Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks are used to help make breathing easier at night. They are widely used by people who are suffering from sleep apnea. The masks come in a wide range of different styles and configurations. This is largely because the wearer will have to sleep in the mask all night long. An uncomfortable fit could mean difficulty sleeping defeating the purpose of the treatment. There are several main styles of masks available depending on the type of treatment and what a person expects to do while wearing the unit.
Nasal Pillow Mask
A nasal pillow mask places the air supply regulator directly beneath the nose and above the mouth. The regulator is held in place by one or two straps that are positioned along the side of the head above and below the ears. The air supply tube runs from the side of the regulator and away from the face. The tube can be placed in an upward position like a diving snorkel, downwards so that it trails towards the chest or it can be extended sideways. This make is a good choice for individuals who need the most open mask possible in order to maintain a full field of vision and maximum open space on the head.
Ball-Cap Nasal Pillow Mask
The ball-cap style of CPAP mask has a small piece of plastic that covers the nose. This piece is connected to a tube that supplies the air. The tube stretches up from the nose and is secured to a mount that is strapped to the forehead. The tube can then be attached to a respirator that is above or behind the head. This mask is often chosen by people who frequently move and turn at night. The mount on the forehead ensures that the flow is uninterrupted and that the mask does not come off at night.
Nasal Mask With Suction
A nasal mask with suction looks like a normal mask that would cover the nose and mouth except that there is no covering for the mouth. The mask is secured to the face with straps that run around the head as well as suction created by the flow of air. The purpose of this mask is to provide a secure fit that will not come off as long as the respirator is running. The extra security is also appropriate for individuals who are using a high pressure treatment at night that could dislodge a nasal mask that is held on with only straps.
Full Face Mask
A full CPAP face mask covers both the nose and the mouth. The mask is held on with straps. This mask is used by people who are unable to breathe comfortably through the nose even after receiving therapy. It is also a good choice for people who have allergies or other problems that actually make it impossible to breathe through the nose. Some patients use this mask because it provides the maximum amount of air pressure possible. The air supply tube runs downward from the front of the mask.