Millions of people have sleep apnea. It’s a condition that affects far more people than you might realize. Many choose to get CPAP masks as a form of treatment. While it’s not the only treatment, it’s the most effective – especially for those who don’t want to resort to surgery.
If you’re interested in CPAP therapy, you need to choose the right mask. If you’ve not had a good experience with CPAP in the past, you don’t want to give up on the therapy entirely. It might simply be a matter of you choosing a different mask. There are different styles available from various brands.
Here’s a guide to the different types of CPAP masks.
This style of mask is designed to cover only the nose. It’s usually triangular in shape and features a silicon cushion for comfort. Some of these products come with forehead support to give you better stability. If you require high-pressure, this is a good choice. Unlike with nasal pillows, the mask allows for natural airflow, as the delivered pressure is not as direct. This is also a flexible option as the masks are available in different sizes to accommodate different faces.
The only problem with nasal masks is that they are not ideal for mouth breathers. It may also cause red marks around the nose if it’s not the proper fit.
This is a good choice if you are concerned about claustrophobia. Instead of covering our nose, a nasal pillow consists of plastic inserts that fit directly into the nostrils. It keeps your field of vision clear so that you can read or watch television before falling asleep. Since the airflow goes directly into the nasal passages, there isn’t air leakage to worry about. This is also the ideal CPAP product for those with facial hair, who would have trouble getting a proper seal with a regular mask.
The downside to this option is that it might not feel comfortable to have something plugging into your nose while you’re trying to sleep. It might even cause dryness or nose bleeds. It won’t be of any help if you are a mouth breather.
This is the best option for mouth breathers, as it covers both the mouth and the nose. It’s designed with side straps to keep it in place. Some systems come with humidifiers built into the machine to prevent mouth dryness. It doesn’t cover the bridge of the nose or the upper lip. Full masks are also ideal for those who require higher pressure levels.
These masks are NOT good for side sleepers or active sleepers, as they can easily become shifted.
There are hybrid or combination systems available that consist of nostril pillows and a mouth cover. These are designed for individuals who could benefit from a full mask but cannot wear one. If you have an asymmetrical nose, however, you might find the nostril pillows to be uncomfortable.
Regardless of which CPAP mask you choose, make sure it is the right size and that it fits properly on your face so that you can get the intended benefits.