You just decided to visit a sleep specialist, trying to get to the bottom of your sleep apnea troubles. At the end of discussion with the doctor, he said one of the solutions is to undergo CPAP therapy. Then you agree wholeheartedly. But the day does not end there. You talked to a friend of yours who is also a sleep specialist, but contrary to the first doctor, this friend is now recommending BiPAP therapy. So, which is which?
CPAP and BiPAP Therapy
Before we deduce on what treatment you should use, let us define first what is CPAP and BiPAP therapy.
- CPAP Therapy
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is by far the most popular sleep apnea treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It uses a CPAP device that delivers pressurized air to the patient through use of a mask. The air is then passed through the nostrils all the way to the airway. In this way, the patient can receive air through the lungs to alleviate stoppage of breathing.
How to use?
- Check the filter – Your CPAP device comes with a replaceable filter. To make sure your filter is always clean, you need a CPAP cleaner. After cleaning, place it in a small compartment in which the filter fits.
- Attach hose to the machine – Like the filter, place the hose first to a CPAP cleaner to make sure it is free of harmful particles. After which, you can attach the hose to the special connector found in your device.
- Attach the mask to the hose – The other end of the hose plugs into the mask that you will wear during your sleep. As always, place your mask first into a CPAP sanitizer before use.
- Set up the humidifier if applicable – A CPAP machine would most likely have a humidifier included in it to moisturize the air that is pumped into your airway.
- Plug in the device, adjust the mask, and find a comfortable sleeping position to ensure you have a good night’s sleep.
Who uses it?
CPAP therapy is commonly used by people who have trouble breathing during sleep. This therapy is suited for you if you are currently suffering from an obstructive sleep apnea because you are unable to breathe in enough air inside.
- BiPAP Therapy
Much like CPAP therapy, BiPAP also treats sleep apnea, albeit with few differences along the way. BiPAP stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. As the term suggests, it delivers an inhale and exhale pressure as opposed to CPAP’s only single pressure. These two pressures are scientifically known as inhalation positive airway pressure (IPAP) and exhalation positive airway pressure (EPAP).
Much like CPAP therapy, A BiPAP therapy includes the following things:
- A face mask, nasal mask, or nasal plugs that will be worn through your nose and mouth. Always clean first with a CPAP cleaner before use.
- The tubing that connects the machine’s motor to the mask or plugs through which the air will pass.
- A BiPAP machine might also contain a humidifier in the package.
Who uses it?
BiPAP therapy is often recommended to individuals who need extra respiratory support. If you are diagnosed with heart or artery disease and pulmonary/neurological disorder, a BiPAP therapy is something that you just might need. The pressure differential of a BiPAP device is also beneficial to individuals who have neuromuscular disorders.
CPAP vs. BiPAP: Make a choice
As mentioned, the key difference between CPAP and BiPAP is the preset air pressure that they deliver. The former only delivers a single level of preset while the latter provides two. With CPAP, the exhaling can be more difficult to some people which is solved by BiPAP’s exhale pressure setting. For this reason, a person who has a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may benefit more from a BiPAP therapy since it lessens the work it takes to breathe.
In other words, it is easier to breathe out with BiPAP than with CPAP.
Another key difference is the type of sleep apnea that you are suffering:
- A CPAP therapy is primarily recommended to patients who are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
- In contrast, a BiPAP therapy is prescribed if you are battling a case of central sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea, or COPD.
- Or simply put, a BiPAP therapy is your ace up your sleeve whenever a CPAP therapy is not helpful at all in your current sleeping state.
In theory, a BiPAP therapy sounds better since it cures an array of breathing disorders and provides a better exhaling experience than a CPAP therapy. However, it should be noted that BiPAP is historically more expensive than CPAP. You might end up paying for more than what your sleep apnea truly costs. Ideally, your choice of either CPAP or BiPAP should come down to your financial capabilities and the severity of your sleeping conditions.
CPAP and BiPAP therapies are two of the most sought treatments for sleep apnea in the world right now. Each has a distinct feature and benefits but the one thing that they have in common is that they are both equally delicate sleep apnea remedies that require a consultation of a doctor first and that is when you will determine which treatment is more suited for you.