Sleep apnea is a condition that restricts airflow and disrupts healthy sleep. If left untreated, it can contribute to severe medical conditions such as stroke, hypertension, heart attack and cancer. To treat apnea, patients use a CPAP system and mask to force pressurized air into the airways to maintain normal breathing while sleeping. Although CPAP devices are an effective treatment, some patients have challenges finding a mask that fits comfortably without air leakage. Manufacturers produce various masks for CPAP machines, and you can examine some of the advantages and disadvantages of a CPAP hybrid mask and a full-face model.
Hybrid Models Vs. Full-Face Models
In the past, people suffering from sleep apnea had few choices in selecting masks. As more cases of sleep apnea were diagnosed in recent years, the demand for more innovative mask designs increased. Although patients previously relied solely on nasal masks that only delivered pressurized air to the nose, more people have switched to hybrid and full-face models such as the Fitlife full face mask that delivers air to the mouth and nose.
When you breathe through your nose and mouth while sleeping, you’re better off using a hybrid mask than one that only covers the nose. Hybrid masks have a lightweight design that sits comfortably on your face and does not rely on the pressure points on your head or bridge of your nose to attach firmly. The designs of hybrid masks differ slightly by manufacturer, but the masks typically include these components:
- Mask cushion or nasal pillows
- Mask frame
- Swivel connector
Unlike total face models, a hybrid mask does not obstruct your sight. You have an unobstructed view of a television or book while you’re lying in bed. A hybrid mask provides adequate airflow without irritating your throat for allergy sufferers and those with congestion problems. However, the models with nose pillow layouts can irritate some patients, and they usually look for a hybrid that uses mask cushions or a full-face model.
Patients who want an unobstructed view but dislike nose cushions or pillows can use a full-face mask. Full-face masks are similar to hybrids, but they seal around your nose and mouth rather than relying on nose pillows to deliver air. They are more comfortable than other designs if you sleep with your mouth open and prefer not to use a chin strap. However, they’re heavier than hybrid models, and some prefer the lighter feel of hybrids.
Making Sure It Will Be the Best Fit For Me
Both hybrid and full-face models are excellent for patients with congestion and those who prefer to wear masks that only cover the nose and mouth. Whether you’re searching for a hybrid mask or the best full face CPAP mask, try to determine which model fits your sleeping behavior and comfort level. If your mouth stays open when you’re sleeping, you can use a full-face mask to ensure a tighter fit. Hybrid masks can slip when your mouth opens and cause an air leakage that disrupts the treatment, but hybrids are more comfortable when you breathe through your nose while sleeping.
You can speak with your doctor or sleep expert for mask recommendations, and you can visit an online CPAP dealer for masks, supplies and helpful advice.