A CPAP mask must be fitted and as mentioned in the post on CPAP supplies make sure it is a good fit and has a good seal.  The CPAP mask will be either a Full or Nasal mask.  Make sure you adjust the straps as shown to you by your Respiratory Care Practitioner.  Most of the time the nasal CPAP mask has 3 or 4 straps.  The CPAP mask may have a whisper swivel (exhalation port).  Some exhalation ports are built directly into the mask.  There is always an exhalation port so your exhaled breath will escape from the mask.  DO NOT block the escaping air.  Make sure the mask has a snug fit, but not tight enough to pinch or cause irritation to your skin.  Slight leaks are acceptable.  Make sure to adjust each strap so it forms a secure fit.  Do not tighten one strap tighter than the next.  Make sure all the straps are pulled with the same amount of tension.  Have the Respiratory Practitioner help you with a good fit and loosen only one strap to remove the mask so each time you put it on there is only one strap to tighten.  This has been my experience that has worked with some patients in the past. ResMed Ultra Mirage 11 Mask Frame System


Next connect the tubing to your mask, either through the separate whisper swivel valve or the one incorporated into the CPAP mask.  Connect the other end of the tubing to the to the outlet of your CPAP unit.  Turn on the CPAP machine and make the adjustments to the straps pulling them to the same tightness and making sure there are no leaks.  If you have a humidifier make sure that it is filled with distilled water.

Finally if your physician has prescribed oxygen to be used with your CPAP machine it may be connected to your CPAP circuit by using an oxygen entrainment adapter or attaching the oxygen tubing directly to your CPAP mask.  Remember to turn off or disconnect the oxygen flowing into the unit before you turn your CPAP machine on or off.

Oxygen enrichment adapter via Amazon*


If you find your doctor does not prescribe CPAP he may suggest snoring aids such as the anti-snoring mouthpiece, which has been proven to be effective in mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea.  There is a possibility it will be helpful to use a stop snoring mouthpiece.

If you find you have what some refer to as sleep apnea (sleep apnea) and you are a COPD BIPAP = Bi level positive airway pressure may be prescribed where a pressure is exerted during inhalation as well as exhalation making it easier to breath and keep the airways open.  This is especially true in someone diagnosed with COPD  (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).


With the use of a BIPAP machine is the same type of masks as with the CPAP machine.  The CPAP masks are now designed so you can choose the one best for your sleeping style in case you sleep on your stomach and there are smaller types of a CPAP mask for those who like to read.

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*The two images on this page sourced to Amazon.

*One primary image on this page sourced to Rachel Tayse via Flicker.


Rebecca Beggs is a Former Registered Respiratory Home Care Practitioner now living in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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