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Comparison: How to choose the Correct CPAP APAP Nasal or Full Face Mask

September 16th 2005

Comparison: How to choose the Correct CPAP APAP Nasal or Full Face Mask

Resmed Activa Nasal Mask

There are basically three types of CPAP masks.  The most popular is the nasal mask that fits exclusively around the nose.  The Full face mask fits around the nose and the mouth, and the new technology incorporates a nasal pillow that actually fits into the nostrils.  Each mask has their benefits and problems.

Many users of the nasal pillow love the seal.  The pillows provide a great seal and the sleeper does not lose that seal when moving from side to side.  For people that sleep on their side, this is great. 

When a mask loses its seal it blows air out the side, waking the sleeper up.  The problem with the nasal pillows is they can irritate the nose.  Many users have resorted to ointments to solve this problem.

The nasal mask may be the most popular of all of the masks. The nasal mask covers the nose and creates a seal with a gel type material or other cell technology.  The two most popular manufacturers are Respironics and Resmed. 


From personal experience, the Resmed Activa has proven to be the best nasal mask.  They have perfected the seal.  I have tried other masks including Respironics Comfort Curve, Profile Lite and comfort select.   Most nasal masks will come in at least two different sizes so you will want to take some facial measurements to determine the best fit.

The Repironics Comfort Curve is a great design.  The big draw back is the cheek pads.  I am not sure why they incorporated these large cheek pads, but they do not work for side sleepers.  It is like sleeping with huge rocks attached to the side of your head.  If Respironics were to change the headgear design they would have a real winner on their hands. 

The Activa is the preferred mask because it does not leak.  These leaks usually occur when a sleeper rolls to the side causing the mask to push against the pillow.  This will jar the mask moving it away from the face.  The sleeper will likely wake up and have to adjust the mask.  Each time this happens the sleep is disturbed. 

CPAP Masks

The Activa is the first nasal mask with ActiveCell Technology.  The company tells us that “active sleep demands an active seal!”  I have found that even when I roll to the side where the mask hits the pillow, the seal is rarely broken.  In fact, the mask works better when it is not tightened.  A loose fit, under pressure, creates a nearly perfect seal.

Many problems arise for nasal mask users when their mouth opens.  If the mouth opens air escapes through.  The mouth must be kept shut when a nasal mask is used.  Some users have resorted to using a strap around the head to keep the jaw shut. 

If the mouth opens “puffing” occurs.  This is a term used on some of the message boards to describe the condition where air shoots out the mouth.  If this occurs regularly, CPAP users should consider using a full face mask.  This mask covers the nose and mouth.  If a person suffers from allergies or a cold, this type of mask may be a benefit allowing the user to breathe through the mouth.  

Both Resmed and Repironics make these masks.  The most popular full face mask is the Resmed Mirage Ultra full face mask.  This is a new version that replaced the Mirage II mask.  The Mirage Ultra has a drawback.  The forehead pads are so large that when the user turns to his or her side the pads hit the pillow jarring the mask from the face.  This is annoying and wakes the sleeper up throughout the night.


The older Mirage II has a smaller forehead pad.  Here is the bad news.  The Mirage II will be discontinued throughout North and South American come October 1st 2005.  Some dealers may still stock the mask until they run out. 

So there you have it.  There are many choices for CPAP mask users.  That is a good thing.  A decade ago there were few choices and they were all bad.  Today, with competition and new technology, CPAP comfort has improved.  I just can’t wait for Resmed to come out with a Full Face Activa mask.

There are a few CPAP user forums / discussion boards.  Sleep apnea is a serious condition and can lead to heart failure, high blood pressure and a whole litany of ailments.  If you snore, it is likely you may have sleep apnea and not know it.  Here are two popular forum websites: CPAP Talk and Talk About Sleep 


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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Sleep Books

Keywords and misspellings: Activa acteva Respironics Resprionix apnea sleap nasel CPAP APAP CFLEX


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:40 PM