The Perfect Fit - Softgel Nasal Mask With Headgear

Dec 10 10:17 2009 Gen Wright Print This Article

Finding the perfect CPAP mask has plagued many users throughout their CPAP use.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA,Guest Posting which is the most common of the three apneas, causes people to stop breathing up to 100 times per hour during sleep. OSA can have very serious consequences including hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, weight gain, psychological problems, headaches and cardiovascular not to mention daily motor, functions, concentration, and driving.

On the positive side, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated very effectively. Numerous treatment options are available to alleviate the symptoms. Once OSA is diagnosed, the goal of finding a perfectly fitting mask should be a high priority. A comfortable and well fitted mask is the basis for building compliance and a higher quality treatment. In determining a properly fitted mask, there are a few challenges which a CPAP user needs overcome. Let's explore further three of these challenges.

Problem sealing:

For better or worse, everyone's face is shaped differently. This, of course, creates challenges for mask manufacturers such as Respironics and Resmed. With the contour of one face very different from another, no mask fits the same on every CPAP user. As a result, it's very difficult to come up with a nasal mask that fits all the face shapes and creates problems with proper sealing. If the mask does not seal properly, the use of a CPAP machine will not afford the user optimal results. So, it is imperative that a mask fit properly in order to provide an effective seal.

Fortunately, in some cases, technology has solved some of the problem by the use of gel based mask cushions. These gel cushions tend to take on any facial shape after a “breaking in” period and create an excellent seal. Additionally, some nasal pillow type masks are equipped with various sized pillows which can be properly fitted by the CPAP user for comfort.

Quietness of mask:

Some masks tend to make noise while the excess air is being diffused out of the mask. This can be a problem for those who share a bed with a CPAP user. The noise and, at times, the stream of air out of air port may disturb the sleep of others. Of course, this does not benefit either person. Thus, it is important to choose high quality nasal masks which have well designed air ports. These vents should diffuse the air quietly and away from yourself and partner. Obviously, having a room without any noise distractions will enhance the quality level of sleep. When purchasing a mask, make sure you are aware of the air vents and try to visualize how that will add or detract from the CPAP experience.


Comfort is the most important factor in choosing a mask. It also is the aspect in which most patients complain. Having to sleep with a mask on will inevitably provide some discomfort, but the degree of discomfort is proportional to the level of compliance. In other words, the higher the comfort level, the higher the compliance rate. Because masks tend to be used for long periods of time, it is important to fully understand the masks contour and pressure points relative to the face. This might mean that it will be necessary to try a few different masks in actual sleep situations. Additionally, it is recommended that a CPAP user have multiple masks in order to reduce the pressure points of using the same mask over long periods of time. Another suggestion is to have a one of each mask type; a full face mask, a nasal mask and a nasal pillow system.

Higher quality masks always manufactured by companies such as Respironics and Resmed have been developed to fit a wide range of people and now come with customizable features. With the forehead and cushion adjustable, masks can be better adjusted to suit the face and head of nearly every CPAP user. When a mask is adjusted and fitted properly, the CPAP user should barely notice the mask is on the face. In fact, the mask should only be snug – not cinched down – in order to provide optimal results. If the CPAP user must constantly adjust or tighten the CPAP mask or there is a high degree of discomfort, it's a clear sign that it is an improperly fitted mask and the choice should be reconsidered.

Having a good night's rest is very important for nearly every aspect of a person’s daily live. If you are a CPAP user, a high quality and properly fitted mask will provide a strong base from which to build a high level of compliance. With CPAP compliance, a good night’s sleep and higher quality of life will follow.

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Gen Wright
Gen Wright

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