Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are the proven most effective way of treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With all of the different options, though, it can get confusing what all of these different parts due, so we’ll try to walk you through some of the basics.
The most obvious part of your CPAP equipment setup is the machine itself. These machines come in a variety of types. All of these machines have the purpose of delivering pressurized air to your airway in order to prevent the instance of apneas, where your throat closes and you stop breathing during sleep. CPAP machines deliver one pressure while BIPAP and APAP have multiple pressure settings that can help those with more severe OSA. You can read more about these machine types here. Machines also contain filters. These small, usually white pads fit into your machine and filter the air intake to ensure cleaner therapy. They need to be changed in order to ensure they are doing their job to eliminate particles that could cause you irritation.
Your machine delivers air through a series of tubing. The tubing attaches at one end to your machine, and at the other on your mask. Masks fit over your nose, mouth, or both and form a tight seal to ensure you get your prescribed therapy pressure. Like machines, there are a few different types of masks to choose from. Full face masks are triangular in shape and fit over your nose and mouth. They’re a great option for people who breathe from both their nose and mouth while sleeping. Nasal masks are a smaller triangle that fit only over your nose. Even smaller are nasal pillow masks that fit on your nostrils. Each of these masks is fully effective at delivering CPAP therapy, but everyone has their own preferences about which works best for them. You can read more about which mask might work best for you here.
Your mask is held on by a set of headgear. The headgear clips onto your mask and then fits around the head to hold it firmly in place even if you toss and turn. Headgear is often adjustable, so find a comfortable fit that’s snug, but not too tight. You also may choose to use a chin strap if using a nasal or nasal pillow mask. These will help keep your mouth closed while resting in order to prevent air leakage.
Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to complex CPAP equipment, but hopefully you now have a better idea of the basics. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.
CPAP machines are the most basic air pressure machine used to treat your sleep apnea. Like all other machines this post will cover, this therapy works by delivering pressurized air through your airway in order to keep it open while you sleep. This helps to eliminate the instances of apneas, where your airway closes and you actually stop breathing. CPAP machines have one pressure setting, prescribed by your doctor, that the machine will run on throughout the night.
Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP)
BiPAP machines are considered a step up from traditional CPAP machines. They are able to toggle between two separate pressure settings in order to provide more comfort for the user. Typically, these pressure settings are set to an inhalation pressure and an exhalation pressure, offering a higher and lower setting respectively. Many users report that they are more comfortable with this type of machine because it offers an easier time exhaling, making them more comfortable.
Auto-adjusting CPAP (APAP)
APAP machines are the most sophisticated form of CPAP treatment and are often reserved for patients with severe sleep apnea. Unlike CPAP and BiPAP machines, these machines are able to automatically register the amount of pressure needed to keep your airway open, even adjusting breath by breath if necessary. Because of this ability, these machines are even capable of adjusting your pressure based on your sleeping position, any weight gain or loss, or things like alcohol consumption that could effect how you are breathing.
Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive outline of the different machines, but hopefully you now have a better idea of what might work best for you. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.
There are many different types of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, each which has its own benefits depending on your personal and therapy needs. A BIPAP, or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machine, has many similarities to a more traditional CPAP machine, but it also has important differences. Both of these machines work to deliver pressurized air into your airway, helping to keep it open and prevent instances of apneas, when you stop breathing while sleeping due to airway collapse. These apneas can occur up to hundreds of times per night and have dangerous health consequences if not faced head on with your doctor.
BIPAP machines are, in a way, a more sophisticated type of CPAP machine. They still are delivering pressurized air to prevent apneas, but they are able to have dual pressure settings. Some patients complain that with a traditional CPAP machine, they have trouble while exhaling or falling asleep due to the continuous, single pressure. By having these two settings in a BIPAP machine, your doctor can set one pressure for inhalation and the other for when you exhale, helping to minimize any uneasiness during therapy. The exhalation pressure is typically set lower which allows the user to need less effort to exhale while asleep and prevent any discomfort that can cause you to wake.
These machines are often seen as the next step for patients who are having a difficult time with a CPAP machine, or whose OSA and OSA markers have not improved with the use of a CPAP machine. They are also seen as a good option for users with low oxygen levels or even cardiac health problems. Of course, only your doctor can decide if a BIPAP machine is right for your OSA needs, but always speak with them about your concerns, especially if you believe your therapy is not working as effectively as it should be.
Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive checklist on whether or not you should be using a BIPAP, but hopefully you at least have a better understanding of its differences from a traditional CPAP machine. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.