CPAP, I hate it!

by William
(Savannah, GA)

I have a CPAP that covers my nose to sleep at night. I HATE IT! I hardly wear it and when I do, I end up pulling it off in my sleep and throwing my mask to the ground.

This is seriously effecting my girlfriend's sleep as she wakes up the second I start snoring or stop breathing in my sleep. She tries to wake me up to put it back on, however, she is always unsuccessful.

I've had this mask for over a year, and I have the option for surgery, however I WILL NOT GET IT (I know somebody who passed away due to complications from their surgery). I need something that will help me to keep the mask on at night so I can get some good rest, and so can she!

Answer


Dear William,

almost everybody hates their cpap at first! But it's a whole lot better than the alternative of untreated apnea.

I'm sure you know that untreated sleep apnea only gets worse, and the side effects can be devastating. I'm pretty sure you don't want those consequences.

I'm wondering....

  • What kind of problems do you have when you throwaway the CPAP mask?

  • Is your CPAP mask uncomfortable?

  • Do you feel like you can breathe okay with the mask on?

  • What brand and model of CPAP machine do you use?

  • Is it able to provide sleep data to you?

William, if I've had the answers to these questions it would be easier for me to answer. So...I have to guess now what kind of problems you have.

My first guess will be anxiety, panic or fear of remaining without air while you're wearing the mask.

For this problem, I recommend taking small steps: try wearing just the mask (without the hose) around the house or while watching TV to help get used to wearing it. Then try the device when you are awake (and not trying to go to sleep) just breathing and staying calm for short periods of time.

If you have anxiety problems, don't use the ramp feature from your CPAP machine, because the air pressure is too low and it makes you feel like you're suffocating.


It would be helpful to tell us how did you choose this mask, and how many CPAP masks did you try before buying this one?

Finding a mask that fits you is key. It depends on the problems that you have now with your nasal mask. You should be able to use this information to help you find one that will work for you.

If one type doesn't work, try another. If you feel you are suffocating, talk with your DME and especially your sleep doctor about the pressure you have been prescribed. If you feel the air is blasting your face, talk, ask questions...you get the picture.

Work with your sleep doctor and DME to find something that does work for you. It is unlikely that you will ever love the CPAP machine and mask, but if you work with it you will get to love the effects it has on you when you use it.

If you have had the latest mask less than 30 days you should be able to go back to the DME and change it. If you have had it longer than 30 days, you might have to bite the bullet and pay for it yourself.

Most people will tell you that a comfortable, well-fitting mask is of the utmost importance. It will go a long way to help you be compliant. Keep bugging your DME to get one that you can work with.

Try on every CPAP mask in the place if you have to - you're paying them and you have every right to pursue the most comfortable option.

Tell the DME the mask is not working for you and why. Tell them why the first mask didn't work for you. If the third mask doesn't work for you, take it back (give it a week or two) and tell them why it doesn't work.

These articles can also be very helpful for you (I hope):

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide


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May 07, 2011
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Re: you HATE IT
by: shylakay

I have had my full face mask for 4 yrs now..and I can relate to any anxiety felt when wearing one. I usually don't have any problems w/ my mask fitting well..except during the night I Might have to pull the part that goes around my head down onto the back of my head better. My problem is feeling like there is " no air" going into the mask..even tho' when you pull it away from your face..there is a hurricane going on in there. I find that I have to sleep on my side ( either one)..and NOT on my back AND that if I just let my hand rest on the pillow where the outflow is blowing out of my mask..it reassures me that there IS a lot of air blowing in there and I instantly just relax and breath normally. Somehow it is comforting to FEEL the air blowing onto my hand during the night. You can't position it TOO close or you might block the exhaust air flowing out..but about 6-12 inches away from it and where you can FEEL it blowing onto your hand.

Another BIG POINT!.. You said you take it off in the middle of the night..and your girlfriend tries to wake you up ( unsuccessfully)..to put it back on. How will you feel when SHE CANNOT wake you up EVER again..and you are no longer there to share in her life????

My son died from sleep apnea at the young age of 22..and IN HIS SLEEP. Sleep apnea is a very dangerous condition. Look around..try on every dang mask you can find..make all the adjustments that make it feel comfy on your face and convince your MIND that you need this IF you want to be here. I would NOT even dream of taking a nap during the day w/out mine. I have TOO MUCH TO LIVE FOR !!!

May 09, 2011
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by: Remy

Shylakay, your comments are really inspiring. I also feel motivated to keep going when I read your stories:)

Thank you!

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