FAQs About CPAP Machines


If you’ve been having trouble breathing while you sleep, or you’ve been considering asking your doctor about a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, we’re here to answer your questions.

Below are some of the most common questions we get about CPAP machines:

1. How Can I Get a CPAP?

A person cannot simply walk into a store and buy a CPAP machine – they are dispensed by prescription only. Before you can get a CPAP machine, your doctor will need to diagnose you with sleep apnea or a related sleep disorder, then prescribe a CPAP machine.

The most important reason why it requires a prescription is that the doctor will include the proper pressure settings at which the machine must be set for you. Every person is different and requires different settings.

Getting this prescription may require you to undergo an overnight sleep study in a sleep center or perform an at-home sleep apnea test. If your results are positive for OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), your doctor will perform a CPAP titration study to configure the appropriate PAP (positive airway pressure) level to eliminate your symptoms.

Your prescription for home CPAP therapy will include:

  • Your type of device
  • Your mask/interface type and size
  • Your specific pressure settings

2. Are There Any Parts of My CPAP Machine That I Need to Replace?

Some parts of your CPAP machine will need to be replaced regularly so the device continues to function properly. Here’s what needs to be replaced and when:

Every 3 months:

  • Your mask
  • Tubing

Every 6 months:

  • Chin strap
  • Headgear
  • Filters
  • Humidifier water chamber

Every 5 years:

  • Entire CPAP machine

3. Can I Travel with My CPAP Machine?

While traveling is possible, you may have trouble carrying your CPAP machine everywhere. Here are some tips for making traveling easier.

  • Pack your CPAP device in your carry-on bag. (The TSA agents know how to inspect all prescription medicines and related devices.)
  • Make the CPAP device easily viewable by the TSA agents by wrapping it in a clear plastic bag.
  • You may also want to invest in a secondary CPAP device that’s smaller and more travel-friendly.

4. Does Using a CPAP Cure My Sleep Apnea?

A CPAP is only designed to assist you in breathing while you sleep, so it isn’t curative. The only things that have cured sleep apnea for some people include surgery to remove the tonsils, remove the adenoids, or further correct a cleft palate.

5. What if I’m Uncomfortable Using My CPAP Machine?

There are other types of CPAP interfaces, such as dental devices. It’s possible to make some lifestyle changes that will help you with sleep apnea and reduce or eliminate the need for your CPAP machine, such as losing weight, significant diet changes, improved sleeping habits, etc.

Undergoing surgery, having positional therapy, or using another breathing device may be helpful if you want to avoid using your CPAP machine.

6. What Type of CPAP Masks Are Available?

You can ask your doctor about the several types of CPAP masks, and try the one that you think would suit you best:

  1. Nasal CPAP mask
  2. Nasal pillows
  3. Full-face CPAP mask

Contact a Sleep Medicine Doctor in Chicagoland

Don’t let sleep apnea rule your life. A CPAP machine may be able to help you get better sleep.

If you have OSA and think you may need a CPAP machine, it’s ideal to make an appointment with a sleep specialist as soon as possible. Our team at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine diagnoses and treats a variety of sleep disorders, and we will help you manage your condition to achieve a better quality of life.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (815) 477-7350 or fill out our simple online appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you get a better night’s sleep so you can enjoy your days and nights again.

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