1. The causes of CPAP mask leaks
Seal leak is one of the most common reasons for CPAP mask leaks, there are so many factors that may lead to seal leaks including improper cpap mask size, worn out of the cpap mask cushion or pillow. The second comon cpap mask leaks cause is the mouth leak, there are many cpap users used to breath through their mouth or they can not breath through nose because of allergy or other reasons.
2. Hazards of CPAP Mask Leaks
As every coin has two sides, the CPAP mask leaks are good and bad. Leak is the loss of airflow, but leakdoes not necessarily result in a loss of pressure. Modern CPAP machines are robust, and can compensate for significant loss of airflow from leaks by increasing their output airflow. In this way they maintain their desired pressure, even in the presence of substantial leak, and regardless of the location of that leak. This leak is called good leak, which the vent flow rate or flush rate, airflow through the vents, purposely designed to flush away exhaled carbon dioxide.
However, if the leak is too large, it may overwhelm the machine’s ability to compensate and maintain pressure. This is arguably the most severe and important consequence of leak, though its frequency may be exaggerated. It is called a bad leak from a poorly selected, sized, or fitted mask, leaking because it doesn’t rest securely on your face or nostrils. The higher the pressure, the higher the vent flow rate and bad leak rate.
3. How to know your CPAP mask leaks
Use your hand to feel around the mask for leaks. Another way to detect leaks is by sound. If your mask turns into a sonar device, echoing a new sound off of bed pillows, you have a leak. If your full face mask makes a rude raspberry noise or turns into a wind instrument, you have a large leak. Also there are many cpap machines provide an audibel”Leak Alert” alarm function.
4. What to do with CPAP mask leaks
Once you found your CPAP mask leaks, the first thing you should do is to check the real reasons of your leaks. With different CPAP mask leaks causes, their are appropriate treatment.
For the seal leak, you can wash your face to remove facial oils before using a mask, and avoid skin moisturizer on your face at night. Washing the face with soap prior to applying the mask, and/or using an alcohol wipe on the facial skin areas where the mask will be in contact, may prove helpful. Similarly, oils should be gently cleaned off the cushion in the morning after use. If you’ve had the maskfor a while and then it begins leaking, check the age of the silicone cushion or nasal pillow. The cushion or pillow (not the whole mask) should be replaced every three months or when worn out. Insurance companies start with Medicare guidelines to design their replacement schedule.
As to mouth leaks, the most effective method is switching to a full face mask, which encompasses both the nose and mouth inside the mask. With no pressure differential between mouth and nose, there’s no added stimulus to exhale through the mouth. Most importantly, airflow through the mouth (while it still may result in dryness) does not impact the effectiveness of CPAP therapy on sleep apnea. Also you can try a CPAP chin strap combine with other type of CPAP mask, the CPAP chin strap will reportedly help hold the jaw in place so that the mouth does not fall open.