Suffering from a sleeping disorder is quite common nowadays. In fact, did you know that nearly 25 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea regularly? Medically known as OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), this condition can take a serious toll on the patient’s quality of life, inducing discomfort and a myriad of health problems. While CPAP therapy has shown its healing benefits over the years, too often, people fail to get the right kind of mask to go with their machine for maximum efficacy. If you suffer from this ailment, worry no more.
This dedicated guide explores the topic of sleep apnea and CPAP therapy with an emphasis on the types of CPAP masks, how to use them, and what you can expect from them.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Defined
OSA is a widespread condition. In simple terms, afflicted patients experience difficulties keeping steady breathing during their sleep. At fault is the relaxing of the muscles located at the back of the throat; when this occurs, the airways narrow and air can hardly pass through, causing oxygen insufficiency. The person suddenly awakens from their sleep, choking and gasping for air. Depending on the severity, this pattern can take place up to 30 times per hour.
How CPAP Therapy Works
However impairing OSA may be, fortunately, several modern therapies have proven their effectiveness to date; the most popular being continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). It uses a machine linked to a flexible tube and a face apparatus (face mask, nasal plug) to deliver constant air pressure. A CPAP helps patients maintain steady breathing and keeps their airways open to prevent interruptions during sleep. Because the lungs are continuously oxygenated, OSA patients can regain peaceful, quality sleep.
The Different Types of CPAP Masks
The style of mask a person wears with their CPAP machine matters greatly. Choosing the wrong type can promote discomfort while sleeping, a sense of bulkiness, and hinder the positive effects of CPAP therapy. As the sleep experts at https://snoozeez.com/ explain, CPAP face apparatuses come in various forms to cater to different breathing habits and the type of sleep apnea in question. Size, face shape, and sleeping habits are also important to factor in. While consulting a specialist and doing online research is essential, we’ve highlighted the three main categories of masks available on the market below:
Full Face Masks
A full face mask is a triangle-shaped one that entirely covers the mouth and nose. Typically, they’re prescribed to patients who have trouble breathing through both openings during sleep to maximize oxygenation. People who experience nose blockages can benefit immensely from this type; on the downside, it can be quite bulky, so it’s more suitable for steady, back sleepers.
As the name suggests, nasal masks only cover the nose area. They’re cushioned for optimal comfort and stability, and can be used by patients with fidgety sleep. A nasal mask comes equipped with straps around the back of the head or ears for steadiness.
Nasal Pillow Masks
A nasal pillow mask is perhaps the least invading and most affordable type of CPAP mask; it’s easily worn with glasses and won’t bother patients with beards. It also may come with prongs to fit into the nostrils for maximum snugness, and will satisfy those who switch positions during their slumber. In the end, some testing and comparing is in order to select the most fitting CPAP therapy mask. Be sure to conduct some research and find reliable sources to guide your choice.
Advantages and Results
A recent study has suggested that over 8 out of 10 OSA patients, with varying degrees of severity, do experience immediate improvements during their sleep with a CPAP machine. Wearing the right type of mask every night promotes the elimination of breathing obstructions and snoring, improves sleep quality by a significant margin, lowers blood pressures, and prevents daytime drowsiness.
Lastly, but importantly, wearing a CPAP mask does have its disadvantages. For a number of patients, it’s a difficult adjustment to be able to sleep properly with a mask, sometimes causing insomnia or difficulty finding sleep. Others might have trouble tolerating forced air through their mouth and/or nose. Nevertheless, with adequate apparatus and air pressure, wearing a CPAP mask should be a breeze!
All things considered, it’s fair to say that dealing with obstructive sleep apnea is no easy feat. That said, people who’ve undergone CPAP therapy swear by this method; they can expect drastic improvements in their respiratory patterns and much better sleep quality. It all boils down to the severity of the condition, and of course, which type of CPAP mask you wear. As such, never wait to seek professional help.