People who have a breathing disorder that manifests while sleeping (also known as “sleep apnea”) can really benefit from the wonderful invention that is the CPAP machine. But if you’re new to this problem, you might not know what a CPAP machine does and where/how you can get such a device.
What Is a CPAP Machine?
CPAP is short for “continuous positive airway pressure”. A CPAP machine is a product that delivers airflow through a mask, to help people who have trouble breathing in their sleep get the amount of air needed.
The CPAP machine is actually a very intelligent device, which determines the breath rate of the sleeper and then adjusts the pressure rate accordingly. It is one of the most efficient ways to treat sleep apnea, which is a condition characterized by interruptions in a breath.
The simplest explanation is the following: a CPAP machine uses an internal fan to draw in air from the room, humidifies it (provided the machine has a humidifying system attached to it), pressurizes it, and then sends it to the sleeper using a hose and mask attached to the device.
Know Before You Buy
According to the FDA, a CPAP machine has three components which are labeled as Class II medical devices: the face mask, the generator, and the attacked humidifier. Because of that, people who have sleep apnea require a doctor’s prescription to legally purchase a CPAP machine. Naturally, this can vary depending on your country of residence.
Why is a medical prescription important? First of all, the CPAP machine is made to cater to every individual’s needs, and since no two people are alike, their sleeping and breathing patterns are also quite different from one person to another.
Normally, when you order your own CPAP machines based on a medical prescription, the device is calibrated to a level that’s right for you. If it’s not, your sleep apnea symptoms could get worse.
Second, there are chances that your insurance may partially cover the cost of a CPAP machine. Even if this is not required upon purchase, there are some insurance companies that will ask to see the prescription in order to cover the costs for such a device.
It’s true that you can purchase a CPAP machine without a medical prescription, but when this happens, both the seller and the buyer are breaking the law. A CPAP machine seller requires FDA approval to commercialize this product.
Also, keep in mind that if you buy a CPAP machine from a seller that doesn’t ask for a medical prescription, there are chances they’re selling a second-hand or refurbished device of suspicious quality, to say the least.
Normally, the doctors that are allowed to give a medical prescription for a CPAP machine are dentists, M.D. psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, naturopathic physicians, doctors of osteopathy, and medical physicians.
Where to Get One?
In this day in age, there are two ways to buy almost anything: online and offline. CPAP machines are no exception, which means that you have one of two ways to get one for yourself. The first way implies consulting with your doctor which most likely knows a CPAP supplier and can get the machine for you.
The second method is, obviously, going online. As a general note, CPAP machines are typically cheaper when purchased online, but you also have access to a wider variety of products. Now, a very important thing to keep in mind is that some CPAP machines are sold with a complete package, while others will require the additional purchase of the accessories, such as the face mask, or maybe a humidifier.
Of course, this will jack up the price of the humidifier, but also cause you to spend more time looking for matching accessories. So, if possible, try to opt for a machine that includes everything you need to start your therapy as soon as the product is delivered.
Oh, and keep in mind that even if you buy a CPAP machine online, you will still need to make proof of your medical prescription (every trusted CPAP distributor will ask for one).
As far as online purchases are concerned, you have two more buying options: either visit the website of the CPAP machine manufacturer you have your heart set on, or find a larger CPAP distributor which sells a variety of different machines, such as:
- cpap.com – Probably one of the largest online retailers for CPAP machines and accessories, this family-owned business goes way back to 1999. Their current line-up includes more than 1.000 products, including accessories such as face masks or comfort items. They offer more than 60 CPAP machine models, including some of the newest and most feature-packed models, such as the AirSense 10 AutoSet.
- cpapdirect.com – CPAP Direct offers a multitude of CPAP machines that bear important label names, such as RedMes and Philips Respironics. Founded by M.D. Daniel Root, this distributor offers actual CPAP machines, as well as parts and accessories for these devices, which include humidifiers, filters, batteries, hoses, masks, adapters, and more.
- directhomemedical.com – Direct Home Medical offers really convenient prices on CPAP machines and accessories, with the promise of refunding the price difference should you find any of the items at a lower price on another website. They also offer several financing options for people whose medical insurance might not cover this expense. You will find a lot of important CPAP names here, including Provent, Philips, Pur-Sleep or Somnetics.
- cheapcpapsupplies.com – Cheap CPAP Supplies is a retailer that promises to pair every sleep apnea patient with the proper equipment that guarantees steady breathing throughout the entire night. Aside from the actual CPAP machines themselves, the website also offers masks, comfort, and travel accessories, CPAP machine cleaning products, sleep apnea pillows, and more.
Proven to be one of the best ways to treat sleep apnea, a CPAP machine is a piece of medical equipment that patients who have been diagnosed with this condition can purchase both online and offline. Once you have a medical prescription for it, you can buy a CPAP machine from one of the authorized distributors that are available online, but also directly from the manufacturer’s website.