When you are prescribed a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, you usually have to purchase the mask separately. This is a good thing because it allows you to choose a mask design that is most comfortable and effective for you. However, with so many choices available, it can be difficult to decide whether to choose a ResMed AirFit P10 mask or something that would cover more of your face. Here are some things to take into consideration to help make the choice easier.

What Type of Mask Will Be Best for Me?

The type of sleep apnea mask that will be most comfortable and effective for you depends on several important factors:

1.   If you are claustrophobic, a full-face mask may cause you anxiety that prevents you from sleeping. You should choose a mask that covers as little of your face as possible.

2.   If you have nasal congestion, it may cause you to breathe through your mouth while you sleep. You may require either a full face mask or a hybrid full face CPAP mask that covers your mouth.

3.   If you are very active while you sleep, tossing and turning frequently, you need a mask that allows for flexible motion. If you usually sleep positioned on your side or your stomach, you need a smaller mask that covers less of your face.

4.   If you have facial hair, it can affect the mask’s ability to form a seal on your face. This can cause the mask to leak, making it less effective and putting you at risk for eye infections. You may need a nasal pillow mask that seals around the nostrils.

5.   If you like to fall asleep while watching television in bed, you probably prefer a mask that doesn’t impede your vision.

Looking for a Quality Product To Meet My Needs

Your doctor or sleep specialist is a good source of information about masks. He or she can consider the factors at play in your situation and recommend a mask that will best meet your needs. Surveys show that 50% of CPAP users chose their first mask on their doctor’s recommendation. Your doctor can also measure your face and recommend a mask that fits its contours, which is difficult to determine on your own.

Another valuable source of information is the manufacturer of the equipment. These companies often release sizing guides for consumers which can be helpful, especially if you are buying online.

However, don’t get discouraged if you have to try several sleep apnea mask options before you find one that works. For most patients, it is a trial-and-error process. Information from your doctor or mask manufacturer can help you narrow down the choices, but most patients have to try at least two masks before they find one that works. Some patients try up to four and, rarely, a patient may have to try up to a dozen.

The right mask for you is out there somewhere. Don’t give up and settle for something that doesn’t quite work, or you may not wear it as often as you should. Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of professionals; helping you make your CPAP treatment successful is their job.