CPAP Masks and CPAP Mask Replacement

CPAP Masks and CPAP Mask Replacement

August 27, 2010 | |

Many patients do not understand the importance of replacing CPAP masks and parts on a regular basis. It is important to clean. your CPAP mask and tubing. You should replace parts such as cushions, headgear, and tubing on a regular basis.  This article discusses how ignoring the replacement timeline can lead to sleep therapy discomfort, mask leaks, and illness. Eventually, it will also lead to non-compliance.

Cushions are a particularly important part of all CPAP masks and should be replaced at least every three months. The constant wearing of a mask compresses the cushion. This typically leads to a weaker seal and adversely affects the efficiency of the mask.  If the mask does not form a strong seal, it will not do its job properly. This then leads to ineffective sleep therapy treatment.  Moreover, the effectiveness of the mask cushion’s seal tends to decrease from oils in the patient’s face.  Cleaning certainly should be routine but eventually, it is necessary to replace the cushion.  Unfortunately, when cushions lose their efficacy, CPAP users tend to just tighten the mask further.  This creates a host of other issues including strap marks, headaches, and teeth and jaw pain.

While the CPAP tubing is cleanable with the proper supplies, the buildup of germs can still occur even if cleaning is routine.  Typically, you should replace CPAP tubing every 6 to 9 months.  It is important to remember that you are breathing anything in the CPAP tube directly into the lungs, which can lead to respiratory issues.  If you start to feel congested or develop a chest cold, it may be time to change your tubing.  In addition, just like with the CPAP mask cushions, the CPAP tubing can break down over time, which hampers the effectiveness.

The headgear for a CPAP mask should be replaced every 6 months as well.  The headgear's material is neoprene, which stretches to accommodate facial and head structures, it can stretch out.  This can also hamper a CPAP mask’s ability to form a strong seal. That's because CPAP users try to make the CPAP headgear tighter because of an improper fit and poor seal.  Again, by making the mask too tight, CPAP patients can suffer from sores on the face where the mask makes contact. It can also cause strap marks, headaches, and even in rare cases, can cause the teeth of the patient to shift.

As a whole, it is important to replace a CPAP mask on a yearly basis.  With constant use and routine cleaning, then it becomes less effective and threatens comfort, compliance, and even a CPAP patient’s health.

With more effective technology, abundant choices, and reduced cost, CPAP therapy patients should understand the basics of effective therapy in order to eliminate the potential health risks associated with CPAP sleep therapy equipment.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.