Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

The Challenge of Proper CPAP Mask Choice

Posted by amykr on July 29, 2011

It is always a challenge when we have met a person for the first time and we ask a few questions and than we have to help them choose a mask that will work for him or her. This is a very interactive experience that can take a short period of time, or what usually happens is that it takes quite a bit of time making the decision. There are basically five ways to make this experience easier and more successful
1. You need to come in with your mind open. Many people go into the experience thinking they know what want in a mask. This may be because a friend has a CPAP and is successful with a mask they chose and so you figure it will work for you. It could also be because you went researching on the internet and thought the newest mask on their looked like something you want. The truth is that there are so many masks on the market because there are that many different needs for different people.
2. Claustrophobia does not mean that a smaller mask is a better mask. The fact is that nasal pillows and can sometimes feel stronger and make you feel more claustrophobic. A mask that allows you to breathe through your mouth may be more comfortable. There are masks on the market that do not block your line of vision and will make you feel more comfortable.
3. If you take steroids or blood thinners your skin will react differently to masks. Your skin will be more fragile. The person working with you needs to be aware of this so they can choose a mask that puts less pressure on the bridge of your nose. There are extra cushions if needed but the ideal is to find the right mask that does not put pressure on your face.
4. Do not be afraid to ask to try a different mask. You will be using this mask for a long period of time and you have the right to try as many masks as you want. You are not annoying the technologist. We would rather have someone tell us that there is a problem with the mask during the night than to find it out after the test when they cannot do anything about it.
5. If you think you will need time to get used to the mask and the therapy see if you can come in before the night of your study. In many labs they will have you come in for a PAP NAP during the day. They will allow you to trial masks and get used to the pressure during the day. It is a great opportunity to take your time and not feel the pressure of having to go to sleep on the machine right away.
CPAP therapy can help you to improve your health and allow you to feel more energetic. Being successful using the therapy requires that you find just the right mask whether it is a full face mask, nasal mask or nasal pillows. The goal is for you to find a mask that will allow you to sleep comfortably and breathe easily.

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