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Sleep Disorders: Sleep Apnea: Sleep Apnea Masks  Previous Next

Sleep Apnea Masks

by: Marcus Peterson

Sleep apnea masks provide continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and are the most effective noninvasive medical treatment to eliminate snoring and prevent sleep apnea.

The CPAP consists of a portable machine with a mask, tubes and fan. The patient wears the sealed mask, which is connected to a hose, over the nose during sleep. CPAP works by gently blowing pressurized air through the nasal passage at a pressure high enough to prevent the throat from collapsing during sleep.

In choosing a sleep apnea mask, fit is important; it should fit comfortably. There are several styles available, including the nasal, oronasal (mouth-nose combination) and the oral mask. Most masks are worn over the nose (or the nose and mouth) and are connected to a headgear, which helps in its attachment and removal.

Straps that are too loose or too tight result in leaks. A too tight strap is uncomfortable and can distort the mask cushion. Therefore, an ideal nasal mask should provide an individually tailored fit in all sleeping positions and preferably an option to be reshaped immediately in case of discomfort or leaks. Mostly the masks consist of a hard plastic body, softer silicone seal and varying features like gel cushion, flexible outer shell, pliable nose clips, etc.

The patients may also select an oral mask that delivers pressurized air through the mouth without the need of headgear. This mask requires heated humidification and the patients may wear glasses with this mask on.

Another option, the nasal pillow, is attached to a plastic adapter that is inserted into the nostrils. However, most people find nasal pillows uncomfortable.

Manufacturers offer different features of sleep apnea masks. The choice, based on fit and comfort should be made jointly by both the physician and the patient.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea provides detailed information on Sleep Apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, Sleep Apnea Machines and more. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is affiliated with Pediatric Sleep Disorders.

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