Featured Image Caption: CPAP Mask for Sleep Apnea
A CPAP mask is worn over the mouth, nose, both the nose and mouth, or at the base of each nostril. When the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is operational, it sends air from the machine through a hose and into the patient’s throat to assist breathing during sleep.
There are 3 different types of CPAP masks available:
- A nasal mask is placed on the nose bridge. Either the bottom half or the entire nose will be concealed by the mask.
- Nasal pillow masks form a seal at the nostril base of the patient. If you have facial hair then your doctor may recommend a nasal pillow mask.
- Full face masks are held in place by 4-point headgear and will form a tight seal around the mouth and nose of the patient. If you do not breathe through your mouth then your doctor may recommend a full face mask.
Here, we will discuss CPAP accessories, sleep apnea and how you can overcome discomfort while using a CPAP machine.
Why do you need CPAP masks?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends CPAP machines as the most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Your doctor or a board certified sleep expert can prescribe a CPAP machine for you.
Obstructive sleep apnea may cause your airway to collapse while you sleep. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea may cause heart failure, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and/or death.
A CPAP machine will help treat your obstructive sleep apnea by providing a gentle and constant flow of oxygen into your mouth and nose. As a result, your airway will not collapse while you are sound asleep.
CPAP masks benefit people with sleep apnea in many ways, and may even save their lives when used properly.
What are the discomforts of using CPAP masks?
Some people may suffer from irritation as a result of their CPAP mask. Adjustments can be made to the mask, and most people will get used to the irritation after a week or so of use. Congestion may also be an issue, especially if the person is sick or suffers from allergies.
Dry eyes are also somewhat common with certain CPAP masks, and trouble exhaling may be an issue, depending on the pressure administered by the machine.
People may have some trouble sleeping during the first week of use, as it will take some time for the patient to adjust to their new sleeping position. Some patients also report having a dry mouth upon awakening.
Accessories to reduce the discomfort due to CPAP masks
Heated CPAP tubing will distribute air that is heated in a comfortable manner. You can adjust the temperature to the perfect level to maximize your comfort. Heated CPAP tubing is designed to reduce mouth dryness, nasal dryness and overall irritation.
Mask liners are made with a very comfortable and soft fabric. They form a barrier between the skin and the mask lining. The mask liner is designed to prevent leaks as well as red marks that may be caused by mask pressure. Any excess oil on the skin will also be absorbed by the liner.
CPAP pillows are designed especially for CPAP patients. They include a cutout design so that the hose parts of the device as well as the CPAP mask itself can be accommodated. CPAP pillows work exceptionally well for those who sleep on their side or on their stomach.
Hose holders will prevent tubing from becoming entangled. Tangled tubing may cause some patients great discomfort. If you want to avoid tangles or pulls to your mask while you sleep then hose holders will help. They will help enhance your freedom of motion or movement.
Mask wipes will disinfect and clean your CPAP accessories and masks. Oily and dirty CPAP cushions can cause irritation and leaks. If you want to remove germs, dirt and dust from your CPAP masks and accessories so that you can sleep without issues then mask wipes will help.
Nasal pads are designed to help new CPAP patients adjust quicker to their CPAP machines. Discomfort around the nasal bridge is common for new CPAP patients. Also, if you have sensitive skin then you may notice rashes and irritation near the nasal bridge after long-term use.
Nasal pads will help improve the overall comfort of your CPAP mask. They will also prevent facial sores from developing, and will reduce mask leaks while preventing skin irritation in the process. Speak to your doctor to determine if nasal pads are right for you.
CPAP power adaptors and batteries are a must if you travel frequently. A DC power cord can be affixed to the cigarette lighter in your vehicle. A battery cable adaptor can also be directly connected to a power source if your cigarette lighter is defective.
If you travel frequently to European countries such as Germany or France, you should get International power adaptors – and portable battery packs are available if you decide to go camping in an area that does not have convenient access to electricity.
There are literally hundreds of different accessories to choose from for people who own CPAP masks and machines. Please speak to a board-certified sleep specialist or your doctor if you want to learn more about CPAP accessories.
A proper sleep test must be conducted in order to determine your condition as well as its severity. Afterwards, the sleep expert will prescribe a CPAP mask and machine for you as well as suggest specific CPAP accessories in order to maximize your comfort while you sleep.
Discomfort and irritation are common for first-time CPAP users. There are many accessories that can be used in order to reduce irritation, maximize comfort, and eliminate germs, dirt, and other allergens that may cause issues while you sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that should not be left untreated. Please speak to your doctor if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep. The only way to determine the cause of your insomnia is via specialized sleep and stress tests.
By Erin Gregory
who is a blogger in Toronto. She is currently working as a Community Manager for several small businesses. She has graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.