The Low-Profile Apnea Mask
Obstructive sleep apnea treatment faces a number of treatment obstacles. Foremost among these is ignorance: some experts estimate that up to four out of five sufferers have no idea that they have the disorder.
But hot on the heels of ignorance is surely resistance. The very idea of wearing a huge mask every night for the rest of your life understandably puts many people in mind of medieval torture. Even those who don’t suffer from claustrophobia or night terrors resist as a matter of practicality: sleeping with a partner gets exponentially more difficult with a CPAP in the mix, and those intimate moments more or less vanish into the tubes.
ENT technicians and scientists have for years searched for a better way to maintain an open airway without closing off life. I have covered some promising developments in this area before. But now a new trend in lightweight, nose-only masks is showing some positive results:
Once dominated by large, hard plastic masks that covered a patient’s mouth and nose, the industry is meeting consumer demand with lower-profile masks that fit over the nose and are made of softer, lighter materials. . . .
Nasal masks have become the most popular type over the past seven to eight years, Frenz said. But companies like Phillips Respironics are constantly looking for ways to improve them. Full-face masks that cover the mouth and nose now account for only about 25 percent of the market, he said.
Of course there are even less bothersome ways to address the underlying causes behind sleep apnea. Endoscopic sinus surgery can help reshape the anatomy of the sinuses and associated airways, and simple procedures such as septoplasty and nasal polyp removal can do wonders for more open and even respiration.
Bottom line: if you tend to wake up excessively tired after a full night’s sleep and wonder if apnea may be to blame, you have better options than ever before. Please call my sinus surgery practice for a consultation today.