Jackie wrote:I've been using a C-pap machine on and off for several months. I have not been able to sleep more than 2 hours at a time and wake up every night with a dry mouth and sore throat. I've had the pressure increased, changed from a full face to a nose mask and use a breath right nasal strip at night without any success. Lately I've been waking up with a sensation of choking - like something is stuck in the back of my throat. I have not had heartburn or any taste in the back of my throat so I'm pretty sure its not GERD. Any suggestions on how to eliminate the sore throat and dry mouth as well as the choking sensation. Thanks for your input!
At the time of the sleep study the doctor told me I stopped breathing an average of 20 times per hour. I believe that is considered to be moderate apnoea.
Basically I'm using a nasal strip every night whether or not I use the cpap. The machine I use has heated humidity (sorry I don't know the brand or model). Originally I used a full face mask (I believe it is a mirage brand mask) and was set at a pressure setting of 6. I had a lot of problems at that setting and woke up every night with a dry mouth, sore throat and feeling like I was suffocating.
My doctor increased the pressure to 9. Although I stopped waking up feeling like I was suffocating, I continued to wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat and dry mouth. I went back to the doctor again who instructed me to start using a breath rite nasal strip with the mask. This did not alleviate my symptoms.
I also had some trouble with the full face mask. In order to prevent the mask from leaking, I had to tighten it so much I had indentations on my face to the point that even though I would remove the mask between 2 and 3 AM, I would still have marks on my face at 11 AM. In addition, I started breaking out around the mask line. I tried using lotion on my face to alleviate the break out but it didn't help and it actually prevented me from getting a good seal and I was having a lot of leakage.
I tried adjusting the moisture setting on the machine and went from zero to six. Unfortunately this did not help my symptoms so I switched to a nasal mask. My thinking was that if I didn't have to take the mask off in the middle of the night to get a sip of water then I would keep the mask on and eventually get used to sleeping through the night with it. I used the nasal mask for several weeks and then stopped using it for a while. Okay, I know I should have continued to use it but I was moving and since I could not sleep more than an hour or two with the mask on I decided to stop using the cpap for a while. Now that I'm settled I am using the cpap again. I continue to have the dry mouth, sore throat and the past couple of nights I've awoken with a choking sensation.
Although it is possible I am breathing through my mouth, it should not have mattered when I had the full face mask particularly since I do have a unit with heated humidity. I might add that I do use distilled water and clean the unit either daily or at minimum every other day. I clean the mask two or three times a month and disconnect the tubing and hang it every day to avoid moisture build up.
As a side note, I continue to have problems maintaining a tight seal with the mask. Even though I remove the mask by 2 AM, when I wake up several hours later I still have indentations on my face from the mask. I know its too tight but I can't maintain a good seal on the mask without keeping it that tight.
Anonymous wrote:Shreck: Thanks for your input. I've never used anything except distilled water and I'm pretty anal about keeping it full so I've never run out. I did try the machine once without water in the very beginning and have used water ever since. I'm still playing with the settings but haven't found the right balance yet.
I moved a few weeks ago so I guess the choking sensation could be stress...the jury's still out on that one :)
Daniel: I checked my masks and the one I am currently using is a Profile Lite Nasal Gel Mask. My full face mask is a ResMed Ultra Mirage. I stopped using the full face mask several months ago.
I did try adjusting the straps last night but didn't have much success. I had a lot of leakage but discovered if I tilted my head back as far as I could comfortably go the position eliminated most of the leakage. I was pretty good about keeping my head still for a while but eventually shifted positions and the leaking started again.
I also tried removing and reseating the mask. I guess this method only alleviates leakage with the the Mirage mask since the leakage was worse after I removed and reseated the Profile mask.
I eventually ended up over tightening the mask. I've taken to covering the clock at night and don't know how long I slept but I didn't make it through the night with the cpap and still have an indentation on my forehead from the mask.
I guess I'll just have to keep playing with the straps and the settings and hope for the best. Thanks for the support!
Jackie wrote:I went back to the original supplier of the mask for another fitting. Basically they suggested instead of taking off the mask by un-doing the velcro each night they recommended I slip the mask on and off over my head (the mask does not have clips so I was 'starting from scratch' each evening with the adjustment). That worked for a little while but it didn't last long.
I continued to have problems with the mask leaking and contacted the sleep center for an appointment. While I was waiting to be seen at the sleep center, I discovered that I had an Upper Respiratory Infection. I started taking medication and once the URI cleared up, the choking sensations stopped; however, I continued to have problems with the dry mouth, sore throat and leaking. In addition, I started having problems breathing with the mask and after a couple of evenings realized it wasn't related to my URI...there was a crack in the tube and I wasn't getting the pressure I needed.
I got a new hose and a chin strap. This helped but did not elminate the leaking or sore throat/dry mouth. I spoke to the doctor at the sleep center who informed me that a dry mouth/sore throat is an indication that the cpap pressure is too low. We discussed the mask problem and he suggested I speak to the respiratory specialist at the sleep center. Since I was having so many problems with leakage we decided not to increase the pressure until I could get the leaking under control.
I made an appointment with the respiratory specialist who took one look at my mask and immediately informed me that it was too big for my face which was why I was having so much trouble with it leaking.
We spent a long time going over the other mask options available and after much deliberation I decided to go with the Resmed Mirage Swift Nasal Pillow System. Of course, they did not have any in stock so an order was placed. The nasal pillows FINALLY came in yesterday. Last night was my first night with them. Its an adjustment for sure but I can honestly say I did not wake up with a sore throat or dry mouth this morning. I'm not sure if the new mask is the reason or not but I'll take what I can get!!
Hopefully the new mask will do the trick.
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