Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy has been around since the 1980s, helping millions of americans suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Starting with work done by Dr. Colin Sullivan, CPAP treatment was founded on the idea that pushing air into the trachea would eliminate the instances of airway closure, or apneas, and provide an effective method of controlling OSA. With the pioneering work of Dr. Sullivan, CPAP therapy grew into the leading treatment for OSA, now with a multitude of different manufacturing companies serving the wide range of clients.
Obstructive sleep apnea required a treatment to be able to keep the airway open in a way that was effective, but as minimally invasive as possible in order to allow patients to sleep soundly without interruption. CPAP therapy filled this void and was able to provide a non invasive solution by pushing pressurized air to keep your airway open throughout the night. This pressure is set by your doctor, and it changes depending on the severity of your OSA. With more severe forms, greater air pressure is required to open up the airway. Your CPAP machine uses electricity to pressurize your therapy, sending it from the machine, through your tubing, and into your mask for delivery.
Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to your CPAP therapy and its inner workings, 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.
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.