HomeHealthCPAP:  Headgear and Accessories of CPAP

CPAP Therapy and Headgear

CPAP headgear is an important part of CPAP therapy because of many different reasons. Many people throughout the United States have trouble sleeping and deal with persistent fatigue day after day. However, sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder that is actually frequently ignored and often misdiagnosed since the primary symptoms--snoring and fatigue--could be indicators of a variety of medical problems. CPAP therapy, though initially hard to tolerate for some people, has become the most popular treatment option for sleep apnea because of its high rate of success and little occurrence of side effects or other difficulties. In fact, CPAP use has proven to eliminate problems associated with sleep apnea in over 95% of all cases.

Options for CPAP Headgear

Although most people think of the CPAP machine that pumps the air as the primary component of CPAP therapy, CPAP headgear actually plays a large role in the treatment as well. The main parts of CPAP are the unit that pumps the air itself, the tube that connects the unit to the mask, and the breathing mask. However, there are also head and chin straps, forehead cushions, air filters, and other accessories. Whereas the CPAP machine itself gets most of the credit for eliminating sleep apnea problems, CPAP headgear gets most of the complaints by CPAP users.

CPAP headgear tends to be problematic for many people who decide to use CPAP as a sleep apnea treatment option because the headgear must be worn while sleeping in order to be effective in preventing the collapsing of the airway. It is not actually the headgear itself that is uncomfortable but more the fact that anything worn while sleeping can be quite uncomfortable, especially when people are not used to it. Breathing masks--the primary component of the headgear--are especially annoying because they can be claustrophobic and get in the way.

When considering CPAP headgear and thinking of ways to make it easier to tolerate, it is important to remember the different designs of masks that are available. In addition to the traditional breathing masks, there are also different kinds, such as the breeze CPAP, that convey the air to the lungs through the nasal passages instead of through the mouth and nose. Because these masks do not cover as much of the face, they can be less noticeable to the wearer and stay in place more securely. CPAP headgear can also be improved with the use of different kinds of securing straps and cushions that decrease movement and pressure.

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