks, etc.) or facial hair can cause break the mask seal. Make sure that anything you are wearing in conjunction with your CPAP mask, it is securely held out of the way of the mask. If you have facial hair, using a bit of Vaseline with your mask seal can help to achieve a tighter seal.
Having problems with an old CPAP mask? Make sure to purchase a new one to continue effective CPAP therapy.Shop CPAP Masks Today