Baptist Health: Harneet Kaur Walia, MD, medical director of sleep medicine at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, reviews the ways that patients can adapt to CPAP therapy.
For some people, the CPAP causes a sensation of suffocation or claustrophobia, difficulty exhaling, sinus discomfort or mouth dryness. Any difficulties should be addressed with a physician, since many problems can be resolved by changing masks, adjusting the CPAP’s pressure setting, adding a chin strap, or with other strategies, Dr. Walia says.
Nasal congestion, for example, can be treated with antihistamines or topical corticosteroids, and nasal dryness can be addressed with topical saline sprays or humidification. If the mask is causing skin irritation, you may wish to consider mask liners.
Sometimes CPAP use may cause the feeling of air in the stomach. You can have your pressure checked and adjusted, and over-the-counter antigas medications can be beneficial. Sometimes, Bilevel positive airway pressure therapy is needed.
If you’re ready to become reacquainted with your CPAP, take the time to find the right mask with a proper fit. The main type of masks — full-face, nasal mask, nasal pillow and hybrid masks — are best-suited for different situations. Just because one type doesn’t suit you, it doesn’t mean one of the others won’t be a good fit.