CPAP nasal pillows for sleep apnea

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If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea and recommended to use CPAP, you may be feeling overwhelmed by choosing a mask and wondering what nasal pillows are.

This style of CPAP mask could be the interface you need to overcome certain CPAP portability issues like claustrophobia and air leaks. Find out if CPAP nasal masks are right for you and how to choose the best one.

Brandon Peters, MD

Nasal pillows for CPAP therapy

Nasal pillows are a type of CPAP mask made up of ear-like plastic inserts that are inserted directly into the nostrils . The prescribed pressure used to maintain the airway is delivered through this mask. These little pillows rest on the tip of the nose and can help alleviate problems like air leaks and claustrophobia.

Some of the most popular CPAP nasal pillow models include the Swift FX, AirFit P10, Nuance, Opus, Swift LT, and DreamWear masks. They can sometimes be combined with mouth guards, such as hybrid masks like Liberty or TAP PAP (which also use a mouth guard component).

Benefits of using a nasal pillow mask

Nasal pillows are a great option for some. If you are claustrophobic, it may be difficult for you to tolerate a large mask on your face. In particular, a mask that covers the eyes can be frustrating. In this case, nasal pillows can be helpful, as they only minimally obstruct the view and do not have direct contact with the face .

Additionally, men with facial hair, such as a large mustache or beard, may have trouble stiffening with a standard CPAP mask that fits over the nose or around the mouth. To reduce air leakage, it may be necessary to press down on the mask so hard that it is uncomfortable. Nasal pillows eliminate this by applying CPAP pressure directly to the nostrils.

Also, some people prefer nasal pillows because they do not leave marks on the face of either the mask interface or the straps needed to hold the mask in place. Some people also like to have multiple mask styles that can be changed overnight. it also minimizes the marking of equipment.

Problems with the use of nasal pillows.

However, nasal pillows may not be for everyone. Some people are not comfortable with them. In particular, pillows can tickle or irritate your nostrils. If they don't fit, they can cause nose sores.

It is important that the nasal pillows are the correct size. If they are too small, air can leak around them and reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. On the contrary, if the nasal pillows are too large, they can be uncomfortable when stretching the nostrils.

People with sensitive skin can potentially develop a plastic reaction. Even in non-allergic people, the occasional use of the wrong mask can lead to pressure sores in the nostrils.

These complications are rare, and the correct installation will solve most problems. Many people consider nasal pillows to be a suitable CPAP option for treating sleep apnea .

If you want to try nasal pillows, talk to your doctor or equipment supplier and find the size and style that best suits your needs.

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