CPAP machines provide continuous positive airway pressure during sleep to help sleep apnea patients breathe more easily. The pressurized air reaches the patient through a sleep mask that provides air all night long.
There are other breathing machines besides the CPAP machine. They tend to be more expensive than CPAP therapy, but some people find CPAP masks uncomfortable and find other treatments more effective.
A VPAP machine offers variable positive airway pressure, and a BiPAP machine is a bilevel positive airway pressure machine. In these, the pressure is different when inhaling than when exhaling. For some people, a VPAP mask or BiPAP mask can be more comfortable and make breathing feel more natural.
An APAP machine gives automatic positive airway pressure (also known as auto-titrating continuous positive airway pressure) through an APAP mask. This machine has sensors that monitor the patient's breathing, providing extra air when needed.
CPAP machines are one of the snoring aids that are often covered by insurance. However, insurance companies are less likely to cover treatment with APAP or VPAP. Most patients start with CPAP treatment, trying other machines only if they are not satisfied with CPAP therapy.