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What is CPAP Equipment?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
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People who suffer from various breathing disorders, weakened or collapsed lungs, or chronic obstructive sleep apnea often find relief from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. A CPAP device pumps a constant, pressurized stream of air into the nose, allowing airways to stay open and promoting proper respiration. Large, specialized CPAP equipment is employed in hospitals and surgical centers to help people with emergency conditions, while smaller machines are used at home by individuals with sleep apnea.

There are many different essential pieces of CPAP equipment and accessories. The main component of most CPAP devices is a small air compressor ran by an electrical motor. The compressor, motor, and battery pack are enclosed in a plastic casing that features an electronic display panel. The display informs users when the device is turned on, whether it is ready for use, and the level of pressurization. Doctors, sleep technicians, and users can adjust air pressure levels and set an automatic shut-off timer with knobs and buttons.

Air is delivered from the compressor to a specially designed mask or nosepiece through a flexible plastic hose. The facepiece creates a vacuum around the nose which promotes a constant level of air pressure in the trachea and bronchial tubes. The pressure allows airways to remain unobstructed and prevent their collapse, providing significant relief to sleep apnea sufferers and hospital patients with respiratory or cardiac failure.

Users have many choices in the size and type of facepieces included in their CPAP equipment, and most individuals are fitted for a custom mask by a professional sleep technician to ensure comfort. Full-face masks are designed to cover the nose and the mouth, while smaller models just fit over the nose. Users may prefer a small nose clip over a mask, which delivers air through the nostrils through two small tubes. Individuals who simply cannot get used to wearing a mask or nosepiece can purchase CPAP equipment that pumps air through an opening in a soft pillow. A CPAP pillow is usually strapped to the face to ensure constant airflow.

Many machines feature other types of CPAP equipment that increase functionality and provide extra comfort for users. Devices may be equipped with permanent or disposable air filters to ensure that clean, quality air is flowing through the system. Many models can be hooked up to a humidifier that adds moisture to the air and helps to prevent coughing and sore throats. With consistent use of CPAP equipment, people can find the relief they need to rest soundly and recover from their breathing woes.

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