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How to Choose the Right CPAP Mask
There is a whole range of CPAP mask brands, sizes and brands and what works for one users does not mean will work on another one. This is due to the differences in the shape and size of a user’s face as well as on his requirements and preferences. For the perfect fit, the best thing to do is to try on the CPAP mask or headgear personally. Currently, there are three main types of CPAP masks available and they are nasal mask, full face mask and nasal pillow, with the latter being the least obtrusive.
A nasal pillow mask has a triangular shape. This piece is positioned over the nose and efficiently covers the areas starting from the nose’s bridge down to the upper lip of the user. This type of CPAP mask is very popular as it is available in a whole range of sizes and fittings. With a nasal mask, the user experiences a more natural airflow because it is not directed to the nasal passage. This way, a higher air pressure setting is agreeable. A nasal mask is fitted with suction cups to keep the mask secure during sleep therapy.
This type of mask is not advisable to mouth-breathers except when a chin strap is used to prevent the user’s jaws from opening. However, this mask has the tendency to irritate the forehead and nose bridge of the user. A CPAP nasal mask is not recommended for OSA patients with enlarged turbinate, collapsed narrowed nasal valve and deviated septum.
Full Face Mask
A CPAP full face mask covers the mouth, nose and parts of the user’s face. There are now full face masks with nasal tubes that are positioned into the nasal passage. A full face mask serves OSA patients who are mouth-breathers and for those who cannot adjust to nasal mask and nasal pillow mask. A full face mask works best for OSA patients who have nasal congestion. Though those with a level of claustrophobia cannot tolerate full face masks, there are those who do. This type of mask works in synch with high pressure setting due to the wider area of the mask which somehow dissipates the force of air pressure. A full face mask is best for those who sleep on their back.
However, it should be noted that a full face mask has an increase incidence of air leaks because of its wider surface area. Any air leakage at the mask’s top is most likely to cause dry and irritated eyes. Also, reading and watching TV is fairly impossible to do while using a full face mask.
Before you buy a CPAP mask, make sure to fit it first. The mask should not only fit you perfectly but also comfortably. You should also consider your required air pressure. In this connection, a consultation with a sleep doctor is a must.
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