How To Find the Right CPAP Machine for You
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when loose tissue in the throat relaxes at night, cutting off your air supply. This causes periodic breathing stoppages and prevents you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Left untreated, it can contribute to severe health problems.
In the past, the only treatment options for sleep apnea were surgical. Fortunately, within the past four decades or so, conservative treatment measures have been discovered and developed. One of the most common of these is continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP is very effective, and recent developments have made it more comfortable to use.
How Does a CPAP Machine Work
A CPAP machine does not use concentrated oxygen. Rather, it takes in air from the room through a filter and pressurizes it to between four and 25 centimeters of water pressure as prescribed by your sleep specialist. A CPAP machine has a hose that connects it to a mask that you wear over your face, such as a FitLife full face CPAP mask. The stream of pressurized air blowing from the machine to the mask and down your throat or nasal passages holds back the tissues that collapse and cause obstructive sleep apnea. This keeps your airway open so that you can breathe consistently and sleep more soundly, with less strain on your vital organs and tissues due to oxygen depletion.
Difference Between Full Face Mask & Nasal Only
There are several different styles of CPAP masks available, but the most common are full-face masks that cover both your mouth and nose and a nasal mask that covers your nose only. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Full-face masks, such as a Quattro CPAP mask, are good for people who have nasal congestion that makes it harder for them to breathe through their nose, as well as someone who habitually breathes through the mouth while sleeping. They cover the greatest surface area and are not good for people who sleep on their stomachs or have claustrophobia.
A nasal CPAP seals around the nose, leaving the mouth completely free. To hold it in place, the mask requires that you wear straps around your head. It is less invasive than a full-face mask but can cause irritation on the bridge of the nose and is not good for people who require high-pressure CPAP treatment or have a lot of facial hair.
Another option is a CPAP hybrid mask that combines some of the advantages of the various types of masks. It fits over your mouth but rests just under your nose with a nasal interface. This seals around your nostrils and delivers the airflow to your nasal passages without covering up your nose.
What Is the Biggest Consideration in Choosing a CPAP Mask?
While your doctor may prescribe you a specific CPAP machine, the choice of mask may be up to you. The single most important consideration is that the mask be comfortable for you to wear while you sleep. If it is not, you may be tempted to go to bed without it or take it off during the night. Shopping for CPAP supplies online is easy and convenient.