Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Is your humidity set correctly? The most common fix for dryness is increasing your humidity or temperature of your heated tubing (if applicable). You may notice that you need an increase in humidity when the seasons change. (Ex. winter is a lot drier where as in summer there is a lot more humidity in the air.)
Are sleeping with your mouth open? If an increase in humidity does not alleviate the dryness, it may be due to the fact that you are wearing a nasal or nasal pillow mask and mouth breathing while you are asleep. Please call us to discuss other options like a full face mask or chinstrap.
Is your mask over 6 months old? If your mask is over 6 months old it becomes more difficult to maintain a proper seal. When air leaks from the mask, the moisture goes with it.
Are you taking any medication? A dry mouth can also be a side effect of certain medications. People on antidepressants, heart medication and people with diabetes (type 1 and 2) may experience an increase in dryness. There are mouth sprays available to help with this.
Is your tubing in good condition? Check for any holes/leaks in the tubing. Any leaks in your tubing could cause you to lose your humidity.
Seasonal changes may cause this as many of the machines have ambient temperature sensors to detect what temperature the room is.
If you are opening your mouth with a nasal mask or if your mask is leaking excessively this can cause you to go through a lot more water as well. Remember masks should be replaced every 6 months.
It is possible that your machine is not using any water because the climate in your room is already humid. If the air going into your PAP machine already contains humidity it will not be able to pick up more water once it passes over the water chamber. If you are not feeling dry or uncomfortable, then no need to worry.
Using the warm up feature (if applicable) on your PAP device will start the heater plate prior to using your therapy. This will ensure that the humidifier is already warm and ready for use.
It could also be a malfunction with your humidifier. You can test this by letting your machine run and then carefully touching the heater plate to feel for warmth. If your device has the warm up feature you can use this to test the heater plate as well. Also note that most machines will notify you if there is a malfunction with the heater plate. A notice will come up on the screen. If this is the case please contact our office for troubleshooting.
Are you cleaning your mask properly? Mask cushions should be cleaned daily to remove any oil/dirt or residue from our faces. A buildup of this “organic matter” can cause red/dry/itchy skin creating sores.
If your mask is over 6 months old it is most likely worn out and no longer sanitary which can cause redness and sores to appear. Most insurance companies will cover a new mask every 6 months, and we will help you look into this.
We carry a product called RemZzz’s that are very thin, cotton mask liners that keep the mask from directly touching your face but also help maintain a good mask seal. Please stop by to try a couple samples to see if this helps alleviate the irritation. We sell RemZzz’s in a 30 day supply.
Do you have sensitivity to silicone? We carry mask options for people with sensitivity to silicone. Call our office to try a different mask.
If you are experiencing lines on your face when waking up or forehead dents it is most likely caused from over tightening your mask. Loosen the straps as you should not have to over tighten to prevent leaks. If your mask is not sealing properly it either is not the correct size or needs to be replaced. There are also newer masks available that do not have forehead supports as well as different mask accessories to work with your mask. These include mask liners or cozy pads to go over mask straps.
If you are getting water in your tubing, try increasing the temperature of the heated tubing (if applicable) to reduce rain out. If you don’t have a heated tubing call us to see if your machine is compatible. If your machine is not compatible with a heated tubing, investing in a tubing cover will insulate your tubing and decrease condensation within the tube. You can also try turning down your humidity (especially with the season changes).
Is your pressure setting correct? If your pressure setting is too high air may find its way to your stomach or if your pressure is too low and not adequate enough to resolve your apnea events you may gulp air in quickly which can force air into your stomach. Please contact our office to discuss potential adjustments to correct this. We may be able to adjust your EPR/pressure relief setting to help. You may also have a pressure range on your prescription and we can try increasing or decreasing your pressure setting. Aging, medication and weight gain/loss can play a role in pressure settings. If you have not had a sleep study in the last 2 years, contact your family Doctor to send a referral to your local Sleep Lab to book a consultation with sleep Doctor or sleep study.
Is your sleep position an issue? If you are sleeping with your chin tucked and neck flexed it may be easier for the air to travel into your stomach. Try sleeping in a different position; you may also want to invest in a PAP pillow to help position your head properly. We always have PAP pillows in stock, stop by today to see some of the different options available. Sleeping on your back may cause a “kink” in the esophagus that may allow the passage of air into the stomach. You can try sleeping on an incline. This can be achieved by inclining your mattress or adding more pillows under your head and upper back/neck. Most people find it helpful to sleep with the head up at an angle of about 30-40 degree.
Do you have a cold? If you have nasal congestion from a cold, flu or allergies you may not be able to receive the proper amount of pressure you need and you may gulp air through your mouth forcing air into your stomach.
Are you sleeping with your mouth open? Mouth breathing with a nasal mask can also cause gasping or gulping air that may force air into the stomach instead of your lungs. In this case trying a full face mask or chinstrap may resolve the problem.
Excess mucus is the body’s way of compensating for a dry nasal passage. When the PAP air is too dry your body will try and produce more mucus to keep it moist. You can increase your humidity to help with this.
Are your supplies compromised? Replacing your supplies on at least a 6 month basis is important in preventing bacteria growth that may cause reoccurring illnesses. Cleaning your PAP mask daily and your tubing and water chamber weekly is recommended.
Is your humidity setting sufficient? If you have been following these recommendations and are still having this problem increasing your humidity setting may help. Contact our office if you need assistance with this.
Research has indicated that some CPAP users may have a greater difficulty in coughing up mucus from the lungs, which increases pulmonary aspiration. However, it has been confirmed that a CPAP machine, tubing and mask that are not well maintained can lead to bronchitis, respiratory and sinus infections as well as pneumonia. Please follow the manufacture recommended cleaning and replacement schedule for all of your CPAP supplies. If you are susceptible to any of the above reoccurring respiratory illnesses you may consider investing in a SOCLEAN sanitizing device. This will ensure the elimination of 99.9% of germs, viruses, molds and bacteria that can harbour in your PAP equipment.
If you have a cold you may find it more difficult to use the therapy. A full face mask may help as it covers both your nose and mouth so you can continue to use your therapy. Make sure you clean your equipment frequently to ensure no reoccurring illnesses. Increasing your humidity may help decrease congestion.
It is a common misconception that PAP will help everyone fall and stay asleep. Some people have to work hard at becoming comfortable with therapy. Our recommendation is to make sure you are trying every night. If there is a point where you have to remove the mask, take it off and try again the next day. You can also use the PAP machine in the daytime while you are napping/reading or watching TV. This is a good way for your body to become comfortable with wearing the equipment. Please contact our office as we may be able to adjust your ramp or EPR/pressure relief to help.
Some people may feel claustrophobic when using PAP therapy; in this case trying a nasal or nasal pillow mask may help. It is also important to ensure the machine pressure is running prior to putting on the mask as having a mask on without airflow can trigger a panic attack. Practicing with the PAP machine during the day could also help with adjustment to PAP therapy. Please contact our office if you are experiencing claustrophobia we may be able to adjust your ramp or EPR setting to assist you in becoming comfortable with therapy.
Taking off your mask subconsciously can be a sign that your pressure is not adequate. During sleep if our body is not getting enough air our brain will tell us to remove the mask to compensate. It could also be the opposite; if the pressure is too strong you could become uncomfortable and remove the mask. Contact our office to see if we can adjust your EPR/pressure relief setting to help.
Other potential reasons for waking up without the mask on could be mask discomfort or the air is too dry. You can increase the humidity to make the air more comfortable to breathe. If your mask is uncomfortable contact our office in regards to trying a different mask.
Over time you will become accustom to CPAP therapy. Some people can get very comfortable with their pressure to the point where they feel their machine is not blowing properly or their pressure is not high enough. In this case please call our office so we can assure your equipment is set properly. We can also contact the sleep lab on your behalf as a pressure increase may be required.
PAP was great at first but now I am no longer feeling the benefits and my symptoms have returned. Why could this be?
Is your mask over 6 months old? Masks wear out over time and can start to deteriorate from facial oils; even with proper hygiene and regular cleaning. If your mask has lost its seal you may not be getting the proper pressure you require for your therapy. When the mask begins to leak we tend to overtighten the headgear to correct this. Over tightening the headgear is not recommended to alleviate leaks as it will collapse the cushion and potentially cause more leakage. Most insurance companies will cover the entire or partial cost of a new mask every 6 months. We will help you look into your specific coverage depending on your insurance plan policies.
Is your pressure set correctly? Call our office and we can confirm to make sure your settings are correct and the machine is blowing your prescribed pressure.
Do you require a change in your pressure setting? Weight gain/loss and/or any changes in medical history can be an indication that the pressure you were originally prescribed is no longer correct for you. Please call our office to find out if you have a pressure range on your prescription. If you have an upgraded PAP unit we can do a download off of your machine to get very detailed information about your therapy that will indicate if a pressure change is necessary.
Has it been over 2 years since you have been for a sleep study? You are eligible to go for a sleep study every 2 years if you are having issues, this is covered by OHIP. If you require an updated sleep study please call our office as we can help you with the referral process.
Headaches can be caused by a congested or plugged sinuses. If sinus pressure headaches occur you could try increasing the humidity to help alleviate congestion or try a full face mask to take some of the pressure off the nasal airway. Also, headaches can be a result of your pressure being too high. Please contact our office to discuss potential adjustments to correct this; we may be able to adjust your EPR/pressure relief setting to help.
PAP can cause a change in pressure in the inner ear, similar to the feeling you may get when you try to swallow on an airplane or plug your nose and blow. If this problem persists please contact our office to discuss potential adjustments to correct this; we may be able to adjust your EPR/pressure relief setting to help, or we can relay your concerns to your sleep physician. You may require an adjustment in pressure.
Eye dryness can be caused by a poor mask fit around the bridge of your nose. If your mask is leaking and blowing air towards your eyes it can cause them to dry out. Try adjusting your mask and if the problem persists contact our office to discuss a mask adjustment. It may be time to replace your mask or mask seal.
Often waking during the night with a feeling of panic or not being able to catch your breathe is a sign that your pressure is too low. It may also be that your pressure is too high making you feel as if you cannot breathe (Ex Like walking into the wind). This could also happen if you are wearing a nasal mask and mouth breathing. In this case increasing the humidity, trying a chinstrap or switching to a full face mask may help. Please contact our office to discuss potential adjustments to correct this, we may be able to adjust your/pressure relief setting to help.
Machine noise can occur if there is a leak in the system. Ensure all connections are secure and that the water chamber is connected properly. If the noise persists check your filter. Dirty or plugged filters can cause motor noise. Filters should be replaced every 1-3 months to ensure no dust gets into the machine and plugs the motor. If the noise persists please contact our office to discuss potential adjustments to correct this; we may be able to adjust your EPR/pressure relief setting to help. Please note if your machine is over 5 years old it may be time to replace it.
The noise may also be coming from a mask leak which could be a result of the seal being incomplete. This is mostly noticed around the mouth or eye areas. Sometimes, it may be from the exhalation port. Please note that there will be a constant flow of air exiting through the exhalation port of the mask. Every mask has at least one exhalation port. This is an important aspect of your mask because it allows you to breathe out and clear any carbon dioxide from sitting in the mask. This port can be bothersome to some people. Please contact our office to discuss a mask option that has a diffuser cover for the exhalation port
Does your mask fit properly? Improperly fitting masks can make a lot of noise. If your mask is squealing or squeaking try adjusting the straps to tighten the fit. If this does not resolve the problem you may also try mask liners. If the problem persists it is likely that the mask is the incorrect style or size for your face or may need replacement. Contact our office for an adjustment.
Is there moisture in your mask or tubing? If condensation occurs in the tubing or mask it will cause noise; this can be corrected by adjusting the humidity to a lower setting, increasing the tube temperature or increasing your room temperature. Also ensure your mask and tubing is dry prior to use.
Please inspect your tubing and mask. Make sure your mask has the proper connector or elbow attached to it. If this piece is missing you will not be able to correctly attach your tubing. Also check the rubber end of your tube, if the tube is old or the rubber has stretched then it may not be tight enough to stay attached to your PAP mask. Tubes should be replaced every three to six months.
Coughing can be caused by irritation in the airway. Ensure that your humidity is set appropriately. If the air is too dry this could be causing your nasal/oral airways or lungs to become irritated which can result in coughing. Also ensure that you are properly cleaning and replacing your PAP equipment. Bacteria and molds can also cause respiratory infections that can cause coughing. Please contact our office for new supplies if your equipment is more than 6 months old.
Using PAP therapy improves your quality of sleep. You may be waking up early in the morning because your body has received a more restful sleep than it is used to. This may subside with time as your body adjusts to PAP therapy.
Changes in air pressure in the ear can cause dizziness. There is a chance that the flow from your PAP machine is traveling through your Eustachian tubes and entering into the middle ear. This change in pressure would result in the feeling of being dizzy or unbalanced. If you are experiencing any dizziness believed to be caused by your PAP machine please contact your General Practitioner to rule out ear infection or vertigo. Give our office a call so we can contact your sleep doctor in regards to potentially lowering your PAP pressure.
Most new units have an auto off feature. If your machine is shutting off throughout the night and this feature is turned on it is most likely due to an elevated mask leak. Try adjusting your mask or trialing a different style to correct the mask leak. When the mask leak is too high the machine has a hard time determining if you have taken the mask off or not and the auto off feature will turn the machine off. If this is not the case please contact our office so we can help ensure your machine is functioning correctly.
Technically you can dream at any point within your sleep cycle but the most vivid dreams happen when you reach REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement). Using PAP helps you reach and stay in REM sleep, this is likely why you are experiencing more vivid dreams.
PAP therapy should not be causing chest pain. If you are experiencing any kind of chest pain please contact your GP and seek medical assistance.
Are you new to PAP therapy? If you have answered yes to this question it is likely that you are experiencing discomfort from the muscles that help you breathe. Similar to exercise, if your chest muscles are not used to being used in a certain manor, they may ache a bit after using PAP for the first time. If you have normal/healthy lungs PAP should not cause any pain within your lungs.
Do you have an underlying lung condition? If you suffer from an underlying lung condition such asthma you may get a sensation of air trapping in your lungs post PAP therapy. Even though PAP can be used as treatment for Asthma attacks there is a chance that residual air can become trapped deep in the lungs and you may have the sensation of not being able to let it out. In this case please contact our office so we can relay these concerns to your sleep physician or contact your GP for further recommendations.
Not everybody feels the benefits of PAP therapy in the same way or at the same time. Some people take longer than others to notice a difference and in some cases you may not feel more rested from wearing your PAP, however that doesn’t mean PAP isn’t working for you. You may notice the benefits of PAP in other forms such as: lower blood pressure, lower blood glucose reading (type 2 diabetes), heightened alertness, concentration, and memory, fewer naps throughout the day, better mood/positive outlook. Continue with your PAP therapy unless otherwise indicated by a Physician.
You should be using your PAP therapy equipment every time that you are asleep, this includes when you are napping. If you are sleeping without your PAP therapy equipment, even if it is just a quick nap, your Sleep Apnea is going untreated. You should also be taking your PAP equipment with you on any vacations or trips.
Dry mouth can cause bad breath. If you are mouth breathing with a nasal PAP mask or have a poor fitting full face mask you may experience dry mouth. If this is not the case increasing your PAP humidity can help prevent dryness. If you need assistance with this issue please contact our office for suggestions.
Nose bleeds occur when the nasal passage becomes too dry. You can correct this by increasing the humidity on the machine. If the nosebleed is severe contact your family doctor.
Most new PAP machines have a power supply that automatically adjusts to the power supplies in different parts of the world without any special adjustment. Check on your unit or power supply to see the voltage listed. You will need to use the correct adapter for the electrical socket of the country you are travelling to.
Yes you can take your PAP on the airplane. A PAP machine should be taken as a carry on only and not checked as luggage. Please ask us for a copy of your prescription prior to travel so you can have this documentation for the airline if required.
Contact the airline prior to your trip to confirm their PAP policy. Also inquire if you will have access to a power supply. Not all airlines will have means for you to use your PAP machine on the plane. You may have to bring a PAP battery if you plan to use the device in flight. Our PAP batteries meet all requirements to be taken on a plane. You most likely will not be able to use your humidifier on the plane as the plane or battery will not likely provide enough wattage to run the humidifier. Also pack an extension cord as you may be a distance from the nearest electrical outlet. Be prepared to take your machine out of the bag so it can be X-rayed.
If the power goes out during sleep the machine will turn off. Please note that you will not suffocate. If wearing a nasal mask you will simply continue to breathe out of your nose or mouth. If wearing a full face mask the anti-asphyxia valve will open to allow you to breathe through the mask more comfortably. Once power is restored most PAP machines will turn back on automatically.
EPR or expiratory pressure relief (Can also be called CFlex, BIFlex) is a setting on your PAP device that helps lower the pressure on exhale. This can help make breathing out on therapy feel more comfortable. We would suggest turning on this setting if you are struggling with your pressure feeling too strong or having difficulties breathing out. This setting should be turned off if you are still snoring through your PAP mask or if you feel your pressure is not strong enough (gasping for air). If issues persist please contact our office for further suggestions.
Ramp is a setting that allows your PAP machine to start at a lower pressure than your prescription level. The ramp can be set in increments of 5 mins up to 45mins. Some machines have an auto ramp feature; where the machine determines how quickly the pressure increases based on how quickly you are falling asleep. Ramp should be turned on if you are having difficulties falling asleep at your full pressure. You can also use the ramp feature if you wake up during the night and have difficulties falling back asleep.