According to Snore Australia, it is believed that in Australia 9% of women and 25% of men in suffer from clinically significant sleep apnea. This condition occurs when the airways are repeatedly blocked during sleep leading to loud snoring, restless nights, excessive fatigue and can even increase the likelihood of other medical conditions including obesity, cardiovascular disease or mortality.
In order to effectively manage sleep apnea and improve the quality for life for sufferers, CPAP therapy is commonly prescribed. Consisting of pressurised CPAP machines and various CPAP accessories including masks, custom headgear and chin straps for sleep apnea, patients can easily be overwhelmed with the options available to them. Not to mention, there are a variety of CPAP masks available on the market designed to suit individual needs and preferences. As a leading CPAP manufacturer and supplier creating high quality sleep apnea masks and accessories with superior medical grade fabrics, we’re breaking down various CPAP supplies in order to help patients choose the most suitable options for them.
Full Face Masks
As the name suggests, full face sleep apnea masks cover both the nose and mouth to fully support breathing throughout the night. The mask is fixated in place with high-quality headgear made from medical textiles and hypoallergenic fabrics in order to ensure maximum comfort and stability for the wearer throughout the entire night. Without the conjunctive use of headgear accessories, these masks can potentially be displaced throughout the night and therefore limit the effectiveness of therapy.
Full face masks are highly beneficial and are generally recommended for sleep apnea sufferers who rely on breathing through their mouth. Other CPAP therapy options are largely focused on supplying air through the nasal passage and can, therefore, be extremely uncomfortable for individuals who breathe through their mouth during their sleep. Full face CPAP masks are also ideal for allergy sufferers who experience a frequently blocked nose or have sinus issues.
Additionally, full face masks are also beneficial for those who suffer from dry mouth. As CPAP therapy relies on humidified air, patients can actually experience relief of such symptoms, as the air keeps both the nasal and mouth passageways moist, preventing blockages and maximising comfort. Masks are also made from technical textiles with hypoallergenic properties to ensure allergies are not aggravated or induced during wear. These masks are also said to be the most effective for patients who require higher pressure settings.
However, patients also need to consider the potential limitations associated with various CPAP accessories in order to choose the most suitable for them. Due to the larger surface area, air leaks can potentially be more common, particularly if the mask is ill-fitted. As a result of this, some individuals may experience dry eyes if the humidified air leaks at the top of their masks. Full face masks for sleep apnea can also be uncomfortable for individuals who sleep on their stomach or side due to the bulkiness of the equipment. This can also be a downfall for those who like to read or watch TV as they’re settling for bed.
Another popular CPAP mask is the nasal mask, which purely covers the nose from the bridge to the patient’s upper lip area. Similarly to the full face masks, nasal masks are also secured in place with headgear accessories to ensure the mask does move during sleep, therefore maximising results.
Nasal masks have proven to be an effective option for patients who typically move around frequently in their sleep. As the accessories associated with nasal masks are not as bulky as their full face counterparts, patients may find they can move around more freely in their sleep. Additionally, there are many different fits and sizes available with nasal CPAP masks which ensures a more comfortable and individualised fit, increasing comfort and minimising the risk of air leaks.
While the above features make nasal masks a popular CPAP therapy option, the treatment may not be suitable for patients who rely on breathing through their mouth without wearing an additional chin restraint to secure the mouth closed. For some people, this may be uncomfortable and unnatural, therefore making other forms of therapy more ideal. Other considerations that need to be contemplated include the presence of allergies. Sinus blockages can interfere with the pressure delivery and therefore results may be diminished.
Furthermore, patients who suffer medical conditions such as a deviated septum, narrowed or collapsed nasal valve or enlarged turbinates may also not experience the full potential of CPAP therapy through the use of nasal masks.
Nasal Pillow Masks
For a more lightweight and less intrusive option, nasal pillow masks provide maximum comfort and ease of use in comparison to full face or nasal CPAP mask options. Nasal pillow masks work by resting at the entrance of the nasal passageway to deliver pressurised air directly into the nose to facilitate breathing.
Nasal pillow masks are a suitable option for patients who frequently move around in their sleep as they are not restricted by bulky accessories and materials. Nasal pillow masks are also do not feature intricate headgear, yet are secured in place with a single strap, potentially providing unprecedented comfort for patients who might be claustrophobic or intimated by the facial materials. The simplified design also makes nasal pillow masks an ideal option for patients with facial hair, those who wear glasses and individuals who like to unwind before bed by watching television or reading a book. Additionally, nasal marks also have a limited chance of air leakage in comparison to other options, as a result of the direct airflow to the nose.
However, while nasal pillows provide exceptional comfort, they are not ideal for individuals who require higher doses of pressure. If the pressure is increased with the wear of nasal pillow masks, comfort can actually be decreased, as the direct airflow can seem unnatural and unfamiliar. The direct air pressure may also result in higher occurrences of nosebleeds or dryness in the nose for some patients. Nasal pillow masks may also not be the most ideal option for patients who are not used to breathing out their nose. However, chin-straps may be used in addition to the nasal pillow for individuals who generally breathe through their mouth.
While there are many options available to sleep apnea sufferers that are aimed to address different concerns, patients should try a variety of different masks in order to find the one that is most suited to them. Facial features, preferences and treatment suitability all need to be factored in to find the most ideal mask for the patient that maximises CPAP therapy results.
As a leading medical fabric manufacturing company, we are dedicated to providing superior technical textiles and medical grade fabrics that are valuable for a vast range of industries. Our team has a longstanding partnership with Resmed to supply medical textiles with hypoallergenic properties in order to create superior quality CPAP masks that maximises patient comfort. Our fabric range also has the potential to provide exceptional benefits beyond the medical industry and we can create tailored solutions that meet specific requirements. For more information on CPAP manufacturing, medical fabrics or other technical textiles, please do not hesitate to contact the professional Biomed team on (02) 9758 3855.