Those who suffer from sleep apnea know the benefits provided by devices such as BiPAP machines bipap . However, one of the most overlooked parts of the apparatus is the mask that is worn, without which the BiPAP machine would be unable to effectively treat the symptoms of sleep apnea. Because the mask is such an important part of the treatment, there are many different options available to accommodate a wide range of needs.
When choosing a mask to use with your BiPAP machine, it is important to take into consideration some very important factors that will effective you and the effectiveness of the mask or other delivery system you choose: do you tend to breathe through your mouth? Does your mouth open while you sleep? Do you have large amounts of facial hair? Do you feel claustrophobic when using conventional face masks? These are but a few of the questions to ask when you are looking for a mask that is suitable to your needs.
For those who have no problems with mouth breathing and whose mouths stay closed while asleep, a mask that covers only the nose may be and effective and comfortable option. These masks often have a chin strap to ensure that the mouth doesn’t accidentally open while sleeping, as well as to further secure the mask and create a tight seal. However, if you often find your mouth open while you sleep, you should consider buying a mask that covers both the nose and the mouth. This is very important, as breathing through the mouth while using a mask that covers only the nose will reduce or eliminate the effects of the BiPAP machine and therefore reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
If you feel claustrophobic while wearing a face mask, another option to consider are nasal pillows, which insert directly into the nose and require no headgear. The seal is created against the inside of the nasal passages, leaving the face exposed. This is also an excellent alternative for those whose facial hair prevents a tight seal from forming while wearing a traditional face mask. Another option to consider is using an interface that resembles nasal cannula, except the tubing is large enough to create a seal when inserted into the nostrils. Both of these options are extremely viable alternatives to face masks in most cases. However, if the BiPAP machine is administering a high pressure, it may cause the seal to break due to the lack of headgear used with the nasal pillows or cannula