Do you know what a CPAP machine is? Better yet, do you know what CPAP means? For starters, CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Yes, there’s a lot of technicality there, but the whole point of this jargon is that this kind of pressure is generated to help a person who cannot generate it on his own. In other words, CPAP is a kind of pressure used to help someone who has difficulty in breathing, most especially for those who suffer from sleep apnea.
Oops, that’s another medical and technical term! Once again, in simple terms, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by breath interruptions. This condition happens when the person’s air passage is blocked (usually by the tissues in the throat). CPAP Cushions
The CPAP machine was developed by Dr. Colin Sullivan in 1981. This Australian researcher, together with his colleagues Berthon-Jones, Issa and Eves, “invented” this mechanism primarily for the treatment of sleep apnea. Early CPAP machines were large and bulky, but today, they are getting more compact, making them capable for transport. While early CPAP machines are only used in the hospitals, today, they are widely used in the homes of patients as well. You can even rent CPAP – in Toronto and elsewhere – nowadays.
So what does a CPAP machine look like? What are its components?
The CPAP machine is divided into three major parts. Let’s discuss them one by one.
1. The Flow Generator. This is the heart of the machine. It is the part responsible for providing the airflow pressure.
2. The Hose. Obviously, this part is responsible for connecting the interface (discussed below) with the flow generator.
3. The Interface. This is the part that you put on your face and which makes the introduction of the airflow pressure into your system possible. The most common interfaces are CPAP nasal masks, nasal pillows, and full-face masks.
CPAP nasal masks are perhaps the simplest among the three interfaces considering that they cover only your nose. In essence, pressure goes through your nose, then down to your throat, and to your lungs. Among the three, CPAP nasal masks are perhaps the most comfortable.
Contrary to CPAP nasal masks, full-face masks cover your whole face. If you are a bit claustrophobic, you may not want to use this interface. Full-face masks, however, are great at preventing you from breathing through your mouth. Sleep apnea patients must breathe through the nose to keep a “close pressure system.”