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Struggling...
#1
I have been using the CPAP machine for a few weeks now and I'm feeling more tired. The tried the nasal pillows for a while, but don't feel like I have a huge airflow going through my nose. They were irritating me and I was waking up to me breathing out of my mouth. I switched to the over the nose mask and that is keeping a tighter seal on me, with no leaks. I woke up this morning with a slight sore throat and my one nostril stopped up. I had been breathing through my mouth apparently. Ugh. If I am breathing through my mouth, would this explain why I'm not feeling rested? Should I try the mask that goes over both my nose and mouth? This lack of rest is causing blurry vision and anxiety. Thanks for any input. I'm ready to feel great so I can workout and knock this weight off that I gained from anxiety meds. Ugh
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#2
Hi G8tr33, welcome to the forum.

It's not at all unusual to struggle in the early phases of CPAP therapy. A lucky few people take to it immediately with no problems, but for the rest of us it's a bit of a journey. It's very common to feel worse before you feel better. Your body is learning to breathe in a whole new way, with a plastic alien strapped to your face! You may have been suffering apnea for years without knowing it, so it may take a while to feel the benefit. I know it took about two months before I was really feeling much benefit from the process. One thing to beware of is taking decisions to change parameters too quickly. It's better to change something (mask, pressure, whatever) and try it for a week or two then evaluate it. Every night is different, so you're looking for trends, not immediate change.

Getting a mask which fits without leaks - and is comfortable - is often the hardest part of the process. The great majority of people seem to prefer a simple nasal mask or nasal pillows. I can't stand either and use a full face mask, which has its own challenges. You've already given the pillows a try and they weren't suitable. With the nasal mask (and pillows) mouth-breathing can be an issue. A lot of people use a chin strap, which gently holds the mouth closed. You can improvise by using an elastic bandage loosely wound over your head and jaw - just enough pressure to stop your jaw dropping open, but not enough to stop you talking or taking a breath through your mouth if you need to. Some people have also trained themselves to use their tongue to seal their mouth so that air can't get through even if the mouth is open. There are quite a few threads on this forum about chin straps and improvisations.

A lot of people don't like the full face mask (FFM) because it makes them claustrophobic. They are also more prone to leaks than the nasal type. In my case I'm very comfortable with an FFM (Resmed Quattro Air) but the leaks are problematic. I find I can breathe through my nose as normal, but if I get a slightly blocked nose I can just open my mouth and keep on breathing.

A problem with all masks is that everybody has a different face. You might be full-faced, skinny, high cheekbones, big nose, small nose, beard / moustache - whatever. For this reason, there is a huge range of masks on the market, and most people go through several before they find the one that's right for them.

Hope this helps - good luck!
DeepBreathing
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#3
G8tr33, I agree with Deepbreathing, if your insurance will allow it I would try thr FFM, I also use the Quattro Air now and it is smaller in size to larger models like the Mirage Quattro that I used to use. Make sure you use mask liners and have the hose coming from above your head.
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#4
Hi G8tr33,
Don't be shy about asking to try different masks as this is the hardest part of CPAP therapy.
If you wanted to stick with the nasal mask, you could try a chinstrap and see if that helps.
trish6hundred
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#5
For me, it was worth trying a chin strap rather than using a FFM which is what I was given from the very beginning almost 3 years ago and it was not a good experience. I finally got a good mask and a chin strap that is working so far thanks to the sleep lab (my former DME didn't do a very good job helping me with my issues with the FFM). I have a new DME now but it seems I have traded one set of problems for another set. I am looking at online providers through my insurance company now as I am tired of spending hours correcting things that have been done incorrectly for the past 4 months with this DME.
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#6
For me if the pressure is too low I end up mouth breathing and feel like I'm suffocating. For me keeping the low range closer to the 95% range is better than a wide range.
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#7
It would definitely explain it. The only way to find out is to try a chinstrap or full face mask and see if that improves your therapy. For me, it really helped.
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