Running out of breath is perhaps the most distressing symptom of sleep apnea. This is the reason why doctors invariably attempt to ensure pause-free breathing during the initiation of therapy.
The American Sleep Apnea Association has identified using CPAP therapy as one of the most trusted and effective means to manage sleep apnea symptoms. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Air Pressure and CPAP therapy involves pumping in pre-set pressurized air into the lungs of the patient to keep the airways open during sleep.
Being on CPAP therapy means using CPAP equipment consisting of several components where the CPAP masks play the most critical role. In fact, continuation with the therapy actually depends on whether the user feels comfortable with the masks and whether the masks function properly. If you are a first time user, you need to have full knowledge regarding the various types of CPAP masks available along with their benefits and drawbacks, in order to continue with the therapy.
Types of CPAP masks: catering to a variety of user needs
Different people breathe differently. While some breathe using their noses, some are mouth breathers. People also sleep in different postures – from side to the back. This makes compatibility with the CPAP mask an important issue to continue with the therapy. After all, the mask should not restrict sleeping or breathing habits in order to get relief from apnea episodes.
Today, there are several types of CPAP masks available to suit different needs.
Types of CPAP masks: know your options
There are several types of CPAP masks. The most common type of mask used by most apnea users is the nose mask. This mask has straps going round the head, to keep the mask in position securely. Another type is the nose-face mask. This type covers the nose as well as the mouth. For security, an extra chinstrap is attached to the mask. The CPAP face mask, also called the full face mask, covers the entire face starting from the bridge of the nose to the lower lip covering the chin. A typical CPAP face mask usually has additional straps at the forehead and mouth for secure fitting.
Types of CPAP masks: falling short of expectations
For mouth breathers, the CPAP face mask is most apt. However, despite its efficacy, one of the typical problems faced by users is discomfort due to the straps being too tight or too loose. A snug-fit mask prevents air leaks. Another problem is air leaks. This is mainly due to the wrong adjustment of the mask. All that is needed to be done is some readjustment of the straps. Some users complain of claustrophobia although feeling claustrophobic is normal in the initial phases. It normally eases out with time and practice. Minor skin irritations could arise because of a leaky or sweating around the mask. Cleansing and subsequent drying of the CPAP face mask solves this problem. Perhaps one of the biggest limiting factor of CPAP face mask is its restrictions on sleep posture. This type of mask only allows the user to sleep on the back.