If you've just been diagnosed with sleep apnea or another breathing issue, one treatment is to use a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for "constant positive air pressure." A CPAP machine blows a steady airstream into your nose and mouth, thus keeping your airway open.
In order for the machine to be effective, you need to wear some kind of mask. There are a number of kinds of masks that you can choose from. For the most part, the thing that will determine what kind of mask you wear is what is most comfortable for you. Talk with a professional or check out http://cornermedical.com/ to see what options are available to you. There may be some trial and error while you figure out which CPAP mask you like the best; here are a few options to consider.
This kind of mask is just really just an air tube with a part that goes up both nostrils. They basically look like the oxygen tubes that you would use if you were in the hospital. Just like those oxygen tubes, they will blow air in through your nostrils. This air isn't to make sure that you stay oxygenated, it is there to make sure that your airway stays open. The cannula are generally for those people who only have a mild case of sleep apnea.
If you don't like the idea of cannulas in your nostrils, another choice that you can go with is a small mask that covers just the columella and tip of your nose. There will be a strap that holds it onto your face. The mask will have a silicone or foam edging so that the air stays inside the mask and is directed into your nose. Having the air going through your nose will help to keep your airway open, allowing you to breathe through the night.
Nose and Mouth Mask
Instead of just covering your nose, this mask will cover both your mouth and nose. In all other respects, it is the exact same as the nose mask, right down to the seal around the edges and the straps holding it on to your face. If there is air leaking out around the sides of the mask, you need readjust the straps and re-seal the mask.
Full Face Mask
A full face mask will cover all your face. This isn't usually the first choice that most people go for. Most people start small and move up to the full face mask. One problem that you may experience if you choose to go with a full face mask is that it can dry out your skin and eyes.
If you nee a CPAP, you need to make sure that you get the right mask for you. One way to do that is to work with a respiratory tech to find the one that fits you and is most comfortable.