How Do I Choose a CPAP Machine?

There are so many options to choose from when you’re diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  Your Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is at the center of your therapy, but with so many different types of machines it can be difficult to know where to start.  Here is a quick guide to help you narrow down your options and get going with your therapy.  Remember, sticking with your therapy can have numerous health benefits such as a better mood and waking, decreased risk of health complications, and even weight loss.

CPAP Machines

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines are the original machine and first effective treatment used to treat OSA.  They work by pumping pressurized air from your machine to your mask, keeping your airway open and eliminating the instances of apneas, where you actually stop breathing.  CPAP machines have one, continuous pressure setting that is set by a doctor.  Because of the single pressure setting, these machines have the same setting breathing in and breathing out, which some people find irritating while exhaling.  CPAP machines are great for those with a mild or manageable form of OSA, as with a lower pressure setting you won’t be uncomfortable during exhalation.

BiPAP Machines

Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machines were the first machine to utilize two pressure settings to treat OSA.  These machines have two fixed settings that are set by your doctor, one while you inhale and one while you exhale.  These settings allow slightly more comfort while exhaling if you are in need of a higher pressure setting, as you eliminate the feeling of yourself needing to fight with your therapy to exhale.  Because of this, BiPAP machines are great for people with a higher prescribed pressure to sleep more soundly.

APAP Machines

Automatic Positive Airway Pressure machines are the newest machine available for treating OSA.  Similarly to BiPAP machines, APAP machines have two different pressure settings, but APAP machines can actually automatically adjust these while you sleep.  These machines are actually capable of recognizing your unique therapy needs, able to change on a breath by breath basis to ensure you are getting the most effective therapy possible.  APAP machines are more often the machine of choice for those with severe OSA, as a high exhalation pressure is not a cause of discomfort.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the types of CPAP machines, but hopefully you now have a better idea of some of your options. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.


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