CPAP therapy is all about BALANCE!!! You need to balance the therapy (pressure levels) which help manage your apnea with COMFORT!!! CPAP is not black in white in fact there are many shades of grey! Most Doctors and ‘specialists’ will focus on one thing! Controlling you Sleep Apnea. It’s important to note that most of these ‘specialist’ have never used a CPAP before! They have no idea about the difficulties you all face when wearing the cpap mask of a night so you need to take control of your therapy and find the BALANCE! The happy medium where you apnea is managed but you’re also COMFORTABLE and HAPPY using the therapy of a night!
First Mask Seal Tip
The NO.1 enemy of a good CPAP MASK SEAL is pressure!It’s therefore crucial that you FINE TUNE your cpap pressure levels so that they are working at the LOWEST PRESSURE POSSIBLE whilst still MANAGING your apnea. There are 2 things we need to learn in order to FINE TUNE our therapy. NO.1 We need to learn how to access and change our pressure levels. The manufacturers will hide this away from you so you need to google how to change the pressure of your machine (most likely my ugly mug will pop up!) NO.2 We need to know how to access our data on our machine and also how to understand it so we can use it to guide us on where our pressure levels need to be set. Most devices these days will have a display and you can view the sleep apnea data directly from the machine itself. If not you can download some freeware software or purchase software to download your data.
For CPAP (fixed pressure) users, i want you to access your pressure settings and drop your pressure by 1 straight away. Over the next 2-3 days i want you to monitor your sleep data and in particular your AHI levels which show you how well your apnea is managed by the therapy. AHI less than 5… You’re ALIVE! If your AHI remains under 5 or thereabouts you can again drop your pressure by another .5 or 1 and then repeat. If your AHI starts to increase 7,8,9 etc then your pressure is probably a little too low and needs to be increased a little.
For APAP (Auto pressure) users, i want you to look at your sleep data and in particular 3 values. 1. The 90th or 95th percentile 2. The average pressure level 3. Your AHI The 90th/95th percentile (different companies use different values) provide you with an accurate pressure level to control 90-95% of your sleep apnea. It’s the perfect spot to set your AUTO MAX pressure level which is the upper pressure limit on your device. Remember it’s all about MANAGING your sleep apnea so if we sacrifice 10% of the APNEA control at a time when the pressure levels would be potentially much higher and causing a lot of sleep disturbance and mask leaks we are finding that HAPPY MEDIUM and BALANCING our therapy. We can use our AVERAGE PRESSURE data as a guide to set our lower limit. Note that you can just leave your lower limit at 4 (the lowest pressure) however i find that we get better AHI results if the lower limit is closer in value to the average pressure. You can always set a RAMP from 4 to the lower limit (AUTO MIN) if you want a lower pressure whilst you jump into bed and are heading off to sleep. We then simply monitor our AHI over the next few days and if it stays below or near 5 we can again drop our AUTO MAX (upper limit) lower again and we can keep repeating this process as long as our AHI is below 5.
Second Mask Seal Tip
2. Clean & Replenish! Oil and sweat from your face will cause your mask to leak. You need to get that seal nice and clean and fresh. It will also smell a lot better and be more hygienic. It’s really simple! Just grab a few canisters of mask wipes which will cost you around $5-10 for 70-100 wipes. The mask seals are also only designed to last 3-4 months. Replace your cushion/seal + headgear once a year! 3 Adjust & Run Mask Seal Test On Your CPAP Take some time to make sure that your mask straps are even in tension and have enough tension to hold a good seal. Many of you will set your mask strap tension at the lower pressure limits which will feel good at the start of the night but might not be tight enough to maintain the seal when the pressure gets higher when you fall asleep etc. You can run a MASK SEAL TEST on most machines these days. The machine will run through a range of pressure levels to make sure your mask has a good seal so that when you fall asleep you can be assured that your mask will stand up against the pressure. I hope you enjoy the video. Stay safe and sleep well! Oh and have some fucking fun! 🙂 Lifes short