Nasal CPAP masks rest easily over the nose, and provide a constant stream of pressurized air that keeps the user’s airway from collapsing, thus minimizing the possibility of apneas. Many users prefer the contour fit and ease of use. 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.
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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.
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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 normally prefer nasal pillows to a mask because the pillows do not rest directly on the above mentioned areas.
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What is CPAP?
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. As its name suggests it involves the uninterrupted flow of air under pressure into the airways, via either the nose, the mouth or both. CPAP can be used to treat a variety of breathing problems, most commonly obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when airways collapse during sleep preventing air from flowing in and out of the lungs. As well as causing noisy breathing (snoring) this can lead to tiredness and difficulty concentrating during the day because of sleep which is repeatedly interrupted. CPAP works by delivering a continuous flow of air which keeps airways open. This air is delivered through some form of mask or tubing on the face. In order for CPAP to work it is important that pressure is developed, and this usually means there needs to be a seal around the mask so that all of the air flow goes into the airways rather than escaping around the edges.
What different types of mask are available and which might suit me best?
There are three main types of CPAP mask, a full face mask, nasal mask and nasal pillows. Each of these works in a slightly different way, and has different advantages and disadvantages. Although there are factors which might suggest which mask may suit you best, there are no golden rules. The best way to find the ideal solution for you is by trial and error. There is no doubt that taking the time to choose carefully – and not being afraid to change your mind and try something new – is really important. Finding a mask which fits well and is comfortable is the best way to ensure you are happy to continue using it, and feel the benefits which CPAP can offer you.
As well as the basic mask design, there may be options to change the type of strap used to secure it (for example fabric held in place with Velcro or a plastic strap) and liners for the mask to improve the seal. Most masks come in a range of different sizes. Remember to keep asking about different options, and trying them out to see which solution is right for you. Please use our CPAP Mask Fitting Guide
to help you select the right CPAP mask.
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