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.
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