CPAP users may have heard the term Bipap but may be confused about how it works and how it differs compared to the basic CPAP machine. There are some differences when it comes to Bipap vs CPAP. The basic CPAP machine delivers a constant stream of air through a tube and into a face mask. This type of constant pressure will help to keep the user’s airway open and allow them to breathe normally. Bipap will offer two different levels of air pressure.
Bipap vs CPAP: Differences and Similarities for these Devices
Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder that’s characterized by the interruption of breathing during sleep. This will be caused when a person’s air passage becomes narrow and doesn’t allow air to pass through. This in turn will cause oxygen levels to dip, causing a person to wake up gasping for air. People who are undergoing treatment for sleep apnea are usually familiar with Bipap and CPAP machines. Each of these machines will make use of positive airway pressure in order to help clear the airway and allow a person to breathe easier at night.
The Bipap machine functions similarly to the CPAP machine when a person inhales, however it differs on the pressure during exhaling. During exhalation, the Bipap machine will deliver a pressure relief or it will drop in pressure in order to allow a patient to breathe more normally. This pressure relief is more noticeable for patients with a prescribed air pressure of fifteen CM or higher, as it will allow them to exhale without breathing against constant strong pressure.
CPAP machines will deliver a predetermined level of air pressure, releasing the compressed air through a hose which is connected to a mask. This continuous pressure will keep the airway open. CPAP machines will also be used for respiratory conditions.
Bipap machines will deliver two levels of air pressure. This type of device is used to treat severe obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. This machine is also prescribed for people who suffer from heart disease.
The CPAP machine will help by supplying a continuous level of air pressure while the Bipap machine will exert high pressure when the patient breathes in and a lower pressure when the user breathes out. The Bipap machine will reduce the pressure when exhaled, in order to allow the user to breathe more normally.
Bipap machines are designed more for the patient who is suffering from lung diseases such as COPD, while CPAP machines are more beneficial for patients who suffer from severe sleep apnea. CPAP is also significantly more affordable than Bipap machines and will typically be covered by health insurance while the Bipap machine will not.
CPAP devices are much noisier and larger than Bipap machines and it can be more difficult for a patient to relax and sleep through the night.
What Happens after a Sleep Apnea Diagnosis?
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, then the odds are you’ll be introduced to at least one of these two possible treatments. The standard treatment for this condition is the use of one of these machines, for the much needed support designed to keep your airway open. Often, CPAP will be more commonly prescribed due to its effectiveness rate, and because this type of machine is covered by insurance. Most patients will turn to Bipap use if they experience difficulty sleeping due the noise the CPAP machine makes or because they have trouble breathing comfortably with the same level of air pressure for inhaling and exhaling. Both of these machines will definitely take some getting used to in the beginning weeks of treatment.
Patients who suffer from the most common form of sleep apnea will usually begin treatment with the CPAP machine. Bipap will only be prescribed for patients who suffer from central sleep apnea or patients who are unable to adjust to the oxygen levels administered by the CPAP device. Central sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in a person’s breathing without an obstruction in the airway.
A person will receive a diagnosis for sleep apnea based on the results of a sleep study. The sleep study will be performed at a sleep study center, where professionals will observe a patient while they sleep, or the patient will be given a device to take home which will monitor their breathing patterns. After wearing this device for two nights the patient will return to the sleep study center to turn in the device.
What Other Devices are Available for Sleep Apnea Treatment?
Aside from Bipap and CPAP machines, there are additional machines that can be prescribed by your sleep specialist. Many of these other machines will have automatic features that offer a range of pressures you can use. There’s also a type of bi-level device that can deliver timed breaths. Lastly, there is another type of sophisticated device called adaptive or auto servo ventilation that offers even more features in order to maintain normal breathing patterns during sleep.
Typically, the right type of machine for you will be based on your specific needs, lung capacity, comfort level and breathing patterns. Trial and error will play a big part when it comes to finding a machine that will allow you to sleep more comfortably while also assisting in keeping your airways open. Your sleep specialist will be able to determine your needs based on the results of a sleep study and an assessment. You should discuss your options at your visit and speak with your physician if you experience any difficulty sleeping after beginning treatment.