Is CPAP And Oxygen Therapy The Same Thing, And Which Is Best for You?


What is air? Besides being the key to sustaining life as we know it, air is a mixture of gasses—mainly oxygen and nitrogen—that then turns into carbon dioxide when we breathe. But what if you can’t breathe on your own? Well, you go to the doctor and are prescribed one of two things: CPAP therapy or oxygen therapy. Read on to find out the difference between the two, which is best for you, and how Aeroflow Sleep can help.

In This Article:

What Is CPAP?

What Is Oxygen Therapy?

Is A CPAP Machine The Same As An Oxygen Concentrator?

Is CPAP Better Than Oxygen?

Can I Use Oyxgen With CPAP?

Does Aeroflow Sleep Supply Oxygen?


Aeroflow Sleep is in-network with most primary insurance companies and is accreditted by Medicare and Medicaid. Complete our Qualify Through Insurance Form, and we will automatically check to see if your plan covers CPAP supplies; including a machine, mask, and accessories. ***Must have a sleep study to qualify.***

You will also receive the care and attention every sleep apnea patient deserves; one-on-one clinical support in-home or via telehealth, a dedicated Sleep Specialist you can contact during business hours, and a user-friendly online portal with tailored replacement schedule, important updates and notifications, and educational resources.

Let us take the headache out of healthcare. Join the Aeroflow Sleep family today! It only takes 5-7 minutes to get started.

What is CPAP?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is simply ventilated airflow that enters your lungs by way of a CPAP, APAP, or BiPAP machine. These PAP devices use pressurized air to prevent your breathing from stopping during sleep, which is called an apneic event. How many apneic events occur within an hour of sleep is what tells the healthcare provider if a patient needs a CPAP. This is measured on the Apnea-Hypopnea Index by having a sleep study performed.

A sleep study involves a few non-invasive sensors monitoring your breathing patterns, airflow, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. It is a test that can be performed in a lab or at home and will ultimately determine the cause of your sleep problems; most likely a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA.) Once the results of your sleep study are in, you will be diagnosed, provided with a set air pressure, and referred to a CPAP supplier like Aeroflow Sleep.

What is Oxygen Therapy?

If you haven’t seen oxygen therapy in real life, you may have seen it in the movies. Let’s watch the theatrical trailer for The Fault in Our Stars (2014) to get a quick visual. (And, for the record, CPAP therapy can be found in popular culture too.)

In the The Fault in Our Stars trailer, you see the fictional character Hazel is on oxygen. At first glance, her oxygen therapy is also ventilated airflow, but it is not pressurized like CPAP. That means it can be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Hazel is a 16 year-old cancer patient, so her need for oxygen therapy is on the extreme side. Nevertheless, the portrayal of oxygen therapy is accurate. From fending off asthma attacks to inducing anesthesia, it can really help anyone who isn’t getting enough air to their lungs or brain. All you have to do is find a source of supplemental oxygen; like an oxygen concentrator.

There are two ways you can receive oxygen from a device: through continuous flow or pulse dose. The first is literally a continuous flow of baseline oxygen and is what Hazel is using in the form of her portable oxygen concentrator (or oxygen tank.) The second is a bit more complicated, because pulse dose is customized based on how you breathe and the amount of oxygen you need at any given time. In short, how fast your inhalation and exhalation pattern is determines how fast the air is delivered and how much air you need may crank the levels one direction or the other.

This is just like how PAP devices can be continuous, bilevel, or automatic. In fact, ResMed even offers a function called AutoRamp™, which is essentially pulse dose but for CPAP use. ResMed is one of the most popular CPAP machine manufacturers today, so the parallels probably have you wondering…

Is a CPAP Machine the Same as an Oxygen Concentrator?

Yes, both CPAP devices and oxygen concentrators offer mechanical ventilation. No, a CPAP machine is not the same thing as an oxygen concentrator.

Although the end goal of CPAP therapy and oxygen therapy is ultimately the same, oxygen concentration actually generates pure oxygen (O2) or ambient air. Remember, CPAP machines just pressurize the air. Furthermore, CPAP cannot be used to treat cardiopulmonary disorders like COPD or emphysema. CPAP only treats sleep apnea, so…

Is CPAP better than Oxygen?

That depends on what you need treated! CPAP is not better if supplemental oxygen is what you need. CPAP treatment is more effective than oxygen for the treatment of sleep apnea. After all, it’s a sleep medicine. Meanwhile, oxygen therapy is more effective for pretty much anything that isn’t sleepiness

At the end of the day, the obvious difference between CPAP therapy and oxygen therapy is that the former occurs while you sleep. The latter generally treats your breathing while you’re awake. That said…

Can I use Oxygen with CPAP?

If you do suffer from additional respiratory disorders that require the use of supplemental oxygen and you also have sleep apnea, yes, you can use oxygen with CPAP. Believe it or not, you can connect your oxygen supply to your CPAP machine too! Many CPAP masks already include a port where oxygen can be attached. If your mask doesn’t, you’ll need an inexpensive “bleed adapter” to “bleed in” your oxygen supply.

Using oxygen helps also treat your sleep apnea in this case, because all risk factors impact how well your CPAP therapy is working and vice versa. Risk factors can range from obesity to heart failure, lung disease to cardiovascular disease, and so on and many overlap. That’s why you should invest in a device that best suits you ASAP.

Does Aeroflow Sleep Supply CPAP and Oxygen?

Oxygen concentration is not an area Aeroflow Sleep handles. What we specialize in is covering your CPAP supplies up to 100% through insurance.

Now that you know the difference between CPAP and oxygen therapy, ask your doctor if you should be treated for sleep apnea. If the answer is yes, you can always come back to this blog to fill out our Qualify Form at the link below or go directly to to see how much you could save on your durable medical equipment.

About the Author

With nearly a decade of writing experience, Meagan Remmes leads the creative vision behind Aeroflow Sleep's blog content. She has worked with a wide range of clients in the past; including Mission Hospital, Ingles Markets, Omni Hotels & Resorts, and Advance Auto Parts. Today, her passion is to educate new and existing sleep apnea patients on the benefits of receiving PAP supplies through insurance. You may also find her hanging out with her dog, hiking with her husband, or reading a good book in blissful solitude.

Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.