Many people nowadays suffer from serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. This condition is characterized by abnormal breathing during sleep. In other words, people who have untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. This, in turn, means that the brain, as well as the rest of the body, may not get enough oxygen. Such temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and can lead to some serious health consequences.
Wondering what are the warning signs of sleep apnea? Well, aside from the episodes of stopped breathing during sleep, you may also notice abrupt awakening accompanied by gasping or choking, waking up with a dry mouth, loud snoring, tiredness even after a full night’s sleep on the highest-quality bamboo sheets, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating during the day, nighttime sweating, etc.
There are three main types of sleep apnea. The first and most common type is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which occurs when the throat muscles relax. The second type is Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) which occurs when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. The third type is Complex Sleep Apnea, which is, in fact, a combination of the first two types, i.e. Complex Sleep Apnea occurs when someone has both OSA and CSA.
In addition to lifestyle changes and choosing a quality mattress for sleeping, people suffering from sleep apnea will also need to seek treatment that helps keep their airway open during sleep. An integral element of CPAP therapy is the CPAP mask that maintains the seal of pressurized airflow. These masks come in many styles and sizes to comfortably treat your sleep apnea. Everyone has different needs, face shapes, and preferences, and you may need to try different mask styles in order to find the one that will best work for you. Sleep apnea masks must fit comfortably to ensure quality sleep, so let’s see how many different CPAP mask types are there.
Nasal CPAP masks, like all the other CPAP mask types, are connected to the CPAP machine by a flexible hose. These are comfortable CPAP masks that are worn over the nose, and as they are triangular in shape, they cover your face from the bridge of your nose to your upper lip. These masks attach to your head with four-point headgear. Nasal masks are adequate for those who breathe only through the nose at night. Plus, they are so minimal and this makes them suitable for side sleepers. On the other hand, people who partially breathe through the mouth and prefer the lower coverage of the nasal mask, their mask should be used in conjunction with a chinstrap. These masks work well for patients who need higher pressure settings on their CPAP machine.
If you’re wondering how long does a sleep apnea mask last, you may ask. Generally, these masks should be replaced once every six months or when it begins to leak or rip. While using it, it’s also important to care for it properly, meaning you should wash it daily. You can do it with water and soap, and then let it air dry, or you can use mask wipes. When it comes to the cushion of the mask, it recommended to replace it once every three months or sooner if it begins to lose its shape or seal.
Nasal Pillows Masks
These are the smallest type of CPAP mask with the least amount of facial coverage. Nasal pillow masks only cover the base of your nostrils with soft nasal pillows and are attached to the head with headgear. They are adequate for people who only breathe through the nose at night, but if a is added, this type of CPAP machine masks can also be used by people whose mouths are open at night. Using such a chin strap will keep the mouth closed, thus allowing people who may partially breathe through the mouth to enjoy the minimal coverage of the nasal pillow mask.
Nasal pillow masks work best with low-to-moderate pressure settings, because the airflow that is direct to the nostrils may be uncomfortable at high settings. These masks are recommended for patients who experience claustrophobia when wearing larger masks. Also, this is a preferred type of CPAP mask by patients who want a full field of vision for reading or watching TV, who want to wear glasses, and people who have facial hair that interferes with other masks.
Full face sleep apnea masks cover the patient’s mouth and nose. They cover a larger area of the face to create a CPAP seal over both airways. While some people find these masks more comfortable as they can breathe more naturally, others find them to be too claustrophobic. They are the perfect solution for patients that require higher pressures. When it comes to the cleaning part, it’s the same for all types of CPAP masks – with soap and warm water, or with mask wipes.