If you know people who wake up repeatedly at night and complains about a difficulty in breathing, gasping, and snoring, chances are they have sleep apnea. This condition affects roughly 18 million Americans and more people around the globe. In the last three decades, sleep apnea masks have been used to facilitate CPAP therapy. The patient receives air pressure to the mouth and nose to facilitate breathing during sleep.
This is great news in terms of finding a cure, but there is a caveat; sleep apnea masks aren’t always comfortable for the patient. Treatment with no mask for sleep apnea is proposed as the ideal solution, if not the only key to addressing patient discomfort.
Problems with the Traditional Sleep Apnea Mask
Health reports show that a significant fraction of sleep apnea patients stop using their prescribed masks in the early stages of the treatment. How can we blame them? Traditional masks are obtrusive and bulky and definitely something that nobody wants to put on their face all night. Comfortable sleep is sacrificed during the treatment. Moreover, other health consequences emerge from the treatment itself.
The following are some of the complaints we hear from patients:
- Difficulty changing sleeping positions
- Noise produced by mechanical components
- Poor fitting
- Feelings of constriction
The use of CPAP mask is effective in clinical studies and sleep labs. In actual practice though, if the patients are using it in full compliance, then the treatment can hardly be considered a success. There are even patients who claim that they’d rather sleep through the night with apnea rather than use the mask.
An alternative form of the CPAP mask eliminates the obstructive mask and replaces it with a patch or a smaller device. Treatment with no mask for sleep apnea has been approved by the FDA and has been around since the late 2000’s.
Patients can expect numerous health benefits from a no mask CPAP. Apart from the increased quality of sleep, the following were the results of switching to the no mask version:
- No more feelings of claustrophobia
- No more ill fit that requires awakening at night to adjust it
- Better adjustment settings and getting used to air pressure
- Less experience of dry or stuffed nose
- No more tubes getting in the way of preferred sleeping positions
What Patients Need to Understand
According to health professionals, sleep apnea is a different experience for each individual. This is one of the reasons there are several treatment options and devices available – not one size fits all.
Whether or not a patient has decided to go mask-free or not, patience is an important virtue in sustaining sleep apnea treatment. It takes commitment to comply with treatment prescription and sustain better health. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to worse situations when not treated properly. Comfortable sleep and successful therapy are indeed possible, and this is the main goal of developing treatments for sleep apnea without the mask.
Get comfortable sleep today! Make the big switch from sleep apnea mask to the no mask version. Call us for more information.