What is the difference between CPAP and BiPAP? Do you pick CPAP or BiPAP? Explained.
CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the best treatment possible for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. By delivering specific air pressure at continuous flow through a hose and finally a mask. This effect emulates a pneumatic splint, keeping your airway open with your tongue out of the way. CPAP pressures must be determined for each patient with titration of pressure during sleep. In the majority of obstructive sleep apnea cases, a CPAP machine will suffice, and most people can easily adjust to breathing out against the back pressure within the first few weeks. A small portion of CPAP users will experience difficulty adjusting to the therapy due to the back pressure.
All modern CPAP machines have a built-in feature that allows for air pressures to start at below therapeutic levels to enable the user to fall asleep; the air pressure will gradually increase to therapeutic as time passes.
CPAP machines are composed of 3 major components.
Motor – A small compressor that intakes ambient air and pressurizes it to deliver the required air pressure to keep the airway open. There are filters in the intake section to filter the air. The latest model of CPAP machines have a means by which. CPAP motors are extremely quiet and do not create much noise above a hum. Some newer model CPAP machines have a built-in humidifier.
Hoses – The hose is merely how pressurized air from the motor is sent to the user. Hoses are usually 6 feet length although different lengths are available. The diameter of the hose also depends on the machine. Machines with humidifiers are heated to reduce water condensation.
Mask – CPAP masks come in various shapes and sizes for different machines. The three most common mask types are nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full-face masks. Finding a mask that you are comfortable with is the most critical part of CPAP compliance.
BiPAP – Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure
BIPAP or Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure is almost the same as CPAP therapy. The main difference being that BiPAP machines allow for different pressures during treatment for inhalation and exhalation. Some CPAP machines do offer pressure relief of up to 3 cm H2O, whereas BiPAP pressure relief starts at 4 cm H2O. BiPAP machines deliver higher pressure as the user breathes in and reduces pressure during exhalation. BiPAP machines are normally used to treat COPD, among other ailments.
The best way to be certain about which machine best suits your needs is to undergo a full sleep study. This study can be conducted at a sleep lab or in the comfort of your own home.