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Mask Frustrations
#1
Hello,
I was just diagnosed with severe sleep apnea a few weeks ago.  On Wednesday of last week I received my CPAP machine, a Philips Respironics Dreamstation.  I needed a full face mask since I become a mouth breather after I fall asleep.  I was given a Elara (3B Medical) Full face mask.  I am so frustrated!  It is difficult enough to adjust to sleeping with gale force winds blowing in my face, but my mask leaks so much.  I usually change the tightness, looseness of the straps about 50 times a night.  However, I am continually waking up (if I am able to sleep at all) with leaks, and with the vent often blowing in my eyes should I try to sleep on my side.  I usually sleep on my back 90 percent of the time, but occasionally sleep for a short while on my side.  Since I started CPAP therapy, I have not yet had a decent nights sleep but I understand that is normal as it takes time to adjust.  However, having a mask that leaks is not a good thing.

  I went back to my DME and requested a size bigger mask and they gave me the same make/model.  I thought if it was a bit bigger that if my mouth moved a little, it would still keep a seal, but it does not, it is worse.  My mask (either size) works fine for the first 20 minutes or so, but after the ramping is done and I am up to full pressure, if my jaw relaxes or I slightly tilt my head 1/8 of an inch then the mask starts leaking again.  I am soooooo frustrated!

  I have been reading the forums and saw that some people have the same issue and that they have tried mask liners which may or may not help.  I am unable to find any place that makes mask liners for the Elara, but I just today did order a sample pack to try.  My husband suggested using vaseline around the seal. Not sure if that will work or will degrade the material, not that I care if it will degrade the material of the mask since a leaky mask is useless anyway. I do use Sleepyhead software which is awesome, and even that says that my mask leaks way too much.

Please, help!  Any suggestions, feedback, advice would be greatly appreciated!
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#2
I'm not sure why your supplier is so insistent that your should use a BMC-3B Medical (Chinese) mask. Get what works! You should have a choice of brands and styles. Have you failed at nasal therapy? Do you know you need a full face mask? Have you tried the Resmed or Respironics products?

Your supplier is trying to schlep less expensive Chinese crap that apparently doesn't work for you. Tell them go to hell or you will find someone that tries to meet your needs. 3B Medical is the same group from China that sells ResSmart. http://www.bmc-medical.com/en_bmc_portal . They have copied technology from the best in the world. I sure don't have any ideal why it doesn't work like the original.

(full disclosure: I am highly prejudiced against medical equipment sourced in China...just in case it was not obvious. I would not feed my dog Chinese dog food, and I would not use Chinese CPAP equipment).
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#3
Hi TinaD,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
You should demand to try different masks, 'till you find what works for you. The mask is the most challenging part of this therapy and you should be able to try different types of masks so you can make your therapy work well.
I wish you good luck on your CPAP journey, hang in there for more responses to your post.
trish6hundred
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#4
Welcome.  I concur that it takes a lot of research and experimentation to develop a good full face mask and I would be suspicious of any low cost mask.  Fisher and Paykel also make great masks.  I use the Simplus, as do several others there, and find that it works well once adjusted properly.  Finding that sweet spot can take some time making very small (1/8 inch) adjustments.   But a full face mask will always leak more as there is more perimeter to leak.

Before you settle on a full-face mask you might want to try a chin strap, a soft cervical collar, or even taping your lips shut.  That may allow you to use a nasal mask or pillows.  That will make leaks much easier to control or perhaps non-existant.

My guess is that vaseline will make it worse.  If my face is oily, my mask leaks more.  You also need to adjust the mask for leaking before you start the ramp as higher pressures will leak where lower ones won't.

Keep at it!  Finding the right mask for you and your face is the hardest part of this.  Once it fits and does not leak you won't get the gale force winds.  I often wake up and lift up my mask to make sure the machine is on!
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#5
(01-30-2017, 09:37 PM)Sleeprider Wrote: I'm not sure why your supplier is so insistent that your should use a BMC-3B Medical (Chinese) mask.  Get what works!  You should have a choice of brands and styles.  Have you failed at nasal therapy?  Do you know you need a full face mask?  Have you tried the Resmed or Respironics products?

Your supplier is trying to schlep less expensive Chinese crap that apparently doesn't work for you.  Tell them go to hell or you will find someone that tries to meet your needs.  3B Medical is the same group from China that sells ResSmart.  http://www.bmc-medical.com/en_bmc_portal  .  They have copied technology from the best in the world.  I sure don't have any ideal why it doesn't work like the original.

(full disclosure: I am highly prejudiced against medical equipment sourced in China...just in case it was not obvious. I would not feed my dog Chinese dog food, and I would not use Chinese CPAP equipment).

Thank you for your opinion, Sleeprider, LOL.  You have made an excellent point!

(01-30-2017, 09:51 PM)trish6hundred Wrote: Hi TinaD,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
You should demand to try different masks, 'till you find what works for you.  The mask is the most challenging part of this therapy and you should be able to try different types of masks so you can make your therapy work well.
I wish you good luck on your CPAP journey, hang in there for more responses to your post.

Thank you, Trish.  If this homemade mask liner does not work, I will indeedy bobby demand to try different masks!  LOL
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#6
(01-30-2017, 10:17 PM)chill Wrote: Welcome.  I concur that it takes a lot of research and experimentation to develop a good full face mask and I would be suspicious of any low cost mask.  Fisher and Paykel also make great masks.  I use the Simplus, as do several others there, and find that it works well once adjusted properly.  Finding that sweet spot can take some time making very small (1/8 inch) adjustments.   But a full face mask will always leak more as there is more perimeter to leak.

Before you settle on a full-face mask you might want to try a chin strap, a soft cervical collar, or even taping your lips shut.  That may allow you to use a nasal mask or pillows.  That will make leaks much easier to control or perhaps non-existant.

My guess is that vaseline will make it worse.  If my face is oily, my mask leaks more.  You also need to adjust the mask for leaking before you start the ramp as higher pressures will leak where lower ones won't.

Keep at it!  Finding the right mask for you and your face is the hardest part of this.  Once it fits and does not leak you won't get the gale force winds.  I often wake up and lift up my mask to make sure the machine is on!

Thank you for your reply, Chill.  You make sense, I appreciate it.  I will NOT try the Vaseline, I will try different face masks.  I actually did already order a chin strap.  A cervical collar or taping my lips shut does seem a bit more extreme than I am willing to try right now.  (That may change come 3 am when I still have not been able to sleep, though!)  Thanks for the encouragement.  I am looking forward to finding something that works and having successful therapy and a good nights sleep!
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#7
Yeah, I would not be too keen on the lip taping either.  The cervical collars are the soft kind you can buy at any drug store.  I wear one and I find it much more comfortable than the chin strap was.  Neither do much for the sex appeal of CPAP!
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#8
Tina, take a look at the ResMed F20 mask thread.  RogerS
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#9
Tina, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 8 years ago and was given a FFM to use. I lasted 1 month on therapy before giving up. I experienced many of the same problems you are having. After dealing with all the side effects of sleep apnea I went back to give it another go. This time around I insisted on nasal pillows and in particular the AirFit P10. I know I'm a mouth breather so immediately went with a chin strap. The first 2 months have gone great and within the last week I started using some 2" paper medical tape over my mouth with absolutely no problem. My time over leak rate is at 0.00. Obviously treatment is a very personal thing. What works for someone may never work for someone else. As suggested insist on quality equipment and stay with it until you find what works for you. I can attest that it will change your life.

I-love-CPAP
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#10
I agree with those who suggested trying a nasal or nasal pillow mask. I was also a mouth breather when sleeping and was convinced I would need a full face mask and I told the provider this. Fortunately I agreed to try the nasal mask first and within a week I got used to it, much to my surprise. It seems that a moderate positive pressure of just 7.0 is all it takes to make me breathe by the nose! I don't need any chin straps or other devices and can use just about any nasal or pillow mask. If I happen to remove the mask during the night, the pressure is lost and I immediately revert to mouth breathing and wake up with a dry mouth. I tried for at least 5 minutes to convince my provider that I "needed" a full face mask but I am very happy that I lost that argument and agreed to try it because I hate the things - i tried one when I had a bad cold once but found that even then, the nasal mask is better once you get your nose clear.
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