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First try with full face mask
#1
Question 
First try with full face mask
My sleep apnea is not continuous - it comes and goes.  But when I need the machine, I really need it.

I have been using nasal pillow masks on my ResMed APAP machine for two years.  My problem is that sometimes I have congestion that makes it hard to breathe through my nose.  I find myself gasping for air and have to breathe through my mouth to get enough.  Of course the machine perceives this as an apnea event.  It eventually take so much attention that I take the mask off to get some sleep.

Often hours go by and I am sleeping without the mask on.  Sometimes I wake up gasping for air because a real apena event happened and the machine was not connected.  My stats have been averaging just under 4 hours of use per night - just under the supposed minimum for compliance.

I  discussed this with the doctor.  He suggested things like nasal surgery, which I don't want.  Also suggested a BPAP machine.  (After I just spent $600 a year ago on this APAP, after the first one failed and the DME wanted an exorbitant price for a new one.)  But we also talked about trying a full face mask and decided to try that for 3 months.

I "fired" my DME supplier so I am getting all this stuff on Amazon.  There seem to be a lot of pieces and I am not sure which ones I need.  There is a headpiece that goes around the back of my head.  There is a "frame" that attaches to that and goes in front.  There is a soft insert cushion that goes inside the frame (ResMed AirFit or AirTouch).  But in the pictures it is not clear how the hose connects to all this.  Is there an additional piece I need?

WIth the nasal masks, there is a soft flexible tiube about a foot long that connects the mask the the rather stiff heated tube that goes back to the machine.  Do full face masks not have this?

The other issue that, according ot the doctor, the insurance companies have stopped paying doctor offices for "mask fitting" and his office has eliminated the clinic they used to have for that.  The only way to do it now is through the DME.  I would rather not talk to those incompetent b**** again, so I plan to just start with "medium" and see how that goes.  I see that the soft mask insert comes in 3 sizes.  But I can't tell if the "frame" and the "headgear" also come in three sizes and have to match the cushion.

If I measure the circumference of my head, is there a handy chart that will indicate which size I need?  My face is not fat - I doubt I need the "large".  I currently use a "medium" nasal pillow.
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#2
RE: First try with full face mask
Rather than buy the parts piecemeal off Amazon, you may want to check the suppliers list for vendors that will sell you the complete mask with decent return policies.  I have used Supplier #18 with good results.
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#3
RE: First try with full face mask
Do you have a prescription from your doctor to buy a mask?

If you do, you can buy a mask complete online and not try to buy individual parts and assemble one. Look for a supplier that accepts returns on masks.

If you don’t have a prescription, get one you can scan, or save, to your computer and send to an online DME.

Some of the more popular FFM are the Resmed F20 which is a traditional FFM, and the Resmed F30 and Respironics DreamWear. The latter 2 are hybrid masks that have a mouth covering connected with almost a pillow.

I went without a DME for many years and bought replacement parts off eBay. Once you have a mask that works, you can do this from Amazon also. Building from scratch would be a nightmare and probably more costly.

John
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#4
RE: First try with full face mask
I'm no sleep apnea expert, but I'll try and help. I use a ResMed AirFit F20 mask in size large. My machine is a ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet.

The headgear consists of the straps which attaches to the frame, which is the clear, solid plastic piece. The cushion then attaches to the frame by snapping it into place. 

My machine has a long (I think 6') hose that attaches to the top rear of it. The other end attaches to an elbow that rotates. That elbow attaches to the frame itself. 

As far as I know, the frame is a one-size fits all. I could be wrong. The headgear (straps) does come in varying sizes, mostly to accommodate females I believe. 

I also have an AirFit F30 (hybrid) mask that I use from time to time. The cushion for it comes in small or medium only. I use a medium. 

The headgear that I have (straps) are totally adjustable for fit. They tend to loosen up with use, and you do have to readjust them at times. Washing them in hot, soapy water does help a lot, and makes tighten up considerably. 

I hope all this helps and doesn't make matters worse, confusion wise.
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