Discovering that you have sleep apnea can be a frightening experience. With a new diagnosis, you’re also being introduced to a variety of treatment choices, each with its own set of characteristics. If you and your physician have agreed that CPAP is the best treatment choice for you, the next step is to choose a CPAP mask.
There are several options available when it comes to sleep apnea masks since CPAP masks serve as the connection between the person with sleep apnea and the CPAP machine.
Most sleep apnea masks use plastic, silicone, and gel-like materials. Some of them are constructed of a combination of cloth and other materials. In most cases, they come equipped with straps that may be adjusted in order to fit the wearer’s face better. CPAP masks typically range in price from $30 to $150.
When it comes to sleep apnea masks, there is no standard size that suits everyone. The interface for continuous positive airway pressure needs to be tailored to your face and to your preferred degree of comfort.
As soon as you obtain a prescription for CPAP from your physician, you need to make an appointment with an equipment specialist specializing in CPAP masks. You may next try on a variety of sleep apnea masks to locate the one that is the greatest fit for you and that you also find to be the most comfortable.
You need to think about how you sleep, how you breathe, and the pressure settings on your machine in order to choose which type of mask will provide you with the most comfortable fit possible. But before you can do that, you need to understand the alternatives you have.
Different Types Of CPAP Masks With Their Pros And Cons
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the many different kinds of CPAP masks as well as the advantages that come packaged with each one of them.
1. Nasal Masks
The design of this mask is similar to a dome, and it creates a barrier around the nose. There is a wide variety of forms available, resulting in a plethora of alternatives to choose from to fit various facial shapes. In addition, since air is not being forced straight into the nasal passages, the airflow has a somewhat more natural feel.
This also makes it possible to employ greater pressures, which is perfect for those with severe sleep apnea cases.
However, despite its name, nasal masks can only be used via the nose to be effective. The mask will not be effective if you sleep with a nasal mask but breathe via your mouth instead of your nose.
Quite a few of the products on the market come equipped with a chin strap that you may use to keep from accidentally letting your lips hang open. However, people with allergies or chronic sinusitis should not choose this option since it is inappropriate for their conditions.
If you have facial hair, the seal that is created by the padding on the nasal mask could not work as well, which could result in air leaking out of the device.
Additionally, some users have reported that the straps on the head are uncomfortable and that there is a strain on the bridge of the nose. Fitting and adjusting the mask correctly can frequently help alleviate this issue.
A Doctor Would Recommend Nasal CPAP Masks For People Who:
- move a lot while they are sleeping,
- require their CPAP machine’s pressure setting to be raised,
- need access to a wide range of mask alternatives,
- like an airflow that is more natural.
Pros & Cons of Nasal Masks
- Compared to nasal pillows, more natural airflow occurs because of the less direct pressure delivery.
- Better than nose pillows at higher pressure levels.
- Numerous types are available to accommodate a variety of facial characteristics and features.
- The nasal mask’s suction keeps it firmly in place even if you move around a lot while you sleep or prefer to sleep on your side.
- Similar to nasal pillows, nasal masks are not recommended for those who breathe through their mouths unless they come with a chin strap to keep the jaw locked.
- Some CPAP users express irritability owing to the pressure of the mask sitting on their nasal bridges or, in some versions, the forehead supports.
- It is not recommended for those who commonly have colds or allergies that clog their sinuses.
- It is not recommended for those who have medical conditions that make it difficult for them to breathe via their nose, such as a deviated septum, swelling turbinate’s, a collapsed or constricted nasal valve, or similar conditions.
2. Nasal Cushions
This sort of mask, which rests on your upper lip and employs two cushioned lobes that fit straight into your nostrils, is sometimes referred to as a nasal pillow. Because it is the smallest and simplest of all the CPAP masks, it is the most common choice for people who find other masks claustrophobic and uncomfortable.
Nasal cushions are less obtrusive and cover a smaller portion of your face compared to other options. This is a great option for those who wish to wear the mask for a while before going to bed.
Because of its more compact profile, you won’t have to make any changes to your evening routine, unlike with other masks, which could block your line of sight and make it impossible for you to continue wearing glasses.
Because the seal is only created on the nostrils, those who have thicker facial hair may also benefit from using nasal cushions.
The air is pushed straight into your nose, making high pressures a potentially unpleasant experience. Because of this, persons with severe sleep apnea cases should not use nasal cushion masks. In addition, the direct airflow may induce irritation and dryness in the nasal passages.
The gadget is ineffective for mouth breathers. However, if you are inclined to breathe through your mouth while you are asleep but can still breathe effectively through your nose, using nasal pillows can still be useful for you so long as you combine their usage with a device that keeps your mouth closed.
A Doctor Would Recommend Nasal Cushions For People Who
- toss and turn during sleep,
- wearing a big mask might cause claustrophobia,
- use their nose to inhale and exhale,
- have excessive facial hair
Pros & Cons of Nasal Cushions
- This design is perfect for those with claustrophobia or who just do not like having too much material in close proximity to their face.
- One of the best options for people who want a wide field of view when reading or watching TV in the evenings.
- Because there is no material covering the bridge of the nose, the user may wear spectacles.
- Air leakage is minimized due to the nasal passages receiving a direct air supply.
- Restless, toss-and-turn sleepers can use it.
- Users with a lot of facial hair can use this product as other types of masks can cause leakage.
- The flow of air is very direct and can cause distress at higher pressure settings, making it unsuitable for patients requiring a higher pressure level.
- In certain situations, nose bleeds have been reported as a result of the direct air pressure.
- Mouth-breathers should avoid this product. Nasal pillows might be painful for those who aren’t used to breathing through their noses. But, you can still wear a nasal pillow with a chin strap if you prefer.
3. Full-Face Masks
Since these masks are broader and cover both the nose and mouth, they are perfect for the ones who breathe via their mouths. Full-face masks are an option to consider if wearing a chinstrap has caused you difficulty in the past or if you often suffer from a stuffy nose.
As the air does not enter your airway directly, wearing a full-face mask makes it possible to tolerate far higher pressures. Because it is possible to employ high pressures, this mask is an excellent choice for people with severe sleep apnea cases.
Because of the additional weight of a full-face mask, it has a greater propensity to get unfastened throughout the course of the night, which is especially likely if you are a troubled sleeper. On the other hand, there are a number of straps that may be repositioned in order to achieve the most comfortable fit. Individuals who sleep on their backs are the perfect candidates for this mask.
Due to the larger surface area that is in touch with your face, more spots might allow air to escape, especially for people with facial hair. In addition, it’s possible that your eyes will become irritated and dry due to the leakage from the top of the mask.
It is challenging to use a full-face mask before going to sleep because of the thickness of the mask, which obstructs your vision and makes it tough to wear glasses simultaneously.
A Doctor Would Recommend Fill-Face Masks For People Who
- breathe mainly via the mouth,
- need high-pressure CPAP settings,
- have medical conditions that make it challenging for them to breathe via their nose, such as allergies,
- lie down on their backs to sleep.
Pros & Cons of Full-Face Masks
- A face mask is a great option for mouth-breathers and those who haven’t had success with the nasal mask/chin strap combo.
- Suitable for those with nasal blockages or regular congestion because of allergies or cold symptoms.
- It’s strange, but some claustrophobic patients choose the full face mask since it just covers the outsides of their faces. At the same time, the nasal cushions and nasal masks contact the upper lip or the bridge of the nose.
- Higher CPAP pressure settings benefit from the mask’s broad surface area. It makes them more bearable and less direct than they would be with a narrower surface area.
- Most effective in the supine position, which is preferred by back sleepers because of the improved airtightness. If you are unable to sleep with your mask in place, these straps and supports can assist.
- There is a greater likelihood of air leakage due to the bigger surface area.
- In certain cases, the top of the mask leaks air, creating dry, irritated eyes.
- Most claustrophobic patients are unable to handle the additional weight and material of a full face mask. However, there are a few exceptions.
- Reading or watching television in bed while wearing glasses is tough with full-face masks.
- In order to sleep peacefully on your stomach, you’ll have to deal with the mask’s weight.
What is The Best Cpap Mask For My Sleeping Position?
Because continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks need a tight seal to reduce air leaks, sleeping in a position that places pressure on the mask is not only uncomfortable but can also put the efficacy of your treatment at risk. The headgear that comes with a CPAP mask can also make it difficult to fall or stay asleep, particularly if it has rigid plastic clips or stiff anchor straps.
When looking for a CPAP mask, it is important to consider the dimensions of the mask itself (its length, breadth, and depth) and the position of the headgear in relation to your face. The objective here is to find a mask that serves its purpose while also allowing you to sleep comfortably.
1. Side Sleepers
Sleeping on your side is one of the best positions for treating sleep apnea since gravity does not exert the same pressure on your airway as it does when you are laying on your back or stomach. Unfortunately, those who sleep on their sides often have difficulty selecting the appropriate CPAP mask for their needs.
These masks are best suited for side sleepers because of their low profile and ability to sit higher than the pillow. (Some people who sleep on their sides press their face against the pillow, but nasal cushions typically maintain their seal even when this occurs.)
Nasal masks, which can cover the nose entirely or only a portion of it, are another effective alternative that many side sleepers find. The finest versions are those that have comfortable and adjustable headgear, in addition to having good seals on the helmet. Although these characteristics help avoid air leaks, side sleepers may still need a cushion compatible with CPAP to support the size of even a nose mask.
2. Stomach Sleepers
Because stomach sleeping is a rather unusual sleeping position, it is important for those who use it to take certain factors into account when choosing a CPAP mask. Comfort and air leakage are frequently a result of the location of the face masks.
Due to the size of the mask, your head may be compelled into an awkward position that places strain on your neck. As a result, you may wake up the next day experiencing discomfort or stiffness in your neck.
Because of these characteristics, a nasal pillow mask is the only way for most individuals to sleep on their stomachs. Due to the low profile of the nose pillows, you won’t experience any pain even if you sleep on your back.
This is the best position for using nasal pillows. If you plan to use a nasal pillow mask, you should check to see whether or not your cushion is large enough to accommodate the mask. This can be exacerbated by certain masks’ location of tubes around the temples, which might obstruct airflow depending on your sleeping position and pillow hardness.
3. Back Sleepers
Users of CPAP who like to sleep on their backs have a wide selection of mask options from which to choose because even full-face masks may be used safely in this position. Even while sleeping on your back with a CPAP mask on can seem like the most comfortable position, doing so might actually cause your airways to close down due to the force of gravity.
If your physician is aware that you always sleep on your back and has not encouraged you to swap positions, you will probably feel comfortable using any mask that works and fulfills your other criteria. In spite of the fact that some people have difficulty using headgear with only one strap, sleeping on your back makes it difficult to take off your mask.
The act of donning a mask designed to treat sleep apnea is very personalized. The vast majority of professionals in the field of sleep advocate collaborating with an experienced group of sleep experts. Numerous sleep firms will measure the size of your face and present you with a variety of mask solutions based on their findings.
After making your selection for a sleep apnea mask, the next step is to put it on while the CPAP machine is running. This enables the correct fit to be determined as well as the amount of air leakage. While you should be wearing the mask, it is essential that it does not allow a sizable amount of air to escape.
As with CPAP machines, prescriptions are required for CPAP masks. Nevertheless, CPAP masks are available for purchase from a number of locations, one of which is online. The use of a valid prescription is still necessary in order to make a purchase from an online pharmacy, and the legitimacy of these prescriptions is typically confirmed through fax or upload.
Once the authorization of your prescription has been completed, you will be able to buy the masks you require. Because each individual is one of a kind, it is not possible to generalize about how a CPAP mask might make a person feel. The overall comfort level and the sensation of being claustrophobic are both very subjective and reliant on the mask’s materials, design, and fit.
When consulting with them about the possibility of using CPAP, it is crucial to tell your doctor about all elements of your sleep and evening routine. This will allow them to determine which mask would work best for you. Also, don’t forget to try on a variety of models, and take advantage of any adjustments that may be offered, so that you may get the optimal fit for your body.