CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP equipment is used to provide a constant pressure that keeps the upper airway open while a person is sleeping. The apparatus typically consists of a mask that’s secured with headbands, a filter, a machine that generates the pressure, and a tube that connects the two.
CPAP equipment is usually used to treat sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It causes the throat muscles to relax temporarily and close the airway. CPAP equipment can help keep the airway open when the muscles relax.
How and when filters should be cleaned varies from machine to machine. When patients receive their CPAP equipment, a technician or provider will go over how to properly care for the particular model’s filter.
Because CPAP equipment is used to treat a medical condition, the cost of the equipment is often at least partially covered by health insurance plans. All insurance policies have their own coverages and terms, though, so patients should review their specific policy’s coverages to find out what kind of coverage they have.
CPAP, APAP and BiPAP equipment all deliver pressure to the airway, and they all are used to treat sleep disorders. CPAP machines deliver a single, constant pressure. BiPAP machines, which are also called BiLevel machines, alternate between two pressures. They deliver a higher pressure on the inhale and a lower pressure during the exhale. APAP machines constantly adjust the pressure they deliver.
Whether a CPAP, APAP or BiPAP machine is best for a particular patient depends on many different factors. During an in-person appointment, a sleep medicine specialist can help patients who need CPAP or other equipment determine which apparatus is most appropriate for them.
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