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.
Thanks for the info, but to progress please post the detailed name of the mask. I think it might be an ultra mirage, but can't be certain.
Without changing you mask I think you should look at the straps. I think you have them too tight, which will actually cause leaks...........Yes.
IF it is an ultra mirage mask, you will find two pads for your forehead, with a ratchet type device between them and the mask. Firstly, strap tension should be close to loose, rather than tight, maybe even snug and should be fairly even. If the top strap is too tight, leaks at the bottom and if bottom strap too tight then leaks into the eyes. The ratchet device clicks forward and backwards and should be set to suit your facial structure........far back if your forehead recedes behind the level of your lower face and forward otherwise...........trial and error. Take your time setting it up, even disconnect the hose and do it in the living room.
After turning on your machine, allow the air to fill the 'bubble' between silicone 'skins' on the mask. This is what will create the seal. If you become aware of a leak, don't tighten the straps, but lift the mask off your face and lower it again. Straps MAY need a little tightening but not TOO TIGHT. Tight straps force the silicone 'bubble' to collapse and creates leaks not to mention sores on your nose and marks on your face.
I think if you become less tense and more amenable to the mask the soreness etc will disipate. The dryness and sore throat are often associated with an open mouth during sleep. The dryness might also exacerbate the choking sensation.
If you are still having problems, post back, but in the meantime I suggest you try this.
If its any help, in my more lucid moments
I will admit that it took me many months to come to terms with this therapy but you have to persevere. I know its not easy (its certainly not natural), but there is plenty of help available here.