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Masks and hair curlers
I was told today that the initial sleep study showed that I have sleep apnea. I had no clue that I had that kind of problem. I fully expected the results to be negative since I seldom snore and I don't wake up gasping for air. I just wake up a lot during the night. I think that I'm still in a state of shock.

My husband's attitude is that this diagnosis is a cake walk compared to my being told in in 2009 that I had lung cancer and then being told in 2011 that I had to have my aortic valve replaced. I'm truly blessed to still be on this side of the grass.

The doctor told me today to just take it one day at a time, and I know he's right because that's exactly how I approached each new thing that I encountered during my lung cancer experience. I told my husband then that I was going to deal with just one aspect of it at a time, and once I was thru that part of it then I'd face the next thing. So I guess that I'm just having a pity party, and hopefully things will look brighter in the morning.

Anyhow....I'll be having the titration study done in a few days so I spent quite a bit of time this evening researching masks and machines.

There are two things that I'm looking for in particular. I'm hoping to find a mask that won't interfere with my being able to set my hair in rollers and that will also allow me to wear glasses so that I can read before falling asleep like I do now.

The only one that I've seen so far that might work is the Fisher & Paykel Pilairo Nasal Pillow Mask seen on the Cpap Shop web site.

I'm hoping that I will be allowed to use just a nasal style versus the full mask since I've not seen any of the full mask styles that look like they'd play well with rollers or glasses.

Also...just how noisy are these machines? I've seen one that said it was 29dB and another that said 26dB. But I have no clue how loud that is.

I'd appreciate any suggestions that y'all might be able to provide.


Dee in FL
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Hi Dee and welcome...

I hope you find this forum as helpful as I have since I found it.

To answer your question about noise: I googled 'Compare Noise Levels' and found a lot of helpful stuff including that 30dB is equivalent to a wisper quiet library at 6ft and that every +3dB is a doubling of percieved loudness....
Another link - http://www.chem.purdue.edu/chemsafety/Tr...levels.htm

Basically, 29dB is very quiet and 26dB is half of that... perhaps very very quiet. Smile

As for masks - as you have probably seen Nasal Pillows are generally better for many users but are less successful than full-face masks for people with very high pressures. I use a Pilairo and I love it but don't set your mind on an outcome before your titration study.

The best use of this forum is as a source of ideas and questions so you know that you can have control of your treatment and not simply accept the supplier offered solution without discussion.

The other thing to remember is that what is brilliant for one person may not produce that same results in another.

As for Hair Curlers - I can't help - I'm bald. Big Grin

Good luck.
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Some of the masks will be able to sit on top of the rollers, although it's not going to be comfortable.

But, look into the Swift FX and the Bella loops. I think that's what they are called.

The machines are quiet, much quieter than an air conditioner. The most bothersome bit is you can often hear your own breath which can lead to laying there, listening to it, unable to go to sleep. It's something you'll have to adjust to. Try sitting up during the day to get used to the noise and sensations.

The other thing for you to consider is to get a data capable machine. This is one that keeps track of such things as flow limitation (how open or not the airway was) and your AHI (apnea-hypopnea index) as well as leaks, flow rate, etc etc. With your history of lung cancer, flow rate and flow limitation (and the rest) would be valuable information for you and your doctor. Without data capability, it is like treating your cancer without ever looking at another MRI, CT scan, or x-ray.

List of machines to consider (and to avoid):

List of acronyms/abbreviations associated with Sleep Apnea: (aka Alphabet Soup)

The final bit is to ask for a copy of your sleep study and the titration study. Don't let them tell you it is a huge document and you wouldn't understand. Tell them you want it anyway or at least want the summary.

Welcome to Apnea Board!
Apnea Board Moderator

Breathe deeply and count to zen.


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Hi DeeMax!
Welcome to the forum! =^.^=

Your husband is right. This will just be a passing annoyance until you get used to it.
The machines are very quet now. Mine is rated at about 30db and the window air condition drowns it out fully.
Normal conversation is about 60db.
A vacuum cleaner can kick up about 80db. (annoying)
A running jet engine is 140-150db. (deafening)

Well, CPAP therapy has higher priority, since it is something that keeps you breathing at night.
So, maybe it would be a nice time for a change in hair styles? Something short and attractive
like a lady astronaut or fighter pilot would use?

Oh yes, I use a full face mask and glasses. There are quite a few that will work if you turn out to be a mouth beather.

Cheers & best of luck!

"With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable." - Thomas Foxwell Buxton

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Hi DeeMax45 and WELCOME! to the forum.!
What everyone has said thus far.
Best of luck to you on your CPAP journey.
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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome to the group and for all of the info.

I do wake up with a dry mouth a couple of times a week, but not all of the time so I'm hoping to get by with just the nose one. The ResMed Swift™ FX Bella Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask with 2 Headgears seen at [link removed] looks like it would work pretty good. I could change out the head gear for the Bella Loops on the nights that I put curlers in my hair. I will most definitely request the type of machine that will collect the data! I've already asked for copies of the sleep study and I'll also get one of the titration study. (We travel in our motorhome 5-6 months at a time so we always get hard copies/CDs/DVDs of all of our tests to take with us.) Thanks for all of the suggestions and links Paula.

Thanks Moriarty and Shastzi for the noise level info.


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I don't think that CPAP therapy works well with a nice hairstyle. I had long ago given up rollers and was having my hair done each week. I still do, but it is a challenge to maintain the style through the week, but not impossible. I am lucky in that my granddaughter gives me a nice discount to do my hair.

If you end up needing a full face mask, you might want to look at the Mirage Liberty. The mask covers the mouth with pillows that fit into each nostril. I believe you could wear glasses to read or watch TV, but I haven't tried it myself. I see no way for hair rollers to be used, but maybe you will be more creative than I am. I rotate between the Liberty and the Quattro FX. I am a serious mouth breather and I end up having a very dry mouth whatever mask I use. The minute I get up in the morning I'm good.

Since I have some pretty serious health problems , I believe that it is imperative for me to do whatever it is that I have to do to follow through on CPAP. I am thrilled that I have not had an AFib episode for two months. About two weeks after starting CPAP therapy, I had one small episode that lasted less than six hours and since then none. Before that my heart would pop into AFib without any warning, and then I'd have to take more medication until it would drop back into normal sinus rhythm.
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Alzwell, I am really looking forward to feeling more rested and having some energy. We just kept thinking that my energy level was so lousy because the lung cancer, chemo and the aortic valve replacement had all hit me within 3 years of each other. After the lung cancer surgery and chemo, the doctors had said that since I was in my 60s it was to be expected that it would take a while to recover, but apparently my heart valve was going south on me during that time. So after the heart valve replacement surgery, I had high hopes that I'd feel more energetic. But the cardiologist said that it could be 2 years from date of surgery before I might start feeling more energetic.

Hopefully the apnea/hypopnea episodes are the culprit and wearing this mask will finally get me back to feeling like a human again.


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I do hope that CPAP therapy will go well for you. Keep us posted as to whether you have been able to find a mask that will allow you to do the hair curlers. Shy

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Hi DeeMax,
Welcome to our forum family.

When I had my first sleep study, I was given several masks to try before I fell asleep to see which ones would be the most comfortable in case I had to be put on a cpap machine after the first 2 hours. My AHI wasn't high enough to get the clap that night but when I went back for the triation study, I also got to sample several masks before falling asleep. Hopefully you'll also be given the same opportunity. If you get dressed for bed with curlers at the sleep study clinic, maybe you can find a mask that will feel comfortable with curlers. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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