Answers from the Panel
"Should I have a nasal mask or a full face mask?"
When your mask is fitted initially you should be assessed by a trained healthcare person to ascertain which type of mask you require. Some patients continue to breathe through their mouth when on treatment, thus require a full face mask. If on treatment you frequently wake with a very dry mouth and sore throat, and your partner reports snoring type noises through the night, it is possible you are mouth breathing.
Conditions such as hay fever or colds can cause nasal congestion which can also result in temporary periods of mouth breathing. The data from some devices, such as the ResMed AutoSet Spirit, will allow a trained clinician to determine if a patient is mouth breathing.
You should discuss this with your sleep specialist if you feel you may be mouth breathing or call our customer care team for advice.
"I wake up with red marks on my face where my mask has been - what can I do?"
This is most commonly due to a mask being worn too tight or incorrectly. When a mask leaks the logical thing to do is pull the straps tighter but is often not the answer. Firstly ensure your mask is assembled correctly. You need to ensure the cushion is free from skin greases by cleaning more frequently, it should be wiped with a cloth at least daily, then washed in 'original' washing up liquid a minimum of weekly, rinsed and allowed to air dry. Check the age of the cushion.
ResMed cushions will last between 12-18 months, after the expected lifespan, all cushions begin to loose shape and rigidity thus their ability to seal and will need replacing. If all the above are correct and followed, try loosening your headgear, lie on the bed with the pressure running and tighten the straps in small movements, taking off the slack initially, use the forehead adjustor if you have one to resolve eye leaks.
Finally, if leaks persist and hence red marks, confirm with your sleep specialist that you have the correct size of mask.
"I have a ResMed CPAP machine ( via NHS) and I'm starting to have trouble with the mask...it doesn't seem to fit as well now and either air escapes or I wake up with painful marks under my nose and across the bridge of my nose and pressure pain on my top teeth.
I've tried adjusting straps ( lying down) and recently it's affecting my sleep...
If someone could get in touch with advice and suggestions it would be fantastic.
Since I was diagnosed with severe interrupted sleep aponea my life has changed using your equipment but now it's seems to be slipping backwards again.."
Regarding the problems you are experiencing, how old is your mask and how often do you wash it? The soft cushion on your mask will last approximately 1-2 years with regular washing. We recommend avoiding soaps, shampoos and wipes as these will damage cushion. The best thing to use to basic washing up liquid (for example Original Green Fairy Liquid) and wash it at least twice per week in a bowl of warm water and a squirt of this.
It sounds like it is leaking because it has deteriorated and I suspect you are over-tightening it to combat this, but the result can make leakage worse and can cause the soreness you mention.
If your equipment is supplied through the hospital I suggest you contact them if you feel it is in need of replacement. Replacements can also be purchased directly from us.
If you wish to discuss anything further, please call us free on 0800 917 7071.
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