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New to the forum and apnea!
Hi everyone!
I am recently diagnosed with severe apnea and have spent the last few months trying to get used to using my CPAP. I can't say it's been a huge success, but I'm determined. My main problem is finding a mask which suits my face. As a mouth breather and side sleeper the full face mask is hard to get used to. I also have the added problem of a small chin and long thin nose so most masks just don't seem to fit correctly. My nose and cheeks need a medium while my chin needs a small. If I use a medium I get massive leaks around the mouth and if I go for a small it digs in around my cheeks. Whatever I use I end up with massive bags under my eyes (hooray for nano blur! Laugh-a-lot I seem to spend every hour hitting the ramp button on my CPAP - tried constant pressure but it wasn't for me.

Sorry. All I've done is whine! I suppose many of you have similar stories and I'm sure I'll get some great advice here Smile

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G'day Lyn - welcome to the forum.

CPAP does take a lot of getting used to. Some people take to it like a duck to water but most of us take weeks or months to get it right - and then things still don't always go smoothly. You're among friends here - we've all been through it (or are going through it) so we know how you feel.

The mask is a real problem for lots of people, but it's the most important single component of the system. If the mask leaks or isn't comfortable then everything else counts for naught. Have you tried using a nasal mask or nasal pillows with a chin strap? The strap will help keep your mouth closed so you only breathe through your nose and you won't have so many potential leak points. Having said that I don't like the nasal mask and can't stand the pillows. I persevere with a full face mask.

I'm sure other members will be along shortly with other suggestions. Relax and enjoy yourself. Smile
Apnea Board Moderator


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Full face masks are harder to make work than others. Also, it seems to be a very common occurrence that we think we can only use a ffm because we are a "mouth breather." I know that was my take on it when I began this stuff.

The ffm can and will work for you given some time. I ordered a pad-a-cheek liner for my Quattro Air and it helped with the leaks a lot.

But the biggest thing I did for me was to convert to the P10 pillows mask. There are a couple of pillows masks that are well thought of out here, but I picked the P10 because Herbm nagged me into it. I'm glad he did. I use a chinstrap with it to control the "mouth breathing" thing. What I've discovered, and it did take a little time, is that if I use a chinstrap lightly applied so that it simply encourages my jaw to stay closed then I do not mouth breath nor do I feel any particular discomfort from the chinstrap. An added benefit is I no longer need to take "sips" of water all night because my mouth has dried out. A problem with a full mask because there isn't anywhere for the straw to go.............

That brings us to the issue of your pressures, and your leak numbers. What are they? Often we see our pressure get jacked up because of high leak rates, then because of the higher pressures we get more leaks, then because we get more leaks ------------

So get back to us with your pressure numbers, your leak numbers, and your ahi numbers..

I see you have a Resmed, what model?

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What masks have you tried? I went through several, including the Sleepweaver you are using, before I found one that worked. I'm sold on the F&P Simplus because it is roomy inside and has large, soft cushions which leak very little. I also use a chin restraint to help keep my mouth closed and my chin stable.
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Thank you everyone for your replies.

I'm sorry I'm a little vague with facts and figures - mainly because I'm still trying to understand it all and the pharmacist who looks after me isn't really forthcoming with info. Trouble is I don't know what questions to ask, but I'm sure I'll learn here and can be a bit more informed when I see her next.

I'm not sure on my leak numbers with the sleepweaver but as of last night I pretty much gave up on it and went back to my Quattro fx. I loved the soft mask but the fit was atrocious. The section between nose and mouth was too tight leaving me with a sore nose and aching top teeth. I couldn't loosen it because I just got constant leaks around the mouth.

My machine is the Phillips remstar auto flex with humidifier. I think my pressures are between 5 - 11. I've only tried the two masks - the Quattro and the sleepweaver. I have asked about trying others but the pharmacist says they only have two they can "rent" out. I certainly can't afford the $200 - $300 for an array of masks! It's only by internet searches that I learned about pads etc but not sure how they work so haven't outlaid the money. I know a nasal mask won't work as I always suffer from blocked sinuses especially at night.

I'm feeling quite frustrated at this point as I don't seem to be getting a lot of support from the pharmacist.

Please tell me it's going to get easier! Rolleyes
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Welcome to the Board.

I to tried the Sleepweaver with little success. Can't use a full face, I may as well sleep with a plastic bag over my head. The pillows are the most uncomfortable torture device out there in my opinion. So I use a Nasal Mask. This takes a little discipline to be successful.

Being a side sleeper I can sympathize with you. I still have a leakage issue but at least my AHI is low and according to my Dr. that is acceptable. So... may I suggest you read my "Perfect Fit Article" as it may offer you some valuable insight. It is being used by The VA and a private Dr. to assist patients, so there must be one or two good things about it.

Blocked sinuses. I suffer from that very same issue and found that using a "Neti Pot" helps with that issue. I tend to do two rinses. Fist one is as hot as I can take it. Heat expands! Followed by a much colder one. Cold contracts! Sort of the same principle as sitting in a sauna and then jumping into cold water. When finished, my sinuses are open. Works for me! But keep in mind we are all different, not everything works for everybody. On those occasions when I need a little extra - I use one shot of Afrin up each nostril. I know - I know - I have gotten my butt chewed by my Dr. for using that stuff but there are times when I need that boost. Boy - sound like a junkie, but I rarely use that stuff.

You have got to find what works for you and trial and error using our information (suggestions / ideas) can/may help.

Hang in there it will get better - there is light at the end of this tunnel!
How To Get The Perfect Mask Fit

How important is Quality Sleep to your heart

What The Mind Can Conceive and Believe - The Body Will Achieve

Positive Attitude = Positive Results / Negative Attitude = Negative Results
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Sorry. All I've done is whine!

You are not whining - we have all been there and done our share. You are among friends here. We listen and we will try to help. So please, keep an whining - we will keep listening until you get it right!!!

How To Get The Perfect Mask Fit

How important is Quality Sleep to your heart

What The Mind Can Conceive and Believe - The Body Will Achieve

Positive Attitude = Positive Results / Negative Attitude = Negative Results
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Your machine sounds like a 550 or 560. Take the humidifier tank out and turn the machine over. You should see a set of numbers. There is one set that starts with either PS or ref. that is the model number. Let us know what it is.

I have heard a lot of complaints about leaks with the Sleepweaver masks leaking.
I personally tried the FX and could not get it to stop leaking. Finding the right mask is by far the biggest problem us PAPer's have.
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