CPAP Mask Selection
How to Select the Best CPAP Mask?
A good CPAP mask selection makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful CPAP treatment.
In this page you will learn how to choose a CPAP mask from your local DME (Durable Medical Equipment supplier, the place where you get your CPAP and masks).
Things to Know Before Buying a CPAP Mask
If you are a beginner in CPAP treatment and mask selection, I don't recommend buying CPAP masks from internet. Although the CPAP masks are cheaper online, you need to know exactly what mask are you looking for.
You have to learn about all the types of masks, to make the best CPAP mask selection online or in the shop.
You need to try the masks on your face, lying down, at your prescribed pressure, in the local shop. And that's what you will learn now.
Thanks to modern technology, there are a wide range of masks for CPAP on the market.
This is good news, because every person has a different face. So, if you buy a CPAP mask that works for someone you know, that doesn't mean it will work for you.
Patients with sleep apnea have different faces, different causes of their sleep apnea, so they need different CPAP masks, as well as different CPAP machines. That's why your CPAP mask selection is a very personal process, and the final decision should be only yours.
Types of CPAP Masks
There are three types of CPAP masks:
- CPAP Nasal Pillows - If you don't breathe through your mouth and don't have trouble with nasal congestion, nasal pillows can be your best choice.
These masks are the least cumbersome, but tend not to be great at higher pressures. I think the best in this category is Resmed Swift LT - soft and least damage to your face and nose.
- CPAP Nasal Masks - if you cannot cope with nasal pillows, try the nasal masks, like the Resmed Ultra Mirage.
- CPAP Full Face Masks - these CPAP masks are useful if you breathe through your mouth while sleeping. However, if you are claustrophobic, you probably cannot stand this type of mask.
Buying from the Durable Medical Equipment
CPAP Mask Selection From Your Local DME Provider
© Westside Medical Supply
The best way to buy a mask is to try a couple of them first in the medical equipment supplier, then buy the one you feel more comfortable and is not leaking.
However, not all local DME suppliers, sleep labs and sleep doctors are equal and at their best quality. Some DME's are out to make as much money as they can by starting you on the cheapest masks and units that they can get away with.
It's no wonder the failure rate is so high for CPAP treatment. Hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. I hope that the next tips will help you in your CPAP mask selection:
- Did you call and ask your insurance company what local DME CPAP providers they are contracted with? They are the ones you want to shop.
- When you first get your equipment set up, make sure to have a good long talk with the DME who does it. Hopefully, they will bring several masks for you to try, so you can get a feel for how they work for you.
- Make sure to try the masks at your full pressure, whatever that turns out to be from your titration study.
- Try the CPAP masks lying down if possible, since the masks will fit differently in your sleep position than they do when you're standing. Trying a mask on sitting up is almost useless unless you sleep sitting up.
- Check with your DME, but most have a 30 day return policy, if the mask doesn't work for you. If the mask isn't working for you, get back to the DME as soon as possible.
- The DME should be willing to work with you to find what is best. It's in their best interest to do so - they do not want patients complaining about them to doctors, as that is bad for their business.
- Try to get some help adjusting the straps. Masks shouldn't have to be tight, they shouldn't hurt, they shouldn't leak and you need to be able to change position without them coming loose.
- You HAVE to try the CPAP masks with the machine running. If they don't have a CPAP machine for tests, bring your own machine.
- Do NOT choose a CPAP mask for looks, but one that does the best job for your needs - the least likely to have leaks and comfort.
- Hopefully, the DME will have a wide selection of CPAP masks from all of the manufactures. Don't by shy about trying them all or as many as necessary. That's what they're there for.
Whay Should You Know About Your DME Supplier
Getting the right CPAP mask is the most important part of making CPAP therapy work for you. But do you think that your DME will help you make the best CPAP mask selection? Hm... Lets see:
- Your DME probably doesn't want to provide you with a wide range of choices, because it costs them money.
- The insurance pays the DME with a set amount of money for an interface whether they give you a $30 mask or a 130$mask, so they may want you to use the cheapest they have.
- Do not let the DME leave you with a mask that is uncomfortable and leaky. If it's not good when they are right there with you, believe me when I say it certainly won't be any better in the middle of the night when you're trying to sleep with mask.
- It is better to get a mask that works with the way you sleep, than to try to change the way you sleep to work with the mask. If the mask you have doesn't work with the way you sleep, you have the wrong mask.
CPAP Mask Selection