Diagnosed with sleep apnea? Take a deep breath – you’re not alone. According to researchers, one in five Americans shares your condition.1
We know you have a lot of questions, and we’re here to help. We’ve compiled all the best tips and information in our free downloadable ebook, How to start CPAP therapy. This guide covers everything you need to know at the start of your sleep apnea treatment journey.
If your diagnosis has you feeling worried, consider the alternative: If you have sleep apnea and haven’t been diagnosed, you’re at risk for a number of larger health issues, from depression and type 2 diabetes to cardiovascular issues like heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) also affects how your brain functions, and can cause memory loss and difficulty carrying out basic motor functions like driving a car.
Fortunately, safe, effective treatment is not only available, but thanks to advances in medical technology, today’s sleep apnea sufferers enjoy a variety of therapy options unheard of even a decade ago.
Among the four main treatment options for those diagnosed with sleep apnea – CPAP therapy, oral appliances, weight loss and surgery – CPAP therapy is by far the most frequently prescribed. And today’s range of CPAP masks includes a wide variety of options to ensure maximum comfort and minimum disruption to your daily lifestyle and personal comfort levels.
A variety of CPAP masks to ensure comfort
Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is a sleep apnea treatment system that consists of a mask that’s fitted over the nose and mouth. The mask is connected to an air pump that draws in air and pushes it gently into your upper airway. This air works to keep the airway open, preventing the “collapsing” of the throat that causes sleep apnea.
The idea of sleeping with a sleep apnea mask can be intimidating. But in reality, this type of apnea therapy is safe and noninvasive – as opposed to drugs or surgery, which can have a much more significant impact on health, appearance, and comfort, and which are rarely completely successful. Many sleep apnea patients who undergo surgery find it necessary to use a CPAP machine.
Intimidated by the idea of wearing a mask? Today, sleep apnea mask manufacturers offer a wide range of treatment options that include small, lightweight and nonintrusive masks. For example, ResMed’s lightest mask, the AirFit N30, features a soft, under-the-nose nasal cradle cushion and slip-on headgear.
CPAP machines are quiet, and are offered in a multitude of varieties to ensure that each type of patient need is met. The three main types of CPAP masks are:
- Nasal masks, which cover the nose
- Full face masks, which cover the nose and mouth
- Nasal pillows, which rest at the base of the nose and are the smallest and lightest mask type
Many people diagnosed with sleep apnea experience positive results almost immediately after starting CPAP therapy, but many others give up. “You may need to try more than one type of mask to find one that’s comfortable, reports the Mayo Clinic. “Some people benefit from also using a humidifier along with their CPAP system.”
Explore the types of CPAP masks in more detail on our CPAP masks page.