After snoring for more years than you are willing to admit, you finally sought out a diagnosis and treatment. Verdict, as you suspected all along, was obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which basically means that you stop breathing a number of times during the night. The disease is caused by an obstruction in your airway and your doctor recommended continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This treatment is touted to get you much-needed rest and oxygen to your brain so you can function without being fatigued and out of it. You aren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of wearing a mask over your face all night but you are willing to give it a whirl. But there are so many choices with regard to CPAP masks! Which one is right for you?
The Wide Variety of CPAP Masks
CPAP therapy is considered the gold standard of sleep apnea treatment but unfortunately a huge drawback to success is actual compliance. Currently, experts believe that over 50 percent of patients who were given a CPAP machine for treatment are not compliant. Consistent nightly use of CPAP therapy does not occur and ultimately, many just stop treatment all together. Unfortunately, when sleep apnea sufferers cease therapy, their untreated sleep apnea leaves them at high risk for a host of deadly health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and failure, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
With a wide variety of CPAP masks to choose from, like Goldilocks, there is bound to be one right just for you. Yet, one of the most important aspects of choosing the right CPAP mask is the proper size and fit. After all, we are all unique individuals and a mask that one sleep apnea sufferer swears by might not work for someone else. CPAP masks are definitely not one size or style fits all. In addition for compliance success, it is important that your CPAP mask properly fits your face. Making sure that the mask is snug will alleviate one common compliant: a leaky mask.
Thankfully, there is a wide variety of styles of CPAP masks but most fall into two main categories.
Nasal Masks: There are two versions of this type of CPAP mask. The nasal pillow supplies the air pressure directly underneath the nose with side straps keeping the CPAP therapy in place. Think MP3 earbuds, but instead of listening to music, the nasal pillow plugs into your nose to deliver air. The other is a true mask fitting just the nasal area with less coverage over your face. With a ball-cap type strap, this is how the mask stays put. A nasal pillow mask is a great option if you suffer from claustrophobia. In addition, if you want to read or watch television, this CPAP mask allows you to do so without a problem.
Full Face Masks: As the name implies, this type of mask covers the nose and mouth and stays put throughout the night with straps crossing your forehead and cheeks. If you are a mouth breather, this type is probably an excellent choice for you.
In concert with CPAP masks are the associated headgear, which also come in a variety of styles, sizes, colors and materials. However, some masks will only work with specific headgear. In addition, there are adjustable pads for the mask and various types of straps.
If you are still not sold and worried about your CPAP compliance, it might be time to learn about radiofrequency ablation treatment, which can cure your sleep apnea. Please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a consultation.