Understanding CPAP Mask Leaks
CPAP mask leaks are one of the most common reasons people do not stay compliant with their therapy. Often times it leads to a less successful therapy and can cause much discomfort. It's important to know your PAP therapy should be comfortable and that you should not be experiencing leaks at any time. If you do, be sure to consult with your sleep specialist or doctor. Some of the most common reasons for mask leaks include:
- An Improper Fit: Your mask should seal properly when in use. If there are any gaps, be sure to check your headgear straps or look into different sizes or styles of masks to fit you better.
- An Old Mask: Remember that like everything you are using daily, your mask will wear. Masks need to be replaced every 6-12 months and the mask cushions can be replaced every 1-3 months to give you the best experience.
- Sleep Position: Sleeping on your sides can cause issues with leaks. Getting a CPAP Pillow can help by leaving spacing for your tubing and mask.
- Mouth Breathing: This is a common problem with CPAP users, especially for those with a nasal mask. Read more on this common issue below.
Mouth breathing is a common problem in CPAP users arising from chronic nasal issues. Breathing through the mouth prevents moist air from passing through the nose, which results in the drying of nasal passages and increases nasal congestion in the morning. Increased nasal congestion can worsen your sleep apnea and lead to increased nasal airway resistance, which perpetuates the cycle of mouth breathing. The result of mouth breathing can be a loss of therapy effectiveness and comfort, as well as disrupted sleep.
Mouth breathing can also be caused by:
- Alcohol consumption
- Low humidity
The Full Face Mask Resolution
A full face mask covers your nose and mouth so that effective treatment therapy can be delivered even if you breathe through your mouth and experience a leak. Many people need to use full face masks all the time. Others may find they need it from time to time as an alternative to their nasal mask. Full face masks are just one of the range of solutions that may help you identify and manage mouth leaks.
You May Need a Full Face Mask If:
- You often wake up with a dry mouth or throat
- You tend to breathe through your mouth rather than your nose
- You suffer from allergies or hay fever
- You have blocked nasal/congestion at certain times of the year
- You have had a broken nose
- You have a deviated septum
- You have had previous nasal surgery
- You are currently using nasal therapy or medication
If you are using a nasal mask for therapy, questions we may ask are:
- Are you continuing to snore?
- Do you use a chin strap with therapy?
- Is the leak indicated by the flow generated data?
If the answer is yes to any one or more of these questions, you may benefit in calling us and booking yourself for a mask fitting consultation.