For people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, many kinds of CPAP masks are available. In our last blog article, we discussed the fundamentals of CPAP and the many advantages it provides to sleep apnea sufferers, including keeping your airway open during sleep and snoring and other apnea symptoms such as tiredness and daytime drowsiness.
However, the amount to which CPAP will work for you individually is heavily dependent on the kind of CPAP mask prescribed by your doctor. The CPAP mask is an essential component of your entire CPAP treatment because it delivers air from the CPAP machine to your nose and mouth. As a result, as you would expect, your CPAP mask should be as comfortable as possible while yet providing a full seal around your nose and/or mouth (without leaving marks on your face or irritating your skin).
Fortunately, many of today’s CPAP masks are intended to accomplish exactly that: deliver a good night’s sleep without creating pain or irritation. Let’s look at what differentiates these various sorts of CPAP masks and the benefits that each category of mask offers.
What are the various kinds of CPAP masks for sleep apnea patients?
There are three major kinds of CPAP masks, and they come in a variety of sizes. Some manufacturers, such as CPAP Pro, now provide “For her” versions of these masks that are tailored to the curves of a woman’s head and face.
• Face masks that cover your nose and mouth are available;
• Nasal masks fit over your nose alone, providing a lighter fit than full-face masks; and
• Nasal pillow masks are even lighter and less bulky than nasal masks, providing a high degree of openness and visibility.
Based on these characteristics, it may seem that you would choose a lighter mask over a heavier one, or a smaller mask over a larger one. But there are other aspects to consider. Masks that cover more of your face, for example, might sometimes provide a better barrier against leakage, resulting in enhanced treatment. Similarly, if you have facial hair, you may require a bigger mask to obtain a stronger seal. If you suffer from claustrophobia, a smaller mask may be more comfortable.
Despite their somewhat heavier weight, full-face masks may simply be more comfortable – it frequently boils down to personal opinion and how a given mask shape will fit over the unique curves of your face. In any case, your doctor may assist you in trying on a variety of masks to decide which one provides the best, most comfortable fit for you.
And this is crucial! If you’re not happy with your CPAP mask, you may “forget” to wear it some nights, or take it off midway through the night because it doesn’t feel comfortable – you may not even know you’ve done this until the following morning!
After all, if you’re not wearing your CPAP mask on a regular basis, you’re not getting the full level of sleep apnea treatment, leaving you in a similar situation as before you were diagnosed – you’re likely to be drowsy and tired throughout the day, not to mention at risk for a variety of other potential sleep apnea dangers.