Do you suffer from mouth leaks with CPAP?
ResMed has put together this short video to help CPAP users deal with the issue of mouth leak.
What is CPAP?
Continuous Positive Air Pressure, what does it mean?
You’ve had the sleep study and heard the words, “You have sleep apnea.” For many people the next step is getting fitted for a CPAP machine, a device that provides continuous positive airway pressure. And although CPAP is regarded as the most effective treatment of sleep apnea, most don’t know how the treatment works to help promote a better night’s sleep and reduce the dangerous side effects of sleep apnea, such as stroke and high blood pressure.
Simply put, CPAP can keep your airway open while you sleep, helping you breathe better, according to the National Institutes of Health.
When someone with sleep apnea relaxes and falls asleep, the tongue or soft palate in the mouth shifts back slightly and blocks the airway, said Dr. Murray Grossan, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Los Angeles. That blockage can reduce the amount of oxygen the body receives, which can lead to a host of health issues.
“The body naturally compensates for the reduction of air by increasing blood pressure in order to supply the brain with the proper amount of oxygen,” Grossan said. “Acid reflux can also result because the diaphragm pushes down on the stomach to get more air. And obesity is also a risk because the fatigue associated with the lack of proper sleep has your body wanting more food, which it will use for energy.”
CPAP delivers air to the body via one of several different mask types that cover the nose and/or mouth. Specialized technicians work with sleep apnea patients to fit the mask and find the pressure that delivers the best results.
“When you inhale, the CPAP machine gently blows air through a tube into the mask. The air presses on the walls of the airways to keep them open,” noted Dr. Cong Thu Nguyen, an ENT and sleep physician at the Houston Sinus & Allergy. “When you exhale, the CPAP continues to gently blow air through the tube to keep the airways open and to push the exhaled air and carbon dioxide through holes in the mask.”
That steady supply of air, which Grossan said is delivered intermittently at a pressure sufficient to overcome blockage, helps keeps the airway open to ensure the body is properly oxygenated.
CPAP also can help reduce, or even eliminate, snoring.
When the tongue or soft palate blocks the airway, the soft palate vibrates against the back of the throat when the sleep apnea patient tries to breathe. “That causes the snoring sound,” Nguyen said. Because CPAP opens airways and removes the blockage, there’s nothing to vibrate and cause the snoring.
“After a week using CPAP, most people notice the huge difference in energy and vitality and, as a result, wouldn’t dream of going back to a non-CPAP way of life,” Grossan said.
courtesy of www.bettersleepandbreathing.com
CPAP dry mouth is one of the main causes to abandon the CPAP therapy.
Dry mouth is a sign of air leaking from your CPAP mask or from sleeping with your mouth open.
There are many effective ways to prevent and treat dry mouth from CPAP, such as:
1) Eliminate the Cause : Firstly, you have to discover why you are a mouth breather. It could be that something is blocking your nose, like deviated septum, or nasal congestion. If you have dry mouth and a stuffy nose, you may want to discuss your nasal obstructions with your sleep specialist. CPAP therapy can be difficult while having nasal problems.
2) Using CPAP Humidifier: Heated humidification is very important to prevent CPAP dry mouth. Sleep doctors believe that everyone should benefit from heated humidification, especially those with mid to high range pressures. I hope you are using your humidifier, and remember, it’s the moisture you want, not necessarily the heat. Some patients with successful CPAP treatment, keep their heat settings only on 2, even on their high pressure. Humidity seems to be a very personal thing but maybe try turning it down a few notches and see what happens.
3) Drinking Water: Keeping a glass of water by the bedside is another good idea. It’s a good practice to take a few sips of water in the middle of the night, perhaps even to have a small cup ready next to your bed to avoid having to get up.
4) Using a Full Face Mask: It doesn’t matter if you have mouth leaks, because the air is still contained within the mask. So you’ll get good CPAP therapy whether you’re breathing through your nose or mouth. However, even with full face masks some CPAP users can have dry mouth. But they will have their air pressure maintained.
5) Keeping Your Mouth Closed: You can use a CPAP chinstrap by Respironics to keep your mouth closed during sleep.
For some people simply keeping the jaw “up” seals the mouth by also keeping the tongue up and allows the tongue to maintain an airtight seal inside the mouth. If that works, that’s the simplest solution to CPAP dry mouth.