A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask connects to a CPAP machine to flow air into your lungs while you’re sleeping. CPAP treatment is most commonly prescribed for those with obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop during sleep. While CPAP has been proven effective, it can be hard for some people to get used to wearing a mask—or even the idea of wearing a mask. With so many varieties available today, the right one is likely out there
About 22 million people in the United States have sleep apnea, and a wide range of CPAP mask options have evolved to meet the need since they were first introduced in the 1980s. At a high level, there are three main types of CPAP masks. Small, lightweight nasal pillows rest on the nostrils and create a seal for airflow. Nasal CPAP masks cover the nose, extending from the bridge of the nose to the upper lip. Full face CPAP masks cover the nose, mouth, and all or part of the face, depending on the mask design. All masks have straps that go around the head to help keep them in place.
Your sleeping position is just one factor in considering the best mask for you. Some types flow air into your nose and mouth, and some only flow air to your nose which can be a problem for people who tend to breathe through their mouths when they sleep. The amount of air pressure the mask can handle is important, too. Work with your doctor to choose the best mask overall based on your treatment goals and medical history, including allergies that stuff up your nose. The right size, fit, and type of cushioning can also make or break how a CPAP mask feels.
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