What are CPAP Supplies?

Emma Lloyd

A continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP machine, is a piece of equipment used by people with sleep apnea. The CPAP machine provides a supply of pressurized air for people with this sleep disorder. To go along with the machine, a number of different CPAP supplies are needed to keep the equipment working.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines help treat people with sleep apnea, a medical condition that occurs when a person's breathing stops and restarts while sleeping.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines help treat people with sleep apnea, a medical condition that occurs when a person's breathing stops and restarts while sleeping.

Sleep apnea is a disorder which causes the airway to spontaneously collapse during sleep. As a result, people with sleep apnea may wake up gasping for air multiple times in a single night. This leads to chronic tiredness, and over time can increase blood pressure and put stress on the heart. The CPAP machine is a device which generates a constant supply of positively pressurized air, which keeps the airway open during sleep and prevents the symptoms of sleep apnea.

A humidifier can often go hand-in-hand with CPAP supplies.
A humidifier can often go hand-in-hand with CPAP supplies.

The CPAP machine itself is similar in size and shape to a shoebox. The machine is fitted with a small motor to generate the positive air pressure required, and the pressure can be adjusted by the user to suit his or her requirements. CPAP supplies such as a mask and hose are needed for the machine to work correctly, while others are optional extras that make using the machine more comfortable.

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CPAP masks are available in several different forms, as well as in different sizes. There are three main types of mask. The nasal mask and nasal pillow mask cover only the nose, while the full face mask covers the mouth as well as the nose. CPAP supplies such as moisture-absorbent mask pads, pads for mask straps, and clips to fix masks more securely are optional items that users can wear for convenience and comfort.

CPAP humidifiers are not strictly required, but most CPAP users find them necessary for comfort reasons. The positively pressurized air dries the throat out, which can cause pain and irritation to the user. CPAP humidifiers help prevent this problem by adding moisture to the air before it is breathed in. CPAP supplies are available to enhance humidifiers, including replacement parts and hose connectors. Users can even opt for a heated humidifier that warms the air in addition to adding moisture.

Additional CPAP supplies are largely optional extras. People with allergies, or who are sensitive to dust and other particles in their air supply, can purchase a filter for their CPAP machine. The filter removes particulate matter and bacteria from the air to ensure a clean supply for the CPAP user. Another optional accessory is a hose cover made from fleece or another soft fabric. The hose can be slipped into the cover so that it is more comfortable for the CPAP user to wear. A CPAP machine can even be fitted with a small diffuser so that the user can add aromatherapy oils to their nighttime air supply. These are ideal for people who feel uncomfortable wearing CPAP masks, or need help relaxing when trying to sleep.

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