HomeHealthCPAP:  Face Apnea with CPAP: Breathing Mask

Using a Face Mask to Treat Apnea with CPAP

When beginning CPAP therapy to treat sleep apnea, the CPAP face mask tends to be the part of the treatment that is hardest to become accustomed to. CPAP machines help treat and prevent sleep apnea because they provide a constant supply of air to the lungs through a breathing mask that prevents the airway from collapsing or becoming obstructed. The air can be pumped into the lungs at different pressures depending on how much additional effort is needed to maintain the open airway. Because this treatment option is non-invasive and requires little medical monitoring, it has become the most commonly used method of dealing with sleep apnea and has been successful in eliminating problems associated with the disorder in over 95% of the cases.

CPAP Face Mask Problems and Solutions

In order to provide the pressurized stream of oxygen to the lungs, the sleep apnea sufferer wears a CPAP face mask while sleeping. The face mask is generally similar to ones worn by patients in hospitals who are using oxygen tanks to help them breathe. Although the CPAP face mask is a very effective way to provide the oxygen stream to the lungs, it can be hard for sleep apnea sufferers to get used to wearing a breathing mask while sleeping. In fact, there are a few different problems associated with the mask that make many people reluctant to continue this treatment option despite its history of success.

One of the first problems associated with the CPAP face mask is that many people get slightly claustrophic when they put on the mask because it is difficult to learn to breathe the pressurized stream of air provided through the mask. Another problem people tend to have with the CPAP face mask is sleeping with it. After years of sleeping without wearing anything on their heads, many people have difficulty learning to adjust their sleeping habits to accommodate the demands of the mask. Sleepers that move a great deal while sleeping often have the most problem because the mask and tube will get tangled up as they turn or the mask will become displaced or dislodged.

In order to deal with these problems, CPAP designers have attempted to create different modifications and accessories to help make the masks easier to wear and more comfortable. Instead of the traditional breathing mask, many CPAP users opt to use the breeze CPAP mask that attaches at the nostrils and seems to remain in place more securely. Using adjustable head and chin straps also helps to hold the mask--regardless of which type of mask it is--in place more securely and comfortably.

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