Full-Face or Nasal? Sorting through Old and New CPAP Masks to Find the Right One for You

hand holding cpap mask

The first models of CPAP masks were bulky; they’re composed of headgear, hoses, and nasal cups that might look too intimidating to wear for someone who wants to be relieved from sleep apnea. Some have designs that might keep you from sleeping comfortably. Luckily, new CPAP masks are being introduced into the market to suit the patients’ needs better.

Other than a full CPAP headgear, CPAP mouthpieces, CPAP nasal masks, and even CPAP without masks are now available in the market. To make sure that you’ll choose wisely among the CPAP masks available for you, here are the pros and cons of the common and new CPAP masks.

Common Features of CPAP Masks

Before getting into the details of different types, let us first lay down their common features.

  • Parts of the mask that touch your skin are padded with medical-grade latex-free materials to avoid skin irritation. Patients must make sure that their skin isn’t allergic to their new CPAP masks, which are most commonly made from gel, foam, silicone, or cloth.
  • They should all fit right. Whether it is a CPAP mouthpiece, CPAP nasal mask, or a CPAP without mask, it should fit the face of the patient directly to avoid leakages of pressurized air. This is also true to the tubing that comes with the mask; it must fit snugly.
  • Masks have areas where carbon dioxide can be released.

Common and New CPAP Masks

Full-Face Masks. These masks, as the name suggests, take up the whole space. The mask’s cover comes from the bridge of the nose to underneath the mouth. Despite its size, the seal it creates over the nose, and the mouth allows a much more comfortable sleep for those who breathe through their mouth. This type of mask is good for those with a case of dry mouth since the humidified air keeps the mouth and nose air passages moist.

The drawback of this mask, however, is it might be more prone to air leakages as it covers a larger part of the face.

Nasal CPAP Masks. This CPAP mask provides cover from the bridge of the nose up to the upper lip area. This is recommended for patients who need stronger pressurized air in their sleep. Nasal CPAP masks provide indirect airflow to the airway.

This mask is for patients who are more comfortable in moving in their sleep a lot, prefer more natural airflow, and want a wider selection of masks to choose from. On the other hand, this is not for mouth-breathers in their sleep. A CPAP mouthpiece is better for this type of sleepers.

Nasal Pillows. This CPAP without mask design is compact and lightweight; it also has minimal contact on the face. They’re only composed of a seal directly placed in the patients’ nostrils through which pressurized air is delivered. This is for patients who like to toss and turn in their sleep, are more prone to feelings of claustrophobia, and require only low to moderate pressure.

It is important to identify the needs and sleeping characteristics of sleep apnea patients to make their CPAP therapy as comfortable as possible. The usual and the new CPAP masks do not always guarantee full adherence from patients. Their masks must suit their needs and not compromise the comforts of their sleep.

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