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Choosing the Right Mask
#1
Choosing the Right Mask
Hi all!

Based on the results of my recent sleep study, I am being put on CPAP. The first mask they are having me try is a "nasal pillow mask", per the sleep study company's recommendation. However, I believe I usually breathe through my mouth while awake, so I'm wondering whether a full face mask might end up being the best fit for me (assuming I breathe the same way while sleeping). 

Does anyone have any tips for how I can determine whether the mask I try first is the right one for me? For example, if my sleep issues don't improve will there be some way to tell whether the problem is the mask as opposed to CPAP treatment as a whole?

Thanks!

jwoodz
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#2
RE: Choosing the Right Mask
(06-22-2020, 10:39 PM)jwoodz Wrote: Hi all!

Based on the results of my recent sleep study, I am being put on CPAP. The first mask they are having me try is a "nasal pillow mask", per the sleep study company's recommendation. However, I believe I usually breathe through my mouth while awake, so I'm wondering whether a full face mask might end up being the best fit for me (assuming I breathe the same way while sleeping). 

Does anyone have any tips for how I can determine whether the mask I try first is the right one for me? For example, if my sleep issues don't improve will there be some way to tell whether the problem is the mask as opposed to CPAP treatment as a whole?

Thanks!

jwoodz

Chances are, it will be trial & error. For me, I did a two night, in-lab sleep study. The 2nd night they asked me what kind of mask I wanted to use. I told them I didn't have a clue. 

They then asked me if I breathed thru my mouth or nose. I said mouth. They gave me a ResMed AirFit F20 to use. It seemd to perform well for me that night. 

When I went to pick-up my CPAP machine about 10 days later, they had the same mask ready for me. I used the F20 for well over a year. It wasn't until the F30 made it's debut, that I decided to give it a try. I liked it....a lot!

Anyways, I now swap back & forth between the two, with the F30 being my primary mask.
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#3
RE: Choosing the Right Mask
They may not tell you, as they do forget intentionally lots of times, but you have a choice in masks and machines. Unless they script for a specific machine or mask that are not of your choosing, you get to decide the specifics except pressure settings.
Dave

OSCAR
Standard OSCAR Chart Order
Mask Primer
Dealing With A DME
Soft Cervical Collar Wiki
INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#4
RE: Choosing the Right Mask
For me, it is a still ongoing process. I didn't have any chance to try masks (no titration test was performed) so I first tried the nasal cradle (Dreamwear nasal), as it is probably the less intrusive mask. I also generally breath through my mouth, so I warned my provider but they told me most people with OSA were mouth breathers, but some of them could change this behavior after strating the therapy. Well, I definitely can use a nasal cradle (or the F30i, very similar but more stable for me) and it is very comfortable, but I still continued to use my mouth to breath occasionally, which forced me to use mouth taping. I find it somewhat clostrophobic so I decided to try full face masks. As I had the Dreamwear, the logical choice was to try the full face mask for the Dreamwear. My first 2-3 tries were quite bad, I had lots of leaks and disturbed sleep, but after making some arrangements, including starting to use a soft neck collar, changing mask size from medium to medium wide and changing to VAuto, my results for the last 2-3 days are really good. I have also ordered the f30i, which should be quite similar, but I like their nasal mask (n30i) better compared to the Dreamwear, so it may be more comfortable, or at least a backup.

I think your first decision will be on the hose location: Do you want the classical form, where the hose is directly linked to the mask itself, or do you want the newer alternative, where the hose is on top of your head. I prefer the on top version, as it provides me more freedom on moving in the bed and also the hose has less chance of displacing the mask. Some people don't like the on top version, because the air has to travel from the sides of your face and some people are disturbed by the sound it makes (I don't hear it). Also, if you are a side sleeper, you are restricting the air flow on that side. While the amount of air provided by the other side is theoretically enough, I can feel the decrease and it sometimes disturbs me.

Afterwards, you probably should start with a nasal version and see if you have large leaks due to mouth breathing. If you do, you may try mooth taping or go directly to a full face mask.
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#5
RE: Choosing the Right Mask
First read the Mask Primer. 

Ask to start with nasal pillows then if that DOESN'T work try the nasal mask, then if that doesn't work the Full Face Mask.
CPAP pressure does tend to make users into nose breathers.  We are naturally nasal breathers.  That doesn't work for everyone.  We are all individuals, and as such masks must be tried. There is no other way.  Every sleep test is an opportunity to try a different masks, do so.
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