CPAP Mask Sizing Guide and Maintence
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks and headgear come in many styles and sizes to comfortably treat your sleep apnea. Everyone has different needs and face shapes, so you may need to research a variety of CPAP masks before finding the right one for you. If you have been a particular size from in one manufacturer CPAP mask that doesn't mean you'll be the same size in others.
Here's a look at a few CPAP masks and possible benefits of each. Work closely with your doctor and CPAP mask supplier to make sure you have a mask that suits your needs and fits you.
Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks
CPAP Nasal Pillows have become very popular in the last few years. Like nasal masks they are recommended for use by patients who sleep with their mouths closed and are able to exhale through the nares. Nasal pillows are very small in size and have two flexible pieces, similar two a mushroom cap. The pillows fit gently into the nostrils and attach to an adaptor that fastens to the CPAP tubing. Rather than wearing a triangular mask that rests on the upper lip, nose, or cheeks. Users that suffer from allergies to interface materials, claustrophobia, patients with mustaches and beards as well as those who have a narrow nose bridge and shorter faces normally prefer nasal pillows to a mask because the pillows do not rest directly on the above mentioned areas.
Innovative devices have been designed for patients requiring positive ventilation therapy that allows the user freedom to speak, eat, drink, and wear eyeglasses without removing the device. The under nose reservoir is positioned across the patient's upper lip with the nasal inserts positioned in patient's nares. The tubing drapes comfortably over the patient's ears similar to that of a nasal cannula, thus stabilizing the under nose reservoir with the extremely lightweight "Y" coupling that rests on the patients chest, eliminating the need for uncomfortable straps and headgear. A Pillow Mask will normally consist of a durable plastic frame that supports the soft nasal pillow cushions that attaches to adjustable headgear.
If you have been prescribed a CPAP setting of 10 cmh20 or higher, CPAP Nasal Pillows are not recommended. Experienced CPAP users agree a Nasal Mask is a more comfortable option.
Nasal CPAP Masks
Nasal CPAP Masks are the most popular masks used by CPAP patients. They are triangular in shape and rest gently over the nose, accompanied by a forehead strap and or pad that rest above the eyebrow giving added stability. If your CPAP setting is 10 cmh20 and higher the nasal CPAP Mask is recommended. The Nasal Mask is suggested for CPAP users that sleep with their mouths closed and are able to exhale through the nares. The Nasal Mask is easy to use and comfortable while providing a constant stream of pressurized air that keeps the user’s airway from collapsing, thus minimizing the possibility of apneas. The smaller interface is often preferred over a Full Face Mask. Patients that find the Nasal pillows uncomfortable at higher pressures will find Nasal Masks to deliver a more comfortable and beneficial Sleep Therapy Treatment.
A Nasal Mask will normally consist of a durable plastic frame that supports a soft nasal pillow that attaches to adjustable headgear.
Remember, even if you don't mouth breathe, you may still be experiencing mask leaks. Any leak may contribute to decreased treatment effectiveness and consequently create symptoms of poor therapy and health. Speak with one of our associates today if you suspect a leak.
Full Face CPAP Mask
Full Face CPAP Masks cover both your nose and mouth. If you mouth breathe or have mouth leaks, then a Full Face Mask will provide a number of benefits over a nasal mask. A full face mask will prevent air loss that can compromise treatment, and offer a resolution to dry throat and nose problems. If you mouth breathe or have leaks, you will not be receiving your full treatment pressure with a Nasal Mask, consequently you may not be getting the full benefits of your Sleep Therapy Treatment.
A Full Face Mask will normally consist of a durable plastic frame that supports a soft inner cushion that with minimal pressure rest against the face. The head gear is available with with few points of contact to the face or with forehead straps.
Remember, even if you don't mouth breathe, you may still be experiencing mouth and mask leaks. Any leak may contribute to decreased treatment effectiveness and consequently create symptoms of poor therapy and health. Speak with one of our associates today if you suspect a leak.
Deciding on a CPAP Mask
Below is list of CPAP Mask manufacturers we personally work with and can honestly comment on their strengths and weaknesses:
Do not choose your CPAP by price. This is not an effective way to choose a mask that you will be wearing night after night. In no way does the price indicate how well the mask will contour to your face or perform for you.
If you are having a difficult time deciding on a mask that will best work for you, a CPAP expert is available to help assist you. 1-877-774-9271.
It is recommended that patients are first fitted for a CPAP mask at a physical location, sleep doctor or sleep center. If you are planning on sizing yourself you may want to have a friend or family member measure too. Two exact measurements are better than one! A proper fitting mask is more important than a CPAP machine full of bells and whistles. If your mask is leaking, you are not receiving quality sleep therapy. A quality mask, in the correct size, will provide a restful sleep and a more productive tomorrow. We offer a mask sizing guide to measure your nose and or face; however there are slight differences in sizes between manufacturers and models. We can offer assistance over the phone 1-877-774-9271 or by email [email protected]. Please take the time to measure correctly. We do not accept returns on opened masks. We have no mask exchange policy. A mask is a personal item that is worn by only one person. Once a mask package is opened, it is no longer resalable; therefore we will not offer a refund or exchange.
This is a guide to help you select the correct size mask system. There is no guaranty on mask sizing from using this information. No refunds will be given on any "opened" mask purchase. Measure carefully. Actual Sizing templates are available by e-mail or download. We would be happy to send you one! (Specify full face or nasal mask template)
NASAL MASK: Measure your actual nose size from top to bottom and side to side.
(NOTE: Some masks only come in a few sizes, so you will have to choose the closest one)
Petite: 1.5" tall, 1.5" wide
Small: 1.75" tall, 1.5" wide
Medium-Small: 2" tall, 1.5" wide
Medium Wide: 1.75" tall, 2" wide
Medium: 2" tall, 1.75" wide
Large: 2.25" tall, 2" wide
Large Narrow: 2.5" tall, 1.5" wide
Shallow: 2" tall, 1.75" wide, 1.25" deep or less
Standard: 1.75" to 2" tall, 1.75" wide
FULL FACE MASK: Measure straight down from the middle of your pupil to just below the lower lip. It may help to imagine a horizontal line extended from your lower lip to beneath your eye, so that you can measure straight down from your pupil.
1. Measure the width of your mouth in a natural position. (i.e. not smiling)
2. Make sure top fits at bridge of nose, and bottom covers mouth completely.
Small: 3.25" tall, 2.75" wide
Medium: 3.5" tall, 3.25" wide
Large: 4.25" tall, 3.25" wide
HANS RUDOLPH FULL FACE: Measure from top of nose to bottom of chin.
Petite: 3.5" tall
Extra Small: 4" tall
Small: 4.25" to 4.5" tall
Medium: 4.5" to 5" tall
Large: 5" tall
CPAP Mask Fit and Adjustment
Once you have chosen your CPAP mask and style that best fits your unique facial contour, you will need to make the adjustments needed for a proper fit before your first slap therapy. Try sitting on the side of your bed, turn your CPAP machine on and place the mask on your face with the straps loose. Position yourself in bed as you would any other evening. With your head on the pillow, slowly and gently pull the straps to the point that feels comfortable and no leaks are present. Be patient it may take a few attempts but you will get it!
Maintenance of your CPAP Mask
The standard treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. When you first begin to use CPAP, there is often a degree of information overload. The maintenance needed for the care of your CPAP machine is minimal yet important in maintaining good health, sleep therapy and long life of your machine.
Cleaning your CPAP Mask:
1. Unplug your CPAP machine from its power source, as there may be a danger of electrical shock if you do not.
2. Although there are many types of masks that can be used with CPAP machines, these generally deliver air through the nose or mouth. Rather than providing separate instructions for each type, all of these shall be generically called a “mask.” Disconnect your mask from the CPAP tubing. If your mask has a headgear, detach it. If there are other pieces that are easily reattached, these also can be separated.
3. Remove the CPAP tubing from any connectors, the humidifier, or from the CPAP machine itself, if it connects directly.
4. If you have one, remove the humidifier unit from the CPAP machine, and separate it into its pieces (if this is easily done).
5. Take a soft cloth and wet it with warm water. Gently wipe down the external surface of the CPAP machine. (Again, make certain it is unplugged while cleaning.)
6. Fill a small sink, tub, or basin with warm water. Add a small amount of gentle dish soap.
7. Submerge the mask, headgear, tubing, and connectors in the warm soapy water. Allow it to soak for a short period of time (about 30 minutes). Alternatively, wipe out the mask with a soft cloth and warm water, and swish soapy water through the tubing. Allow everything to air dry on a towel. These items should ideally be cleaned every day.
8. The humidifier should be cleaned with hot water and mild soap. It should also be allowed to air dry. Remember to only put distilled water in the humidifier. If you do not, there is an increased risk of illness as well as the probability that hard minerals will build up on your equipment. The humidifier should ideally be cleaned weekly.
9. Some CPAP machines have filters in place. It will be important to review your manufacturer’s instructions or ask your equipment provider about how these should be maintained. Some can be rinsed but others must be replaced, and the timing of this will vary depending on the environment you use the machine in.
10. Finally, after everything has been allowed to air dry, reassemble the various parts. Apply the headgear to your mask, hook the mask back onto the tubing and any connectors, and connect the tubing back to the humidifier or directly to the CPAP machine. Turn the machine on briefly and listen for any air leaks that weren’t there previously.
11. If you find that your sleep apnea symptoms have returned or you feel like your machine isn’t working right, bring it in to your equipment provider and have things checked out.
Tips for Cleaning your CPAP Mask:
1. It is important to keep your equipment clean. Remember that you are breathing whatever might be growing inside there.
2. If you have been sick recently, clean your equipment more often.
3. Remember to always follow the advice of your medical and equipment providers as well as the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your CPAP.
4. Never use any perfumes or cleaning solutions other than gentle soap on your equipment. These can irritate your lungs and make you sick. The humidifier must only contain distilled water.
5. It is likely not advisable to clean your equipment in a dishwasher or washing machine.
What You Need to Clean your CPAP Mask:
• CPAP equipment (mask, headgear, tubing, humidifier, CPAP machine)
• Soft cloth
• Warm water
• Dish soap (mild antibacterial is preferable)
• Small sink, tub, or basin
Your CPAP machine is only useful if it is used! Unfortunately some people really struggle with the nightly routine of putting on the mask, particularly when they have a loved one who shares their bed. Like most issues the solution is communication. Be open with your partner about your feelings and ensure they know the importance of your treatment. They need to understand that the CPAP machine is literally extending your life. The more you talk about the machine and acknowledge its existence the faster you will get over your embarrassment over using it. Remember, it is better than snoring!
Redness or Sore Spots on Face after Use
This is a common problem because the sleep apnea sufferer is wearing a mask tight to their face all night long. This can causes indentations in the skin around where the mask is pressing against your face and it may cause red sore spots where those pressure points exist. While most modern masks handle this pretty well there are a few things you can do:
• Loosen your straps slightly so that they are not too tight. Make sure that your mask is still snug enough to prevent air leaks, but not so tight that it hurts your skin.
• Consider buying pads that slip over your straps. Talk to your CPAP expert about options.
• Talk to your CPAP expert about trying a mask that will mold to the shape of your face.
In addition to the sore spots where the mask presses against your face you may also find that you develop acne at the same spots. You can help eliminate this problem by making sure your mask is clean. It is recommended that you wash it with a mild detergent every week and every night before you put your mask on wipe your face and mask. This will help prevent acne from appearing.
Red eyes continue snoring or stop breathing during sleep
If your partner reports that you are still snoring or stopping to breathe while sleeping or if you wake up with red eyes these are signs that your mask is not fitted properly and that air is leaking out. Here are some tips to address this problem:
• Adjust the straps and headgear on your mask to obtain a better fit.
• If you have had your mask for a while, check to make sure that it is not worn or torn.
• You may need to try a different size mask.
• A different type of mask may work better for you. Either a full face mask or nasal pillows may eliminate the air leaks.
• Talk to your doctor or CPAP expert about trying a mask that will mold to the shape of your face.
You wake with a dry throat or mouth.
You really only have two choices. Use a chin strap or get a full-face CPAP mask.
You seem to have more nasal congestion from using CPAP.
Nasal stuffiness is the most common side effect of CPAP therapy. You may also have a runny, itchy or dry nose, or nosebleeds. Nasal congestion often goes away after your first month of use. Keep in mind that many people with OSA naturally have an increased level of nasal congestion. This congestion is more common in the winter and during allergy season. It is not always a result of CPAP. Talk to your doctor if your congestion is severe, or if you have nasal, sinus or ear pain. The best solution is to invest in a CPAP humidifier. If you are not currently using a humidifier call our CPAP experts to assist in providing you with a solution.
Trouble breathing against the pressure.
CPAP therapy is applying a continuous flow of positive airflow that you breathe against, both on inhale and on exhale. For some this can be a difficult adjustment even though it is the basis for the treatment. This really is just a matter of adjustment, getting used to the machine. One way to solve this problem is to use the CPAP machine at various times throughout the day, even when awake like while watching television. Another way to solve this problem is to utilize the ramp feature of your CPAP machine which starts the pressure low and then gradually increases it. Setting the ramp to peak at 20 minutes may help experienced users say that they are asleep by the time the maximum pressure hits.