When you have sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine as a form of treatment. For it to work effectively, you need to use it every night and be comfortable when wearing it. And part of that entails choosing the right mask.
But with so many different styles, shapes, and sizes of mask to choose from, how do you know where to start? It really is a matter of knowing what types of mask are out there and then trying different ones until you find the best one for yourself. Here are the basics of the three main types of masks that are available:
- Nasal pillow mask: Because of their simple and small design, these masks tend to be a very popular choice. It rests on your upper lip to blow gently pressurized air through two soft tubes that are inserted into your nostrils. Straps go around your head to secure the pillow mask in place.
- Nasal mask: These triangular masks sit over the bridge of your nose down to your upper lip. Because they come in many sizes and fits, they too are popular with CPAP users.
- Full face mask: As the name suggests, this type covers the nose, mouth, and either all or part of the face. It is secured with straps at the side. Some versions cover the mouth but also have nasal prongs like the nasal pillow mask.
Whichever type of mask you choose, always take the size, fit, and comfort of the mask into serious consideration. You don’t have to stay with one mask if you don’t like it or if it is not improving your sleep apnea. Take the time to find the right mask for you, and ask questions of your technician to guide you in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to change your mind – your sleep depends on the perfect mask!