According to estimates, between 10% and 30% of persons in Australia suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes frequent breathing pauses while you sleep.
One of the most widely used methods of treating sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. It may be beneficial to understand how cpap masks function, how they might benefit individuals with sleep-related breathing issues, and how to troubleshoot some of the complications that may emerge while using a CPAP machine in order to get the most out of CPAP treatment.
What is a CPAP Machine?
A medical device known as a CPAP machine employs a stream of pressured air to maintain a person’s airway open and support steady breathing while they sleep. A pipe connected to the CPAP machine pumps pressured air into a face mask that is worn during sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition in which the airway narrows or collapses as you sleep, is often treated with CPAP therapy. Other breathing-related problems are also treated using CPAP equipment.
Related: 9 ways you can make your CPAP mask routine easier.
CPAP machine components
CPAP masks contain a few common parts, although coming in many different brands and varieties.
- Machine: The machine has a motor that creates the pressured air stream as well as controls for using the gadget.
- Air filter: This part cleans the air the CPAP machine produces.
- Hose: Air is delivered to the mask by a lengthy tube that is directly connected to the CPAP machine.
- Mask: To keep the airway open, the mask distributes pressured air via the mouth or nose. CPAP masks come in a variety of designs, and most of them include straps to keep them in place.
- Humidifier: A heated humidifier is a common feature of CPAP masks and it adds moisture to the airflow by drawing water from an attached reservoir. The humidifier is often used to lessen pain brought on by dryness in the nose brought on by the compressed air stream.
Various CPAP Mask Types
A physician or sleep expert will assist in choosing a mask before starting CPAP. There are several sorts of CPAP masks to choose from.
· Nez masks: Only the nose is covered with a nasal mask.
- Nasal pillows: A nasal pillow mask rests behind the nose and above the top lip as opposed to covering the nose. To supply the compressed air from the CPAP machine, the mask could feature prongs that slide into each nostril.
- Oronasal mask: This kind of mask covers the nose and mouth. An oronasal mask often covers the region from the bottom of the mouth to the bridge of the nose. While utilizing a nasal pillow to distribute air via the nose, certain oronasal CPAP masks cover the mouth.
- Oral CPAP masks, which just enclose the mouth. Although not often used, this kind of mask could be an alternative for certain individuals.
- Full face mask: This mask covers the entirety of the face and is only used in very specific circumstances.
To prevent air leaks, a CPAP mask must be snugly secured to the face. Additionally, a mask must be cozy so that it may be worn all night long. There are many strap and cushion options to assist secure the mask and make it more comfortable to use.
Any person will benefit most from a CPAP mask that combines performance and comfort. The best kind and model of mask may be chosen based on a number of considerations.
- Facial characteristics: A mask must form a seal when placed on the face, and the size and shape of a person’s facial features might affect how well it fits. Additionally, facial hair may impact how well the mask fits.
- Required air pressure: Choosing the right mask might be influenced by the required air pressure. For instance, high air pressure may not be suitable for nasal pillow CPAP masks.
- Breathing patterns: The best sort of mask for someone using CPAP depends on whether they typically breathe through their nose or mouth.
- Personal preference: Individual opinions of how well a mask fits may influence the choice of a mask since comfort is a subjective concept.
Finding the mask that best fits each person’s condition usually involves a period of trial and error.
The advantages of CPAP masks
Regular use of a CPAP machine may often lessen or eliminate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, enhancing a patient’s quality of life and their ability to sleep.
Consistent CPAP usage may provide specific advantages such as less snoring, more regular breathing while sleeping, decreased daytime tiredness, healthier blood pressure, improved attention and thinking, improved mood, and better sleep for a bed partner.
A decrease in morning headaches
The majority of the time, it takes a few weeks to realize these advantages, but for some individuals, the quality of their sleep begins to improve nearly right away after beginning CPAP treatment.
Complications of CPAP Machines
CPAP treatment has a number of significant health advantages, but it also has certain drawbacks. It might be difficult for many individuals to adjust to sleeping with a CPAP mask. Getting acclimated to wearing a CPAP machine all night might take days or weeks.
When utilizing CPAP treatment, some adverse effects might occur, such as: discomfort from the mask or stream of compressed air; nasal dryness, irritation, or nosebleeds; nasal congestion; and anxiety or claustrophobia when wearing the CPAP mask.
- Skin irritation, particularly around the mouth and nose
- Muscle pain in the chest
- Irritation of the eyes
Many times, simple actions or CPAP setting changes may eliminate these adverse effects and improve the comfort of nocturnal CPAP usage. Anyone who has one or more of these problems should maintain in communication with their medical team to get detailed recommendations for enhancing CPAP treatment.
Useful these CPAP masks tips
A few basic pointers may help the adjustment process while beginning CPAP treatment.
Learn more: Many frequently asked questions about using a CPAP machine may be answered by looking for reliable information. Resources like booklets or movies that offer useful information about using a CPAP device are often made available by healthcare practitioners.
Consult a physician: In the initial few weeks of using CPAP, keeping in contact with the medical team might assist in resolving typical problems. To make the adjustment to regular usage easier, a doctor could consider altering the CPAP settings or suggesting other CPAP masks.
Have patience: It is typical for it to take some time to become used to using a CPAP machine. The mask or airflow may feel unpleasant at first or make it difficult to fall asleep. Despite these challenges, sleeping with a CPAP for the whole night might hasten acclimatization.
Other advice might assist in resolving certain issues to make using a CPAP system more dependable.
CPAP pressure too high
The continuous flow of pressured air may be irritating for some individuals. A sense of excessive air pressure may be managed using a variety of techniques.
- Ramp feature: Some CPAP masks include a ramp feature that begins the night with a lower pressure level and gradually increases. This enables one to doze off when the air pressure is lower and less annoying.
- Pressure relief setting: Some CPAP masks include a pressure relief option that slackens the air pressure a little bit when a user exhales.
- Changing devices: A physician may suggest moving to a kind of PAP device that has greater fluctuation in the pressure levels if the constant air pressure of a CPAP is intolerable.
Working with a doctor before making any adjustments to a CPAP device’s pressure settings is necessary since finding the optimum pressure level is crucial to effectively treating obstructive sleep apnea.