Understanding the Parts and Accessories for Your CPAP Machine
If you have sleep apnea, and you’ve been prescribed a CPAP machine, it’s perfectly normal to feel a little overwhelmed with this new piece of machinery. Getting used to the device, and figuring out how to sleep comfortably in it, can be difficult, but it’s made a little bit easier if you take the time to familiarize yourself with each of its parts, and all the necessary accessories. Here’s a quick look at what you should know about your CPAP machine.
The CPAP Machine
While you might refer to all of the pieces attached to the machine as your CPAP machine, in reality, the piece of the equipment that contains the motor and air compressor system is your CPAP. This central device is what creates the continuous positive airway pressure (giving the CPAP its name), and helps to keep your airways open as you sleep.
CPAPs can be battery powered, or plugged into an outlet, and come in a variety of sizes. You can even find very small models that are designed to make traveling with your CPAP easier.
The next piece of your assembled CPAP unit is the tubing. This connects your mask to the machine itself, delivering the positive air pressure to you. The tubing is rather simple in its design, and you might think it resembles a vacuum hose. However, despite its simplicity, it’s very important that you take the proper steps to keep your tubing clean and sanitized. After all, you are inhaling anything that is inside that tubing while you sleep.
Standard CPAP tubing will deliver air that is somewhat colder than your surrounding environment. Some patients find the sensation of inhaling cooler air to be unsettling. If you find that you’re unable to adjust to the feeling, look into heated tubing, which can warm the air slightly as it delivers it to your mask.
Take steps to avoid contaminating the tubing, and don’t let others handle it if it can be avoided. You should also clean the tubing on a regular basis to avoid the buildup of moisture and bacteria. Many of our locations carry cleaning systems that are designs specifically for use on CPAP tubing.
The Mask and Headgear
This is the part of your CPAP device that fits over your nose, or both your nose and mouth. There is a surprising variety available out there, so you can hopefully find a unit that fits you comfortably. As mentioned, some masks are design to only cover the nose; however, if you tend to breathe through your mouth when you sleep, you will need a full-face CPAP mask.
The headgear connected to the mask can also vary from a simple, single-strap design, to a more complex attachment for added stability if you tend to move around in your sleep. Don’t be afraid to try on the various types of headgear to find what works best for you.
If your CPAP mask is damaged or needs to be replaced for some other reason, don’t worry. You can easily find mask replacements without having to purchase an entirely new mask and headgear set.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s extremely important that you clean your CPAP tubing on a regular basis. However, that’s not the only part that needs to be cleaned. Your mask and headgear need regular cleaning as well, and even the machine itself will need some careful sanitizing upon occasion.
Be sure that you only use cleaning supplies that are designed for use on CPAP equipment. Most of our medical supply locations will carry this type of cleaning and sanitizing equipment, so be sure to ask about these if you are purchasing a CPAP machine.
Using a CPAP machine can be very difficult to adjust to, and you will likely find it uncomfortable at first. However, it’s important that you not give up on using it; in the end, you will be far better rested in the morning if you can adjust to wearing your CPAP while you sleep. Luckily, there are special pillows available that are designed specifically for use while using a CPAP machine. These are contoured to apply less pressure to the face mask and headgear, so that you can be more comfortable and get a better night’s sleep.
If you’re looking for a CPAP machine or any of the various parts associated with it, be sure to stop by one of our Medical Xpress locations or Arlington Medical Supply. We can help you find what you need, as well as answer any questions you may have about your CPAP equipment.