What is a Breathing Device?

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  • Written By: Tabatha Manuel
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2020
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A breathing device helps people to better facilitate the breathing process if they are involved in an activity that limits their flow of oxygen or if they have an illness or respiratory failure. There are many types of breathing devices, and each is used for a specific reason, activity or illness. The ventilator and apnea monitor are two common medical devices to help a person breathe better. Breathing devices also are used by people who participate in activities such as deep water diving and mountain climbing, where breathing without the help of a device is difficult or impossible.

Breathing devices are used for a variety of reasons. People who have certain illness use devices such as ventilators and apnea monitors to help the body rest and heal quicker. A ventilator is a machine that helps a person to breathe more efficiently by using a tube inserted into the windpipe that blows oxygen into the airways. An apnea monitor attaches to electrodes on the chest to check for any interruption in the breathing process.


Common respiratory illnesses that sometimes require a breathing device include asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Breathing devices also are used to help premature infants who have underdeveloped nervous systems and are unable to breathe on their own. People who encounter certain viral and bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, sometimes are prescribed breathing machines to help their lungs to breathe more deeply. Pneumonia is common in young children and elderly people.

Certain athletes, such as runners, swimmers, divers, mountain climbers, cyclists and skiers use breathing devices. These devices help the athletes to expand the air in their lungs and improve their performance. A breathing apparatus used under water helps divers to stay under the water longer. Sports breathing devices come in many shapes and sizes to make them easy to use and convenient. While breathing slowly through the apparatus, divers can relax better and enjoy being under the water.

A person should contact his or her primary care physician to undergo the necessary medical testing to determine whether a breathing device is necessary because of an illness. A doctor can indicate what type of device is suitable for a particular person and situation. Most athletes can visit a sports store to purchase a breathing device without consulting with a doctor.


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