There are many options to choose from when going through Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment. One of them, arguably the most important, is what kind of mask to wear. Your mask delivers your pressurized therapy air from your machine into your airway. For this reason, it’s very important that you choose a mask that fits your individual preferences, taking into account how you breathe and your comfort choices to provide a smooth transition into therapy.
Full Face Mask
Full face CPAP masks are the most full coverage mask option. They cover both your nose and mouth and are ideal for patients who breathe from both while sleeping. Many users of full face masks often toss and turn much more in their sleep, finding that the larger contact area of the mask helps keep it in place better throughout the night. Also noteworthy, these masks are a great option for men with facial hair, as their greater surface area helps keep your mask snug even with a mustache or beard.
Nasal CPAP masks are essentially a smaller version of a full face mask, however they only cover the nose. These masks are great for those who breathe solely through their nose while sleeping, and are still a good option if you toss and turn as the triangle shape helps keep your mask in place. These masks can be used in conjunction with a chin strap in order to ensure minimal pressure leakage if your mouth happens to open during the night.
Nasal Pillow Mask
Nasal pillow masks are the smallest mask option. They insert two soft pillows at the base of the nostrils to deliver your therapy. These masks have a very light footprint and are great for people who stay relatively still while sleeping, as well as those who have found the larger mask options to be too intrusive on their comfort level. Nasal pillow masks can also be used alongside a chin strap to eliminate pressure leakage through the mouth.
Oral masks are a relatively new design that inserts into the mouth between the lips and the teeth. These masks have helped fill the void for users who breath solely through the mouth while sleeping, where previously these users would need to purchase a full face mask even if they didn’t breath through the nose at night. Oral masks are held sturdily in place thanks to the way they fit around the lip and are a good option for those who find straps too near their eyes to be uncomfortable.
Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to your CPAP mask options out there, but hopefully you now have a better idea of your choices. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.
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