You’re diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Many people think the outcome of going without treatment is continued snoring. OSA have significant complications, depending on your personal and family health histories. To avoid complications, follow your physician’s recommendations exactly.
Everyone is different just like with the BiPAP vs CPAP machine. OSA treatment is not one-size-fits-all. Talk to your physician about symptoms you may continue to have after you start treatment. Or other problems that occur because of the treatment (commonly dry mouth). Some of the most common treatments for OSA are positive airway pressure devices. In this article, we will discuss Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines.
BiPAP vs CPAP: Similarities
The goal of both machines is the same – to keep your airways open while you sleep. This will help you avoid snoring, and ensure you always have a fresh air supply to give your body the oxygen it needs. Airway pressures are usually set, or titrated, during a sleep study.
BiPAP and CPAP machines are proven beneficial in reducing the number of times you stop breathing during the night (also called apneic events). And will help you feel more rested, better focus, and reduce your chance of complications.
Both machines have masks and tubes and can be noisy. Tubes and masks need to change every few months. The machines record the frequency and length of time used. You will follow up with your sleep medicine specialist every 6 to 12 months to download this information from the machine.
CPAP devices are the first line of treatment for OSA. You might notice increased alertness and improved mood. CPAPs improve the function of your heart, can help lower your pulse and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Some studies indicate the CPAP can even help obese people with OSA lose weight.
Insurance approval for CPAPs is clear. Whether you carry a group, individual, or government policy. Coverage for replacement masks and tubing varies.
The air pressure is continuous, which means a constant level of air pressure is delivered through the mask while in use. Whether you’re inhaling or exhaling. Some CPAP users feel discomfort or anxiety when trying to exhale while air is blowing in.
Other people feel the CPAP mask makes them feel claustrophobic. Other problems include skin issues, nasal or mouth dryness, and cold air.
It’s important to stay in contact with your sleep medicine specialist. Often, complaints are fixed easily. Masks can be changed, air pressure titrated, and heated humidified air can be used.
If the CPAP isn’t as effective as it should be, or a user can’t work past the feeling of forced exhalation, your doctor may recommend a BiPAP. It may also be indicated if high air pressure is required.
These machines have the same positive outcomes as CPAPs. The devices are costlier, meaning it’s tougher to get insurance approval. Generally, if you have OSA, you’ll have to try the CPAP before you can get approval for a BiPAP unless your sleep medicine specialist can make a great case for you.
The devices deliver variable air pressure. Depending if the user is inhaling or exhaling. The machines can be set to force a person to breathe if other forms of apnea (for example, mild central apnea) are also an issue.
BiPAPs are also used if you have significant heart or lung problems. Some examples are:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis
- Severe asthma
- Trouble breathing after surgery
- Neurologic diseases affecting breathing, such as muscular dystrophy or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
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BiPAP machines are often used in hospital settings but can be used at home, too. You may experience some of the same problems as CPAP users, such as claustrophobia from the mask, cold, dry air causing nose and mouth dryness, nasal congestion, and skin irritation. You’ll get the same treatments, including warm air humidifiers, topical creams, and different masks.
Like a CPAP, you’ll need to follow up with your specialist on a regular basis. Information from the BiPAP machine will be downloaded. Be sure to tell your doctor about any complaints, as they could be easily avoided.
Conclusion: BiPAP vs CPAP
BiPAPs and CPAPs are positive airway pressure devices that help people breathe while sleeping. They are both used for OSA and work the same way. Air pressure keeps the airway open during inhalation, preventing snoring and reducing or eliminating apneic events.
Both devices have similar health advantages. When you start using a CPAP or BiPAP, you will have more energy and better mood right away. Your risk of heart or lung complications will decrease. If you’re obese, you may lose weight.
BiPAPs are used for complex and hard-to-treat conditions. Or for people who can’t tolerate the CPAP due to high air pressure. Additionally, BiPAPs are expensive and difficult to obtain insurance approval.