Trial and Error With CPAP Masks

I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea for more than 20 years. At that time I’ve had many different masks. The first machine and equipment were given to me by the people who did the sleep study. There was no follow up with a physician for around 15 years. My contacts were with the company who sold me my equipment. Due to PTSD from past issues, I can’t wear a mask that covers my mouth and nose. This limited the masks I could use that were giving a good seal.

Consequences of not using a CPAP

Back around 5 years ago, my blood work showed that I had a condition that could be caused by not wearing my CPAP, or something more serious. My doctor sent me to an endocrinologist. This doctor had gone over my records extensively and told me he could run tests costing thousands of dollars, but he could tell exactly from my blood work when I stopped wearing my CPAP. He was actually spot on, I had an old machine that was very loud, and when my cat got trapped in between the doors all night, I didn’t hear people knocking or ringing the doorbell. So I stopped using it. The doctor wrote me a script for a new machine. Again, no help finding an appropriate mask though.

A sleep specialist helped me find the right mask

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when my doctor referred me to a sleep specialist who worked with me regarding masks. When one didn’t work, he would find another. We’ve gone through a few, but I think I’ve found the best for now. I use the Phillips brand DreamWear mask, the one that covers the mouth but has nasal pillows that come right under my nose.

I still have problems occasionally with it leaking from the sides, and end up over-tightening it. There are times I throw it across the room. Have I mentioned how much I hate using a CPAP? 😐

If your supplier isn't helping, talk to someone else

But I highly suggest that if possible to see a sleep specialist. Just winging it, using the equipment company's recommendation isn’t enough, IMO. They didn’t tell me any details about the new machine, such as it’s transmitting the amount I’m using it to them, and it affects how I get my supplies. I had never heard of that, and since they hadn’t helped me with finding a mask that fits, my usage was way down. Even though I had been begging them to find another mask that would stay on. I finally had to go online, find one I thought might work, and tell them. I didn’t get supplies for 18 months, not because of noncompliance, but because I got tired of arguing with them. The sleep specialist took care of all that.

You can also go online if you have a ResMed machine and establish an account to track all of what’s happened with your use. It tells you your last 30 days or all the way back to a year, how you did on different mask issues, leaks, time mask was off, etc. It’s helpful to see what’s going on with your CPAP history.

I hope this helps someone.

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