Common Reasons for CPAP Intolerance

What Is CPAP?

More than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea which causes breathing difficulties when sleeping. To remedy this, they receive Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP treatment.

A CPAP machine has a face mask, a hose, and a little box that generates flow. Wearing the mask allows people with breathing problems to comfortably sleep through the night as it produces a constant stream of pressure and improves breathing.

What Is CPAP Intolerance?

30% of CPAP users report that they cannot tolerate the treatment and stop using it before their treatment is complete.

The CPAP machines require an acclimatization period.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for CPAP Intolerance?


When the mask doesn’t fit onto your face right, it ends up leaking. The mask offers serious relief, but it can be a new and alien sensation to most.

To remedy this, patients are recommended to wear the mask during their waking hours to condition their face and mind into wearing the mask.

The Sensation of Being Trapped or Claustrophobia

Compounding existing breathing issues, wearing the mask gives many the sensations of claustrophobia. The resulting anxiety and panic further agitate sleep conditions.

To remedy this, wear the mask when the machine isn’t running.
You’ll see that vent holes are drilled into the mask to guarantee airflow even if the machine has stopped working, malfunctioned, or failed for any reason whatsoever.

The mask is precisely engineered to help to breathe, and never hinders it, ever. There are nasal pillow masks available as substitutes to the full-face mask for additional help.

Too Noisy

The machine disturbs either the patient or their bed partner.
There are specific mask models, such as the Swift FX and the Amara View, which have been engineered to result in minimal sound.

Leaky masks aggravate the sound. Tighten and readjust the straps to zip up and minimize leaks.

Nasal Congestion

Using a nasal mask along with nasal allergies aggravates breathing issues. Different antihistamines and nasal sprays can resolve the congestion. Using a heated humidifier opens the nasal passages and complements your CPAP machine nicely here.

Choking Sensation

Breathing pressurized air feels different from regular air. The problem arises from not putting the mask on first. Fortunately, there’s a simple remedy to acclimatize yourself and reduce this sensation.

First, attach your mask onto your face and get the straps where they need to be. No gaps, no leakage. Second, increase the pressure by turning on the machine. Thirdly, breathe. You’ll find it much easier when you put the mask on first.

Airflow into the Eyes

The vents can blow air that travels up the cheeks and falls on the eyes. The constant pressure is a result of breathing well, but the carbon dioxide being blown into your eyes can be frustrating. Mask leakage can aggravate this problem.

Consider purchasing a mask liner to absorb moisture, and act as a barrier between the user and the CPAP mask. This should offer serious relief.

If you suffer from CPAP intolerance and are in need of an alternative way to treat your sleep apnea, contact Snore Experts today to schedule a consultation. We can find a solution that works for you so you can get the good nights rest you need.