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Trouble with multiple masks
Trouble with multiple masks
Hello, I've been using CPAP for over a year now and had trouble with multiple masks, with one in particular having a weird issue that I wondered if anybody here has some insight into.

The Dreamwear nasal mask [or pillow?] has been the one I've used the most because it's low-profile and the head straps squeeze you less, but whenever I wear this mask I start to get very tense and have a physical sensation like I have a lot of anxiety. I can't really tell exactly why this is, because it only happens with this one mask. I have a hunch that maybe it's either not venting out enough CO2 when I'm exhaling because the two vent holes are pretty small and I'm using BiPAP, so maybe I breathe in too much of the CO2 again and that causes it. Or, it might be because the air pressure feels a lot higher when trying to breathe out in the first place since it's all concentrated in one little area and maybe I'm either not breathing out enough or, as my second theory goes, the pressure's causing me to want to breathe too quickly?

Wondering if anyone else has experienced something like this and if there's any solution with pressure levels or settings that might fix it. I've messed around with raising pressures for both EPAP and regular but haven't really found anything satisfying. I'm not allowed to try and get a new mask for another three months or so, so I want to see if there's some solution other than relying on sleeping pills just to make me able to get through the tension that makes it really hard to fall asleep and has me waking up feeling like I was contorting all night.

(I've also tried the Quatra full-face mask and the F30i - these don't have this problem for me but they have a lot of trouble sealing around my mouth without being pulled so tight that it pulls on my neck way too hard and drives me crazy, which is why they suggested I try the Dreamwear)
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RE: Trouble with multiple masks
Having an OSCAR report to look at would give data on whether there is an issue with the mask. Highly doubtful there is a CO2 design problem given it is one of the more popular masks. 

One mistake almost everyone makes with masks is to tighten them far too much. The best explanation I’ve heard is the mask needs to be allowed to expand the silicon to seal against the face (or nose for pillows), not using your face to seal against the silicon. Basically position the mask loosely against your face, turn on pressure, allow the silicon to expand, then tighten just enough to stop the leaks. Get into your normal sleep position and fine-tune it from there.

Give the mask primer linked below a read as it may contain info to help. Also look for fitting videos on YouTube that may be helpful.

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RE: Trouble with multiple masks
Thank you for the detailed info and links. I'll try the mask fitting guide for the full-face to see if I can make that more comfortable and I'll look into that OSCAR software as well for the Dreamwear.
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RE: Trouble with multiple masks
I have a friend who asked me about a similar mask anxiety problem, and I had no clue.
A month later, he told me that his psychiatrist suggested it was a "conditioned response" that triggered a feeling of anxiety and was related to his claustrophobia and fear of suffocation. It appears to be a commonly reported side effect of certain CPAP masks.

Wishing you the best -- Steve
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
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RE: Trouble with multiple masks
You could consider some other pillows style masks. ResMed P10 is still popular. Maybe the very minimal Bleep masks. I've not tried either, however they tend to be pretty minimalist.

As for any full face masks being adjusted so tight it hurts your neck, just say no. It indicates the mask isn't working for you either in design, size, shape or some other major failing. These full face masks do require some amount of strap tension; going to the point of discomfort and pain, no. IMO chalk any that needs that much tension as not for you. If you feel you must go full face, look at some of the Fisher & Paykel models. I've used a Simplus and Vitera, they need low tension to sort of float over your face, giving the cushion room to inflate into a seal is how these F&P need to be adjusted.
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RE: Trouble with multiple masks
jlpool welcome to the forum!

I used that mask for a long time. The Resmed P30 and N30 masks are similar. P is a pillows mask. N is a nasal mask. I modify them with the drop fitting on the back of the Respironics mask. It seems to stabilize my masks and improve the seal.

You've come to the right place. My care improved dramatically when I installed OSCAR on my computer and downloaded the SD card in my ResMed machine. It gave me the freedom I needed to manage my own care. If you choosed toparticipate I think you'll find the results beneficial.

The help from skilled people here is amazing.
compliant for 35 years /// Still trying!

I'm just a cpap user like you. I don't give medical advice. Seek the advice of a physician before seeking treatment for medical conditions including sleep apnea. Sleep-well


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