Category Archives: CPAP Masks

An overview of CPAP masks, including nasal masks, full face masks, nasal pillow masks, and oral masks.

CPAP Masks & Machines: What’s Best for You?

You might think that finding a CPAP mask or machine would be easy. But with a daunting number of choices available today, it’s tricky to figure out the differences between all the models. Here’s a look at the most commonly used types of CPAP machines and masks, including the pros and cons of each.
CPAP Mask Types
The main concern for most people using CPAP therapy is what type of CPAP mask they’ll need to wear. Read about these popular options to find your best fit:

  • CPAP Face Mask: A face mask will cover the entire nose, mouth and all or part of the face. They are great for mouth-breathers or those with nasal obstructions and/or allergies. However, some people feel claustrophobic in these masks, and the larger surface area creates an increased chance of air leakage.
  • CPAP Nasal Mask: This mask is slightly smaller. It covers the nose from the bridge to the upper lip. It is generally the most popular design since it comes in a wide range of sizes and fits and has very little air leakage. However, it is not the best choice for mouth-breathers and can cause discomfort for those who experience allergies or frequent sinus blockages.
  • CPAP Nasal Pillows: A nasal pillow is the most minimal design for CPAP masks. It sits on the upper lip and has two tubes that are inserted into the nostrils to supply air directly. While it’s certainly the least restrictive design, this mask may be more likely to cause nasal dryness. It can also be uncomfortable if you require high pressure settings.

CPAP Machine Features
If you’re a first-time CPAP therapy user, you might not know what to look for in a CPAP machine. Here are some of the key features you might want:

  • Quiet functioning
  • Built-in humidifier
  • Portable design
  • Exhalation pressure relief
  • Heated tubing
  • Leak compensation
  • Mask on/off alert
  • Data recording
  • Ramp

The very best resource for deciding which type of CPAP device to purchase is a medical professional. Use this guide to do your research so you’ll be more informed when discussing your options with your doctor.

CPAP and Sleep Apnea Mailbag

Transcend II Travel CPAP Machine

Transcend II Travel CPAP Machine

We’re back with our third edition of the CPAP and sleep apnea mailbag. We’ve had tremendous questions the first two times we ran this feature, and as long as they keep rolling in, we’re happy to answer more. Remember, if you want your question answered in a future edition of our mailbag, just send ’em on in to our email address at sales@respshop.com, with the subject heading ‘mailbag.’

On to the questions!

1. I snore a lot: what are the chances I have sleep apnea? — Victor, Los Angeles. 

Victor, it’s really tough to tell without a sleep study. Everybody snores to some extent, but sleep apnea is a specific, chronic condition where the snoring is both very loud and very frequent. It’s never a bad idea to speak with your physician about sleep apnea, or to take a sleep test, if you’re concerned. If you have friends and family that frequently tell you that you snore loudly — if you wake people with your snoring, or can be heard from another room, or if you’re choking at night — then I’d particularly encourage you to seek medical attention.

2. Is there any way to treat sleep apnea besides a CPAP machine? Abby, Twisp, WA.

There are no shortage of ways to treat sleep apnea! There are CPAP machines, nasal strips, jaw surgeries, chest implants, and several other means to combat the condition. For the most part, physicians and dentists recommend CPAP therapy for treating sleep apnea for two reasons: first, it’s a tried and proven method for successfully treating the condition; surgery sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. With proper and regular use, CPAP functions perfectly. Second, CPAP is much less obtrusive than many of the other methods. It’s much easier to wear a mask at night than to undergo chest surgery that may or may not alleviate the problem.

3. How can I tell what size mask I should buy? Bill, Blue Ash. 

Bill, you can access mask sizing gauges on nearly every single CPAP mask we carry on their individual page. For example, for the AirFit N10, click here, and hit the tab ‘sizing gauge’ to print out a sizing guide and see what size works best for you.

4. Can I use a travel machine as a full time machine? Lamar, Shreveport, LA.

Great question Lamar. Yes, all of our travel machines are durable enough for full time use. Each also comes with a multi-year warranty — the length of the warranty depends on the particular brand — so even if it does incur non-use related damage, it can be replaced. Machines are simply designated as ‘travel machines’ because they’re small and lightweight; they can be used regularly just like a normal machine.

5. Do I have to use a humidifier? Rhonda, Calera, AL. 

You do not. Humidifiers are simply a comfort feature that most people enjoy as a part of their therapy. They reduce some of the symptoms associated with CPAP — dry throat and dry mouth particularly — and we recommend that new patients use them, but they’re not essential.

Thanks for your questions this week folks! We’ll do it again real soon!

 

Five Comfortable Nasal CPAP Masks

respironics-wisp-cpap-nasal-maskAt RespShop, we encourage most of our patients to wear nasal CPAP masks if possible. We understand that some people prefer the lightweight design of the nasal pillow, and we know that patients with mustaches or problems breathing through their nose need a full face mask. For everybody else, we believe that the nasal is the most comfortable mask and that the design is optimal for successful therapy and compliance with CPAP.

For that reason, when we help patients choose the right CPAP mask for them, we usually start with the nasals. That’s what we’re going to do today, too, as we preview some of the best nasal CPAP masks on the market. Not every one of these is a perfect fit for you: you’ll need to take some to identify what you want in a mask before you choose one, but each of these designs offers its share of perks and benefits for somebody. Check out the five most comfortable nasal masks below:

1. ResMed AirFit N10 Nasal Mask

The AirFit N10 is tied for the lightest nasal mask on the market (with the second mask on this list) and that’s only part of what makes it ideal for patients. The N10 also features a soft, silicone cushion that won’t rub uncomfortably against your face, and you won’t even notice the mask’s easily adjustable fabric straps. You can connect and unconnect the mask with easily applicable magnetic clips, perfect for CPAP users who get up to use the bathroom at night. Additionally, ResMed makes an N10 for her for patients with smaller facial structures and head sizes.

2. Respironics Pico Nasal Mask

The Pico weighs less than two ounces and makes up the other half of the CPAP industry’s pair of lightweight nasal masks. Respironics built the Pico with minimalism in mind: there aren’t any flashy bells and whistles, just a comfortable silicone cushion, soft fabric headgear, and a small forehead pad for stability.

3. ResMed Mirage FX Nasal Mask

The Mirage FX is one of the most stable designs in the CPAP world. The mask’s large forehead pad balances the crown-shaped headgear and robust cushion design, and the pad is located high enough that it won’t block your field of vision if you’re trying to watch television or read a book. The mask has four adjustment points, perfect for creating a personalized fit. The dual-walled silicone-based cushion forms to your face as you wear it over time, enhancing the mask’s customization.

4. Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask

The Wisp (pictured above) boasts a unique construction. Unlike most crown-shaped headgear straps, the Wisp’s headgear straps are solid and it uses a butterfly pattern that properly balances the mask. The mask also has a flexible swivel and, without a forehead pad, offers users a wide open field of visibility.

5. APEX WiZARD 210 Nasal Mask

The WiZARD mask offers all of the features you’d expect in a comfortable nasal mask: it has an ergonomic silicone cushion, effective and adjustable straps, and it comes in three sizes. Critically, the WiZARD comes free with any purchase of an APEX XT travel CPAP machine. If you’re interested in this offer, you can take a look at our line of APEX machines here.

Choosing the Right CPAP Mask

We know that patients struggle to pick the right CPAP mask for their therapeutic needs. With three types of mask available — full face, nasal, and nasal pillow — it can be difficult to determine which mask is perfect for you, especially if you’re new to CPAP treatment. At RespShop, we try to make it easier for you to pick the right mask.

To help you pick the right mask, we recommend that you consult the following infographic:

Choosing the Right Mask

The graphic illustrates some of the benefits of each type of mask. Let’s expand on all of the points found in the mask:

  • Active sleeper: most people toss and turn at night, and even if you just fancy a simple roll over once or twice, you’ll need a mask that can withstand the rabble. Full face and nasal masks won’t be dislodged easily and are smart choices for active sleepers.
  • Mouth breather: self-explanatory, but if you breathe through your mouth, you’ll need a full face. Most patients don’t need a full face, although many erroneously believe that they do because they’ve spent their whole sleeping lives breathing through their mouth. Of course, sleep apnea was causing them to breathe through their mouth, so once they are on CPAP, they should be able to finally use their nose.
  • TV friendly: some people fall asleep to the sound of the television. If you like to watch tv, you might find it difficult to do so while you’re wearing a bulky nasal or full face, although most of them should be fine.
  • Claustrophobic: A number of patients REALLY dislike the feeling of weight on their face while they sleep. These patients might struggle with nasal masks and they should absolutely steer clear of full face designs. Nasal pillow masks are less obtrusive, and they may feel more comfortable wearing one of those.
  • Facial hair: If you wear a mustache or a beard, the only mask that will work is the full face. If you have a beard but not a mustache, you can get away with using the nasal pillow, but if you have any facial hair above your lips at all, you’ll need the full face.
  • Small face: All three masks can work on patients with small facial bones, although the full face masks are larger and bulkier and may not seal effectively. For patients who do have tiny faces, we’d recommend that you use a nasal or a nasal pillow.

The infographic also reminds users of the optimal mask replacement and cleaning schedule. Your mask should be replaced every 6-12 months, and you should be getting new cushions as soon as you notice any signs of collapse in the gel or silicone, which usually happens after 3-6 months of regular use.

As for cleaning, we recommend that you use warm water, a non-abrasive soap, and a soft cloth. We recommend bringing the mask into the shower with you, and making it part of your daily routine to clean it that way. It’s important to always keep your mask clean.

Five Reasons Why CPAP Therapy Is Better Than Ever

AirCurveLike most fields of medicine, the study of sleep-disordered breathing is an ever-evolving field. We know much more about sleep disorders — including sleep apnea — than we did even ten years ago, and the the quality of treatment for these conditions has improved in lockstep. One of the major beneficiaries of this trend is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Since CPAP was invented in the early 1980’s, the industry has undergone a number of transformations. Through it all, we’ve seen steady improvements in the quality of equipment and the odds that patients will increase their compliance with the therapy. This is important: sleep apnea is a debilitating condition, and as more and more people are diagnosed with OSA every year, an effective solution for treating the disease becomes increasingly important.

Fortunately, CPAP is in better shape than ever. Seemingly every year, we see new improvements to masks, machines, or other equipment. To put it simply, there have never been more people invested in making CPAP both comfortable and functional. Read on for five reasons why there’s never been a better time to wear a CPAP machine.

1. Machine Comfort Features

Most premier machines — including the 60 series from Respironics as well as the AirSense and S9 lines from ResMed — come with several comfort features that either delay the onset of pressure until you’re fast asleep or reduce the amount of pressure upon exhalation. These features help you adjust to therapy by limiting some of the more unpleasant features inherent in CPAP.

2. Advancements in Humidification 

While CPAP humidifiers are nothing new, they are smaller and more effective than ever. Once much clunkier than the machines themselves, humidifiers are now small and transportable enough to fit on travel CPAP machines. As a bonus, patients who use their humidifier in conjunction with a heated breathing tube can experience all of the benefits of humidity without having to deal with rainout.

3. Lighter CPAP Masks

Naturally, CPAP masks will get lighter over time, and it’d be silly to think that we’ll never see anything lighter than the Pico or the AirFit. But both are extremely lightweight masks and each has been designed to seal effectively. In 1990, your CPAP mask may have looked like a football helmet; the AirFit’s and Pico’s of today, however, weigh less than a pound.

4. Hygienic CPAP

It’s never been easier to clean your equipment and ensure a sanitary therapy experience every single night. Water chambers and tubes are often robust enough to withstand the dishwasher, and masks are made from waterproof material that allows you to simply give it a scrub in the shower. Between that and items like the SoClean — which cleans your equipment with oxygen — it’s never been quicker or easier to clean your CPAP gear.

5. Aesthetic Improvements 

While this may not seem all that important, it’s worth mentioning just how much better CPAP equipment looks than it used to. Gone are the days of the Bane masks and ugly devices: the AirSense 10 (pictured above) looks more like an iPod docking station than a CPAP machine!

If you’re a CPAP patient, or if you’ve tried it before but found it ineffective, take heart from these five reasons why CPAP is better than ever. CPAP compliance has never been easier: if you’ve given up your CPAP therapy before, hopefully these developments will inspire you to give it one more shot.