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[CPAP] Mouth breathing and AHI
#1
Mouth breathing and AHI
I tend to be a mouth breather at night. When I take a breath through my mouth, how does the CPAP interpret that with respect to AHI? Since the machine is only monitoring my nasal breathing, would it interpret a mouth breath as a pause in breathing that would raise my apparent AHI? How can it differentiate between a cessation of breathing and an open mouth breath?
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#2
RE: Mouth breathing and AHI
Keep in mind, a CPAP needs to act in a controlled leak status. Mouth breathing when the mask is on your nose will not provide very much CPAP therapy. The circuit needs to flow through the CPAP to the hose, into the mask, and into either the nose alone or with a full face mask, nose and mouth, then down to the lungs. It also needs to vent out via the mask. Any variation modifies the controlled leak status, where the leak rate is above what's expected by the CPAP.

At the very least, I'm sure it will kick out a leak indication such as a Large Leak. If you tend to mouth breathe most times, intentional or otherwise, a few things can help. However, in order to fix this, it means more foreign things to strap on.

One item is a soft cervical collar. There's a wiki on my signature about this one. The collar may help keep your mouth closed unless you happen to intentionally mouth breathe.

Another item to consider is Knightsbridge Dual Band CPAP cap. It's a cap you wear while sleeping that has 2 velcro straps you fasten under your chin to stop the mouth from opening while asleep.

If you feel the need to breathe through your mouth, there's one more thing. You should get OSCAR so you can show us a nightly chart. It's possible your mouth breathing is due to too low air settings. I'd go ahead and do this regardless.

Finally, if none of these extras appeal to you, there is the full face and hybrid masks that you'll want to get. Mouth breathing otherwise will show up as a leak in some form. It will throw off your apnea therapy, where at a minimum, it won't prevent some apnea from happening. I think it's a big enough problem that you will need to address it much sooner than later.
Dave

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#3
RE: Mouth breathing and AHI
I'm a mouth breather. I'm using either an AirFit F20 or an AirFit F30 mask. I've tried breathing via my nose and find it very difficult. I just can't get enough air that way. 

My AHI since having started SA Therapy has been under 5. I think my 1st night was 4.7 or so. It usually runs well under 3 now. My lowest has been 0.2 a couple of times. I've yet to see a zero. 

Can't speak to how my machine interprets mouth breathing vs. thru the nose. All I know is that my AHI's are low.
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#4
RE: Mouth breathing and AHI
(04-06-2020, 08:40 PM)Big Guy Wrote: I'm a mouth breather. I'm using either an AirFit F20 or an AirFit F30 mask. I've tried breathing via my nose and find it very difficult. I just can't get enough air that way. 

My AHI since having started SA Therapy has been under 5. I think my 1st night was 4.7 or so. It usually runs well under 3 now. My lowest has been 0.2 a couple of times. I've yet to see a zero. 

Can't speak to how my machine interprets mouth breathing vs. thru the nose. All I know is that my AHI's are low.

Sounds like you need to bump up your bottom pressure setting.. I went from starving for air at 7 to now being comfortable with 8.5
- They are not spelling/grammar errors.. I live in Australia, we do it differently Down Under  Big Grin -
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#5
RE: Mouth breathing and AHI
(04-06-2020, 08:40 PM)Big Guy Wrote: I'm a mouth breather. I'm using either an AirFit F20 or an AirFit F30 mask. I've tried breathing via my nose and find it very difficult. I just can't get enough air that way. 

My AHI since having started SA Therapy has been under 5. I think my 1st night was 4.7 or so. It usually runs well under 3 now. My lowest has been 0.2 a couple of times. I've yet to see a zero. 

Can't speak to how my machine interprets mouth breathing vs. thru the nose. All I know is that my AHI's are low.

Out of curiosity, have you tried Breathe Right strips, or better yet Mute Snoring aids? You can see if they'd work for you by gently pressing your middle fingers against the sides of your nose (where the nose meets the face) and flaring outwards and upwards, effectively opening up your nostrils. I do this for my patients and many of them remark that they get way more air, and off to the pharmacy they go to purchase the strips/aids.
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#6
RE: Mouth breathing and AHI
I've heard of the Breathe Right Strips, but not the Mute Snoring Aids. I did a little online research on the later and it was interesting. 

I'll do some more research and check into them. Thanks!
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#7
RE: Mouth breathing and AHI
I was a mouth breather before xPAP therapy but have trained myself to breathe through my nose.

I used a system that will be familiar to many members here called the tongue suck method. What you have to do is press the tip of your tongue onto your front upper teeth and gently suck the rear of your tongue up onto your soft palate. It's that effective that you can breathe through your nose with your mouth open. You practise this during the day and eventually this becomes a normal part of your breathing pattern. It took me about a month to six weeks before I knew that I'd got it right and that this was happening while I was asleep as well.

To aid that, as mentioned by Dave, get a soft cervical collar. Fitted correctly it will push your jaw upwards but not backwards (which is what a chinstrap tends to do. The other thing the collar does is prevent chin droop which will limit your breathing.
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