What decides how you purchase face masks to use with your CPAP machine, apart from the caregiver’s instructions on whether you should use a full face one or nasal pillows, etc.?
If the answer is price, you are not alone. Most users of CPAP machines go by the price factor when choosing their mask. For some users, the problem could arise if their requirements are specifically that of full face masks.
Choosing the mask
Full face masks, though necessary in some types of CPAP treatments, can prove to be a hindrance for users with certain facial features such as beards or mustaches. Frequently, they may need getting used to by even those without these features. As a result, the rates for non-compliance with therapy are high.
Even if full-face masks seem claustrophobic to those not used to them, it pays to get used to this variety for some reasons:
- These are good for users who move a lot in their sleep and run the risk of dislodging their masks.
- Full face masks are good for those who breathe through their mouth.
- Mask requirements can vary for those with issues such as sleeping on their side at all times and you can adjust the masks as needed.
- Full face masks also come with adjustable headgear to help you ensure a snug fit.
Full face masks need to be checked and fitted according to size of the user. Factors like facial hair have already been discussed, but bone structure of the face may also affect the fit of the mask.
Users find that features like a prominent nose bridge, recessed or protruding chin, and high or low cheekbones, all can affect the fit of the mask. In case of protruding features, the mask may not give a snug fit, leading to air leaks. An air leak could lead to:
- Insufficient air pressure being maintained; rendering the CPAP therapy less effective.
- Leading to dry nose or mouth and dry sinuses.
- Cause discomfort overall, leading to discontinuation of the therapy.
On the other hand, for some users, the material that full face masks are made of, needs scrutiny. Because these masks remain in steady and constant contact with your facial skin for close to six to eight hours, users report problems such as skin bruising, rashes, allergies flaring up due to latex, etc.
Then there are issues with hydration. Heated humidifiers are available to deal with the problem of dry nose for users. But in the case of some individuals, where heated humidifiers do not resolve the problem, doctors can prescribe medicines to ease dryness problems. Note that leaky masks can also lead to dryness and hence, mask fit is an important aspect of selection.