One of the primary tasks for a doctor treating a sleep apnea patient is to restore obstruction-free breathing so that the victim can get immediate relief from recurrent breathlessness during sleep – a prominent symptom of the sleep disorder.
To achieve this objective, the doctor relies on CPAP therapy, where CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Air Pressure. Incidentally, CPAP therapy has been identified as one of the most effective therapy options for sleep apnea by the American Sleep Apnea Association.
What is CPAP therapy?
This therapy involves pumping in pre-measured pressurized air directly in to the lungs of the patient in order to keep it open during sleep. It does so with the help of composite CPAP equipment that consists of the device, the CPAP masks that act as conduits for carrying the pressurized air into the lungs from the device and hose that connect the mask to the device.
Criticality of CPAP masks
The component which holds the main key to the success or failure of CPAP therapy is the CPAP mask for the following reasons:
• Comfort of fitting is important for the mask user. In case the user does not feel comfortable using this item, discontinuation of therapy is inevitable.
• The therapy is rendered completely ineffective in case of air leakage from the CPAP masks. Therefore, choosing the best mask for CPAP becomes the most important factor for ensuring continuation of therapy and subsequent success. CPAP Machines
CPAP masks: to each unto his own
People sleep differently and breathe differently too. While some like to sleep more on the back, some prefer to turn on his or her sides; similarly, some use the nose for breathing while others use the mouth. Hence it is imperative that before buying CPAP masks such preferences be kept in mind in order to ensure least resistance during usage.
Tips on choosing the best mask for CPAP:
• Keep in mind the sleeping posture, head circumference and breathing patterns
• Test the mask for best fit. One size smaller usually ensures snug fit.
• Though online purchase is possible, for first time users, buying it from a off-line retailer makes more sense.
• The best mask for beginners is the nasal mask that covers the entire nose and is kept secured with the help of an elastic strap. Some nasal masks have nasal cushion as accessory that ensure more comfort.
• The full face sleep apnea mask is the best option for mouth breathers.
While you go through the tips on choosing the best mask for CPAP, here are some additional tips to ensure the best performance from such CPAP masks:
• Masks with tight seal are the best. The mask should ideally fill all the small spaces around the nose and mouth to prevent any possible air leaks.
• A mask should be neither too loose nor too tight.
• Straps and headgear should allow you to choose your preferred sleeping position.
• The tubing should never go beyond 12 feet as longer tubes cannot sustain air pressure for too long.