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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #1
Any one on MTF have any tips on getting use to using a CPAP and wearing a mask at night?

Just got a CPAP machine a week ago and having a real hard time getting use to the pressure in the mask and in my nose and mouth.
Base pressure set to 7 cm H20 up to max of 20 cm H20 when needed.

The 7 seems too high to me. Starts out at 4 then ramps up to 7 over a 5 min period.
I seem to be able to handle the 4, but the 7 seems to be too much pressure to me. Makes my breathing rate speed up it seems to me.
I can only go an hour or so before I need to shut it down and take a break.

Do I need to go back to the Dr. and see if they will lower it? Or does a person get use to it in time?

Anyone else need that high of a pressure when you sleep?

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Going to bed now but sure I will be up in an hour or 2.
 

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Did you do a sleep test? With mine the CPAP provider preset it to sleep test recommendations. You may want to discuss settings with your doctor or equipment provider. Yes it will take some getting use to. Being tethered to a hose and leaking mask can be a pain in the butt. If your mask is leaking get it fixed. Hope you get the problem corrected.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #3
Yes did a sleep test. Dr gave orders for the settings. Mask is new and I have it tightened. Not leaking. Mask leak test shows a good seal.

But always feel like I can not get a good deep breath. That is why I am thinking the pressure is too high.
I can only put up with it for so long and I end up panicking taking mask off to get relief.

One would think with a good supply of air being forced to your nose and mouth it would not be a problem to take a deep breath. But it sure is for me.

Thanks for the reply. What is your normal pressure setting?
 

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Its set at 6. My mask only covers my nose. I use to get air release when opening my mouth but it doesn't happen and more. Been on it for 2 years. I have never tried a full mask. Maybe you need a chin strap if you are sleeping with your mouth open. I could see where that could be a problem.


I am surprised they sent you home with equipment and such poor sleep quality.
 

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If your doctor recommended the settings then give it a chance first, there is definitely a "getting adjusted to" period, I adapted quickly but my wife didn't. I have been on a ResMed AirSense 10 CPAP machine w/ AirFit P10 nose pillows for almost 3 years and pressure also starts @ 4 then ramps to 7. I was a lot more comfortable using nose pillows rather than any mask but they started irritating unless I lightly lubricated them with lip balm so recently started using a new Philip's Respironics Dream Wear system which has a slit instead of pillows. The air hose now sits on top of my head rather than at my face like the P10 did so I don't fight the hose as often when turning to my side. The jury is still out on that gizmo because it seams more constricting and I may go back to the pillows. My wife only recently started using a different brand BiPAP machine and it ramps up to 15 iirc, she also wears a chin strap where I did not require one. I suggest just to give it a little more time before contacting your doctor and you also may want to talk to your sleep center techs to discuss other tips to help you settle in. Just a thought, good luck.
 

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Been using one for a couple years, did a "take the test, sweetie" and now my sweetie has one.

If it ain't working, tell your doctor. He/she wants you to use it because...it could save your life.
 

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I'm on my second machine. I had my first one for 10 years before it crapped out. The new ones are much nicer. I use nose pillows and a chinstrap to keep my mouth closed. It took a while to get used to the first one but now I don't even take a nap without it. I find I feel more rested and can even think clearer.
 

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Red Plaid is Timeless
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20 seems really high. I'm about 8. I've learned how to program my machines (several over about 10 years) and adjust them until they seem right. I can feel when I'm exhaling against about the right pressure. I also don't ramp up. I take a shower right before going to bed and my heart and breathing rate is up a bit when I climb into bed. The ramp program leaves me slightly and irritatingly gasping for air until I've acclimated to laying down. I use a nosepiece mask but use a full face mask when I have a cold and my nose is restricted.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Meant to pop in here first thing this morning. Clothes dryer was squealing after breakfast and I spent the day taking that all apart and lubeing bearings. It made it 2 loads then failed again with a burning rubber smell. Time for a new dryer.

I am using a ResMed AirSense 10 Autoset CPAP machine. If I understand it, the autoset means it is suppose to sense your breathing pattern and match to it. To me it seems to be trying to increase my breathing rate. Takes a long time for me to fall asleep.

At first I tried a nasal pillow mask that fits under your nose. Headset had 2 pillows that bumped up against my nostrils. Had 2 tubes that ran up the sides of my face and the hose connection was on top of my head.(That was a plus) Had straps that connected to the 2 tubes, went around the back of my head, and held it in place.

With that on when I needed a deep breath I could not seem to get enough air through my nose, I'd open my mouth to breath in and the air pressure would rush out. Did not allow me to breath in through my mouth at all. Could only take about 15 to 20 min of fighting that, then I'd panic and rip the headset off.

So I switched over to a mask that covers nose and mouth, with hose connection out the front of the mask.
If I feel the need to breath deep I can breath in through my mouth. But still always feel like I can not get a good deep breath when the pressure is on. Then I panic and take the mask off.
Clostriphobia sets in and I fear putting the mask back on.

Also what I am running into now is I show about 17 - 20 events an hour.
Each event calls for the air pressure to go up. When the air pressure goes up, I wake up. So I wake up every 2 or 3 minutes. After awhile of that, I pack it in and take the mask off, usually after having it on for only an hour or less. Maybe I get it back on when I wake up later and make another go of it.
Once I kept it on for an hour and 45 min, during a nap in the day time. Otherwise an hour is about all I can take.

Not sure how a person gets any sleep if the machine wakes them up every 2 to 3 min.

As far as the sleep center Dr. I left 2 msg last week, just to see what he had to say. No call back.
Tech at the medical equipment place keeps telling me "You will get use to it". But how?
Maybe I will but seems impossible at this point.

Thebeerman: Thanks for the reply

Dad0850: I am increasing ramp up time to 20 min. See if that lets me get into a deeper sleep before the higher pressure starts.

Grandpajay : Between 20 and 30 events per hour they refer to as medium level.
I sit quietly for a few min before putting the mask on. Let my breathing rate come down a bit.

Still having to sleep in the recliner. If I try laying down my nose stuffs up which adds to the problem.
I go to bed with my wife, then get up in an hour or so and go out to the chair.

Thanks for all the responses. Seems some people do get use to it. Maybe there is hope for me to get use to it too.
 

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Great string.

I also have a CPAP that I'm "trying to use.
Not much success yet. So far only tried test breathing.

One thing I noticed was I felt like I was bloated when I had it on. I kept belching air for a couple hours after taking it off.
If this normal?
And no, I haven't done a sleep test, the only way I'd ever be able to sleep with someone watching is if they drugged me and put me out.

And yes, my nose also plugs up, the down nostril depending on what side I'm laying on. Takes any where from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hrs.

So I also spend a lot of time sleeping in the "chair" (recliner)
And I've been wearing Nose Strips for over 30 years, no breathing w/o them.

Dan

Still having to sleep in the recliner. If I try laying down my nose stuffs up which adds to the problem.
I go to bed with my wife, then get up in an hour or so and go out to the chair.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #12
Great string.

One thing I noticed was I felt like I was bloated when I had it on. I kept belching air for a couple hours after taking it off.
If this normal?
And no, I haven't done a sleep test, the only way I'd ever be able to sleep with someone watching is if they drugged me and put me out.

Dan
Well I did not last too long in bed tonight. Head stuffed up as soon as I laid down.

Bloating is swallowing air. Read about it here. https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-causes-and-treatment-of-cpap-gas-3015008

Camera on me while I slept did not bother me. Got there tired. Took 45 min. to get all the sensors hooked up. I laid down, fiddled with the sensors in my nose for a bit, and went right to sleep.

That is what I thought getting on a CPAP was going to be like. Fiddle with it a little, then fall asleep and sleep all night. Wake up and feel great. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #13
Didn't even make an hour last night.
Got sleepy, got all settled in, mask was working. I thought all was well. And fell asleep right away. Then panic hit me, woke up and I had to take the mask off.
Glanced at the clock and thought I had made it 2 hours. Checked the machine this morning and it was only 7 minutes. Clock must have been at 12 o something and I saw 2 o something.

I don't get how people get use to a CPAP and mask, I really don't.
 

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I've been using one for about 7 years. I use a ResMed S9 with the nasal pillows and the max pressure set for 12. My Blood oxygen level was dropping to about 70% when I wasn't using it so figuring it out was a matter of life or death.
I can't speak for how your mask and machine work but on my machine, it provides constant positive pressure and if I am not breathing it vents through the tube just before the nasal pillow. The key is that you breathe only through your nose. When I picked up my machine, they determined the type of mask they gave you based on the pressure the machine was set to. My recollection was that the cut off for a nasal pillow was about 14-15. Anything above that required a full-face mask. From the descriptions of the problems above it sure sounds like the issues are mask related.
I hope you can figure this out. 10 years ago, I ignored the results of a sleep study and three years later I had a stroke. I also watched my Mom suffer the last year she was around from CHF which was the result of many decades of ignoring sleep apnea.
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #15
I am having a hard time with max pressure to ramp up to 7. Can not imagine if it was set to 12. You are a better man than I wheely_boy.
Did not even try CPAP mask last night. Just the thought of putting it on got me all on edge.

Calling sleep Dr. today to see if they can help or have any ideas. Support from them has been little to none so far.
Just got a letter from them this Saturday informing me I have sleep apnea and need to get a CPAP machine. Seems they are a little late to me.
That did not give me much confidence in the Dr. or the organization.

I am going to push them hard today. See if I can get in to see them or at least do a phone call to talk about it today.
I know I need this to work. Life can not go on the way it has so far.
 

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JP,
I have been a CPAP user going on 5-6 years now, this after it was found that I was slowly killing myself each and every night as I lay in bed thinking I was getting a full nights sleep. Every day I was tired, lethargic, and just every day felt worse. The end came during a business trip to Colorado. I made it home, then was hauled out in an ambulance and hospitalized for almost a week.

first and foremost. it's important for you to understand that the CPAP system may be unusual to you at first, but you will adjust to it, and you will start to feel better. And not to mention that using the mask is far better than kidney failure, heart failure, falling asleep behind the wheel of a car, etc.. Work with your doctor and CPAP provider. Ask to try a new mask, adjust the fit and location, and work with the issues. Just don't give up on something that can change your life for the better. PITA? Yes, at times, but worth the effort to get it right.

Another consideration is that your doctor will be sending reports to the insurance company. If they see little or no usage your insurance company will NOT pay for the machine or replacement masks and parts.

My machine is set to 14 and I have no issues. However, I took the time to work with problems and the doctor. One of the biggest issues you'll find is leakage. Many people think the more you tighten the headgear, the less the mask will leak. This is seldom the case.

Another issue is the mask type. Not every mask will work for every person, and the provider will tend to push that weeks special on you. If it doesn't fit, you must not commit. (Pun intended.)

I have found a mask that I like very much. It's considered a full face mask, which I have to use because of nasal passage issues. The mask is actually lighter and comes up to under your nose. I had one issue with leakage and fixed it with Teflon plumbers tape. No leaks and a full nights sleep. Take a look at it at the link below. And best of luck.

Philips Amara View CPAP Mask - Sleep Review
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #17
oldgibsonguy,

Thanks for the post. Helps a lot.
I know if I do not use it 70% of the time, insurance will not pay for it, and I will have to.
Issue for me is I only have until Friday to return it with no charge if I can not make it work.
Worried if I did not get it worked out, at least some what, I'd get stuck with it. (I liked the pun. :thanku: Needed a laugh today.)

I also know I have to do this some how. Or I die sooner rather than later. Simple as that. (And if I die too soon my wife would kill me.)

I left 3 phone msg for the Dr today saying I needed to meet with her, today or tomorrow, or at least get a phone call to discuss the problems with the CPAP machine. I would prefer to talk in person.

I wanted answers and wanted to understand why it was not working for me.
Missed one appointment and did not run my errands while I waited.

By 4:00 I was pretty upset and spitting tacks. Then I finally got a call from her office telling me the Dr. had dialed into the CPAP and made some changes and once again "Just use it and you will get use to it." I hate to admit it, but I lost my temper at first. but stopped after just a few words. None of them nasty. Not the fault of the girl that called me. Apologized and told her I was just so frustrated and so tired of hearing that same line over and over.
I wanted to talk to the Dr. and and find out HOW I am suppose to get use to it. What could we do to make it work for me? Maybe have her answer some other questions. How was she suppose to change anything when we did not talk and she did not know what the problems were? Change what? Based on what? Why? What will it do?

Remember I said the machine started at a pressure of 4, then ramped up to 7? To me 4 was too much and 7 blew me out. I wanted to see if the pressure could be lowered for a week or so. Then brought back up.

I decided to try the machine after supper and watch TV for awhile with it on. Well I found the Dr. set the pressure to 10, and disabled the ramp up timer. Lost my temper again. If 7 was too much, what will I do at 10? Wanted to pack it up and go shove it some where.

Decided to try it anyway. Maybe they know more than I do about the whole thing. Ya think?

To my chagrin I put it on, turned it on, and it went pretty good for 45 min. Almost fell asleep twice. (Wish we had a highly embarrassed icon) Waited an hour and tried it again. Went well.

Now to try it with me in the chair and see how long I last tonight. I have great hopes and expectations.

Really hope this goes well tonight. Still wish she would have called me. Really feel like I have no support line with this outfit.
Thinking if that is the support I get, maybe change Dr. if I can.
But, what do they care, they have my insurance account and will make their money no matter what happens at my end.

I do appreciate all the comments. At least I have the support of the fine folks here at MTF.

Will fill you in on how it goes tonight.
 

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I should have mentioned the ramp time. As I had stated, the biggest problem will be leaks. The hose to mask coupling can be fixed with a wrap of Teflon tape, but the seal around the mask is another story. When I first read your post I had thought 7 was very low for the initial setting. I had actually wondered how that could be helpful at all, but I'm no doctor, so who's to say.

The mask is dependent on air pressure to seal, and the straps are more of a guiding force, holding the mask where it's supposed to be, but not really creating the seal. With the pressure down around 7, and combined with the ramp time, you must have been out of your mind trying to get the mask to seal. You may also have felt unable to breath as a result.

I found out right away that the ramp up period was just a giant PITA, so much so that I think I've tried the setting once in all this time. No ramp means instant seal, quick mask wiggle, then sleep. I know you'll get used to it, and please don't give up. Good luck!!
 

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Minding my P's & Q's
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Discussion Starter #19
The mask is dependent on air pressure to seal, and the straps are more of a guiding force, holding the mask where it's supposed to be, but not really creating the seal. With the pressure down around 7, and combined with the ramp time, you must have been out of your mind trying to get the mask to seal. You may also have felt unable to breath as a result.
oldgibsonguy,
Did not really have a problem with sealing, or at least I did not think so. Willing to consider anything, and any ideas that may help.
Got the hang of adjusting this face mask pretty quick. But did feel often I could not breath right. Could not take a deep breath. Which made no sense to me since there is a constant air supply, which felt like it should be more than I needed. Last night I still had to take deep breaths every couple of min while falling asleep, but I was easily able to when needed, so did not feel the panic of not being able to breath.
____________________


Made it 2 hours last night. From 1:00AM to 3:00AM. Did not panic, just decided I needed to sleep with out being woke up, big improvement.
Still have a problem with the mask "pulsing" each time. The edges of the mask bellow out to seal and it still feels weird to have that happening.

I fell asleep fairly quickly compared to other nights. Was able to take a deep breath when I needed to. Never felt trapped as I did before.
It was not as easy to put up with as earlier in the evening when I tried it. Earlier I had the TV to distract me from the mask, and would almost forget I had it on.
Now I am thinking I will wear it more during the day to get my mind use to it since that seemed to help.
Problem I had was each time I had an event, the pulsing and the shot of higher pressure woke me up.
So for about the last hour (Or so it seemed) I woke up every 2 to 3 min. Finally took it off, checked the clock to see how long it had been, and slept til 7:30AM. But not good sleep. Still feel tired. Sure I will need a nap later. Will wear mask when I do.
 

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I've been using my CPAP machine for about 2 years now. I HAVE to use it as I was waking up 17-20 times an hour according to the 2 sleep studies I did. It was affecting my performance at work as I was a walking Zombie, falling asleep at my desk. I have a full beard, so at the 2ND sleep study, they winched the mask up super tight to prevent leakage (so they told me). I slept for about 4 hours and woke up with my nose so sore, I had to stop the study for the night. I couldn't let my eyeglasses touch my nose for 4 days because it was so bruised. But I didn't quit and went to the med supply house to be fitted with my machine. They set me up with a larger mask of a different design. He loosely (compared to before) fitted it up and we tested out the machine. As soon as it started, the flexible seal worked against my face and no leakage. I mentioned how tight they winched it on at the sleep center and he laughed and said that I wasn't going deep sea diving. My machine was set at a fixed value of 7cm. The first couple of months, I struggled to get my necessary 4 hours in each night so my insurance would pay for it. My mask has a bypass valve that if I'm huffing and puffing when I go to bed, it allows the excess air to escape the mask so I don't get overloaded. My saving grace was taking it on my vacation to the Philippines. The village we stayed in often burns large piles of trash. With my damaged lungs, I cannot tolerate smoke. so I would go to my room and use the CPAP machine as an air filter, which worked great. I would sit or lay down and read a book until the smoke cleared. What that meant was I was suddenly using the machine 10-15 hours on some days. I also found out that if the electricity fails, I won't suffocate because there is a check valve that allows fresh air in with every breath and makes the exhaled air go out the usual vents in the mask. My wife LOVES the machine because I no longer snore, and I used to snore like an old grumpy bear.


So what I have learned in my 2 years of use is to set the mask as loose as possible that it still seals. You are not diving on a shipwreck. I use it all night now, up to 10 hours some nights. I wake up feeling bright and alert and able to do stuff. No more head hitting the desk in the afternoon. I have also learned that many CPAP supplies are available from Walmart.com cheaper WITHOUT my insurance than I can buy them from my med supply house WITH my insurance. Mine is remotely reprogrammable and my lung doc reset the machine to start at 7cm and slowly ramp up if needed to a max of 15 cm at my request. The first year was okay, but as my lungs got worse, I started waking up at night feeling like I was stopping breathing, like before I got the machine. So I asked my doc what I needed to change. It now ramps up and back down while I'm sleeping as needed. I use it for my occasional afternoon nap and pretty much every time I go to sleep. Now, if I'm waking up in the middle of the night, it isn't because I'm having breathing problems, it is to take a leak because my kidneys aren't doing so great either. It's SOOOOOOOO much fun getting old and decrepit. So I'm going to repeat what your doc has been saying, keep at it and you will get used to it. I got used to wires in my mouth straightening my teeth as a teenager. I got used to sleeping with various casts on assorted arms and legs. I got used to sleeping with someone next to me in the bed. I got used to sleeping with a rigid as in HARD neck collar for 30 days when I almost broke my neck. It just takes time and patience and perseverance. The alternative is dying of a heart attack in your sleep, a pretty good incentive to keep at it.
 
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