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CPAP Machines

If you have recently been diagnosed by a doctor with sleep apnea, a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) may have been suggested as a home remedy to help you stop snoring and breathe more normally as you sleep. These units have a face mask and a blower that detects when you breathe in and gently pushes air in as you inhale. This keeps your air passageways open and prevents snoring.

There are three basic types of equipment:

  • The basic CPAP machine provides positive pressure at all times. Bi-level machines provide two levels of air pressure: one for inhalation, and a lesser pressure for exhalation. Auto-titrate models (the newest) can dynamically adjust the air pressure as you breathe: more when you need it and less when you don't.
  • Some units mix in heated, humidified air, which also cuts down on snoring. Better units automatically detect the amount of moisture you exhale to adjust breath by breath the amount of humidified air to mix in.
  • Recording units can keep track of your breathing patterns and even detect occurances of sleep apnea. The recorded data can be downloaded and reviewed by your doctor.
  • If you go camping, there are CPAP units that run on 12VDC. And international travelers will want to look for a unit that includes internal power adaptors for other countries.


Choosing the mask type is also important. Sometimes the mask that fits best will be from a different company than the manufacturer of the CPAP machine. Most masks are strapped to your face from behind your head and are triangular shaped covering the nose, or mouth, or both. Issues of fit (leakage), comfort and style are the leading criteria when choosing a mask.

Choose from masks made of silicone, synthetic rubber or vinyl based on comfort and any allergies you may have to these materials. There are also pillow-masks, cannula-style tubing and special needs masks, such as for supplemental oxygen delivery.

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