It is true that only 50 to 60% first time users of CPAP therapy continue with the treatment after 5 or 6 months. The rest of the people are compelled to discontinue with the therapy, primarily because of problems they face with the mask. Since the mask is a vital factor for increasing patient-compliance, it is important that you know exactly how to go about choosing the best mask for CPAP so that you are not forced to give up the therapy midway. Here are some solid tips to help you get started:
- Choosing the best mask for CPAP is a decision that depends on several factors including the doctors’ recommendation; your preferred sleeping postures (back, sides, on the stomach); head measurements; and breathing patterns (through nose, mouth or both)
- The keys to selecting the masks involve: testing the mask before buying for the best fit and choosing a mask that is slightly smaller than something that is big and loose.
- Though some of the best CPAP masks are available online, for starters, it is best to buy them from shops, so that you can try them out before making the purchase.
- Sleep apnea patients differ not only in terms of severity of their conditions but also in terms by their facial contours and the causes for developing the condition. This makes choosing the best mask for CPAP a very personal decision and the best person to take the decision is the user.
- One of the most befitting masks for starters is the nasal apnea breathing mask that covers the entire nose and is kept secured to the head with the help of an elastic strap. However you may also go for a mask that has a nasal cushion, as these may be more comfortable to wear.
- Recommended for mouth breathers, the full face sleep apnea mask is amongst the best. These masks cover both the mouth and the nose.
How to ensure optimal performance
While there is no dearth of choices while choosing the best mask for CPAP, you need to pay special attention to the following issues, for optimal performance:
- The only way to be sure that the mask is delivering the recommended amount of air pressure is to buy a product that offers a tight seal. The mask should fill all the tiny spaces around your nose and mouth, so that there are no air leaks.
- Buy the optimum size of mask that is neither too tight nor too loose. Loose straps allow air leakage while over-tight straps may result in snapping of the seal.
- The straps of the headgear should be flexible enough to allow you to sleep in your preferred sleeping position.
- For optimizing the mask performance never buy tubing longer than 12 feet. Tubes longer than this may not be able to sustain the air pressure.
- If dry skin is causing air leakage, use special moisturizers, created exclusively for mask users.
- While choosing the best mask for CPAP, try the mask while lying down and not while erect. Also, try the mask with the requisite amount of air pressure, as prescribed your doctor.