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Types of CPAP Masks

types of cpap masksThere many types of CPAP masks to meet just about everyone’s needs. We all have different size faces, mouth, nose etc. We also all have individual preferences . This leads to several different types of masks in a variety of sizes so that they will fit multiple user’s. The picture on the left shows the main types of masks, which include:

  • A full face mask
  • A nose mask
  • A nasal pillow mask

All have straps attached to them which will fit around your head and hold the mask, whichever kind, tightly to your face. Remember the CPAP machine will supply air pressure. Your CPAP mask must provide a good seal around the mask so that no air escapes.

Types of CPAP Masks

In some cases CPAP patients will need to try several masks before they find one that they are comfortable with. I use the nasal pillow mask which  I like very much. It fits under my nose and has two outlets which fit into my nostrils and provide an air tight seal. A friend of mine who also uses a CPAP machine, prefers a mask that covers his nose instead. Another acquaintance uses the full face mask which covers the nose and mouth. He is a mouth breather and has to use this type of mask. Your respiratory therapist will help you evaluate which mask is best for you based on your sleep study results and your own personal preferences.

Replacing Your Mask

Regardless of which mask you select, they usually need to be replaced every 6 months or so.  They tend to wear out and the plastic becomes less flexible due to body oils etc on the mask. the mask should be washed every day in mild soapy water and the hoses and straps should be washed once per week to keep them clean and to prolong their life.

If you have health insurance most insurance companies will help to pay for these devices and masks as well as the replacement tubing and face masks. Most pay in the range of 80% of the cost, however this can vary quite a bit. Check with your health insurance for details on what is covered.

The First Time Wear a CPAP Mask

You have been prescribed a CPAP and may have some concerns about wearing this mask on your face all night.  One spouse even called her husband Darth Vader when he has his mask on. However the quality and the amount of sleep you get from wearing this mask and using the CPAP machine will be well worth it.

Allow yourself up to a month to get used to wearing it and to get into the routine of preparing the mask , the distilled water for the humidifier and cleaning it in the morning. It may feel weird and uncomfortable in the beginning, however once you have that first good nights sleep you will actually wonder why you waited so long.

Adjust the tightness of the straps so that the mask makes a good seal around your face or into your nostrils in the case of a nasal pillow mask. Too tight and something is going to hurt in the morning. You will also have these marks on your face were the straps touch your face.

Too loose and air is going to escape out the sides of the mask. Not only is this air escaping irritating, there is less pressure on your airways and you may not receive the full benefit that is intended. It should be just tight enough to prevent air escaping, and loose enough so that it does not hurt.

Dry Mouth

I had a really dry mouth the first couple of times I used the CPAP machine. I have a humidifier on my machine and now have turned up the humidity to the maximum and also learned to keep my mouth shut as well. In addition there is a flap in your throat which directs air into your lungs and not into your stomach. Sometimes this flap does not work perfectly and air goes to your mouth which can dry out your mouth a lot. It can be as if there was sand paper in your mouth.

Try to remember to keep your mouth closed all of the time and if you cannot, then you may have to wear a chin strap to hold your mouth closed. If you are a mouth breather then a full face mask will likely be needed.

If the problem persists, then speak with your therapist or doctor to sort out what you should do to avoid a dry mouth.

Bottom line is that using the CPAP machine has vastly improved my quality of life, I am getting a good nights sleep now, I am not falling asleep while driving,  and I am even dreaming at night which I have not done for a really long time. Try it under a doctors direction and I am sure that this CPAP machine will help you too. For more information about CPAP masks, click here.


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2 Responses to “Types of CPAP Masks”

  1. I know a buddy who has a nasal cpap mask . He is very happy with it.

  2. I like the full cpap face mask myself. The one that fits on the end of your nose really does not work well fir me, each to their own

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