There’s a new-ish product out there for us CPAP users to help masks seal against your face, and avoid those red marks and sores. I give you the mask liner:
This past month I’ve been using RemZzzzs mask liners for my Comfort Gel Blue nasal cushion mask and love them. When I’m not feeling well, I’ll use my CPAP even when not sleeping just to get some breathing relief. As many of you know, the extra mask time can really irritate your face. Last summer I got some bad sores from using a mask too much and I’m not really sure what else I could have done about it. I regularly clean my cushions and mask, and was careful not to over-tighten the headgear. It’s the simple combination of time and pressure that can turn coal into diamonds. The mask liner will create a barrier between the cushion and your face, create a uniform surface to help create a seal, and soak up moisture or natural oils from your skin.
I’ve tried to do this on my own in the past. Liz gave me the idea to fold up a piece of toilet paper. It kind of works, but isn’t shaped correctly and I could only do this across the bridge of my nose. The mask liners are made to perfectly fit your mask.
I purchased a box of 30 mask liners on Amazon for about $25. These aren’t the cheapest of things, but if used only when needed, I’m sure you could make them last. I talked to my cpap supply company, National Sleep Therapy, a few days ago and they can sell me mask liners but insurance will not cover them at this time. If you’re not sure about spending the money, the RemZzzs website does have a link for a free trial.
One other trick I’ve done is to have two different masks. Along with the Comfort Gel Blue nasal cushion, I also have a Nuance Pro nasal pillow. I’ll either switch up the masks every other night, or just wear the one that feels best. If my sinuses are clogged up at all, the Nuance is going to be the toughest to handle. Then when I re-order supplies every 90 days, I alternate between the cushions and the pillows so I always have some for each mask type.
I have a full beard and was warned from the start I’ll have trouble finding masks with a good fit. I bet I could wear a full-face mask with a liner.
I’m a weird case. Doctors have always had trouble trying to figure out exactly why I have trouble breathing. The allergies have always been quite obvious; both asthma and allergies are prevalent in my family. After years of moving around and trying to find doctors who believed me, they also discovered I have:
- Hiatal Hernia (from a two-year chronic cough a doctor didn’t want to treat)
- GERD (from the hiatal hernia)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (from my tongue that covers half of my airway, the giant tonsils, and other weirdness in my airway)
- Vocal Chord Dysfunction
- Left Hemidiaphragm that doesn’t move
- Anxiety because not being able to breathe well for 25 years makes you anxious
Last year restrictive lung disease started appearing on my breathing tests. Lately I’ve been short of breath often from walking up stairs, doing normal things like making the bed, and occasionally my oxygen drops into the 80s for a while.
While telling one of my lung docs about my symptoms, it was mentioned I should be assessed for pulmonary hypertension (PH) with a possible cardiac follow-up. So I’ve been reading up on this rare lung disease, and of course most of the symptoms seem to match up with what I’ve been experiencing. The only problem is those same symptoms can match up to a lot of conditions. I don’t want to have PH, but if that’s what ails me, it could be treated.
I’ve been in this situation before where a doctor thinks they may have it figured out. At one point everyone was certain I had allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. I’m very allergic to aspergillus mold, and I had all the symptoms expect the one where you cough up oddly shaped chunks of phlegm. Over the years I’ve been told I might/probably have:
- a fungal mass in my lungs
- chronic bronchitis
- right-heart failure
…to name a few. I’ve even been told I don’t have asthma and was taken off all maintenance medications only to go back on them 6 months later.
Last month my jaw started hurting, I talked to my dentist, and was referred to a TMJ specialist who told me my jaw is causing a lot of my breathing issues by sitting back too far and pinching my airway. I’m willing to look into this, but am not willing to pay the $2500 upfront. I’m currently in negotiations with my insurance company for a pre-certification to cover it.
So in the meantime I will not get my hopes up, I will not let the internet convince me of a diagnosis, and I will wait to hear from my doctors.
I came across this article tonight where continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are being used to treat asthma
CPAP for asthma – http://www.news4jax.com/news/cpap-for-asthma/25308408
This is interesting to me for several reasons, and it reminds me of one of my ER visits last year where the respiratory techs, there were two working together that night, asked if I used a CPAP and if it ever helps when my asthma is acting up.
CPAP machines are generally prescribed to those suffering from sleep apnea. They force air into your respiratory tract through a mask that covers some or all of your face. The air forces your airways to stay open helping the patient to breathe better, sleep better, stay asleep, and keep their oxygen levels from dropping. Another treatment option for some suffering from sleep apnea is surgery to cut away extra tissue and open up the airways. While this may work for some, it’s not a guaranteed treatment and has the risk of complications. This is why using a CPAP machine while sleeping is a relative easy and effective solution.
Many asthmatics take one if not many medications to help control their condition. Those with asthma often have secondary conditions (such as GERD, obstructive sleep apnea, allergies, high blood pressure, hay fever, sinusitis, rhinitis, vocal chord dysfunction, and anxiety or mood disorders) that work together to complicate everything. These medications have side effects that can sometimes make one feel just as bad as not taking the medication. An easy treatment such as a CPAP could be a great solution for some.
I’m not sure on all the details of this study, but being an asthmatic who also has obstructive sleep apnea, I wonder if any of those being studied have both conditions. The good news is the American Lung Association (ALA) is involved and it sounds like they are looking for people to participate in the study.
ALA Research protocols currently recruiting – http://www.lung.org/finding-cures/our-research/acrc/protocols-recruiting.html