The Difference Between BiPAP and CPAP Sleep Apnea Machines

People that suffer from sleep apnea know the struggle of being constantly tired and lacking quality sleep because of the breathing gaps. In the long term, sleep apnea can be the cause of other health issues as well such as hypertension. For that reason, it’s important to get the right sleep apnea machine that will lessen your symptoms and help with your condition. And when it comes to the available options, your choice generally comes down to the following two types.

Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure BiPAP Machine

woman using bipap machine while sleeping

The BiPAP or bilevel positive airway pressure machine is commonly used in the treatment of sleep apnea. What is special about this machine is that it uses two levels of pressure (hence the name) when it provides you with air. First, when you breathe in the machine delivers a bigger amount of air pressure which is known as inspiratory positive airway pressure. Then, when you breathe out or exhale the air pressure coming from the machine is automatically reduced. This is the feature that makes BiPAP machines distinctive from the others.

The main purpose of the machine is to make breathing easier for the patient. Sleep apnea obstructs the airways and makes breathing difficult. The BiPAP machine works on resolving that problem by constantly sending oxygen and filling in the breathing gaps.

BiPAP machines are designed to deliver optimal ventilation with minimal intervention. For that reason, they are commonly used in hospitals too as they are considered to be a non-invasive substitution for intubation. Many clinical trials have proven that the algorithm of the BiPAP machine provides support and works with patient breathing patterns at the same time minimizing the applied pressure, pressure support and machine breaths.

The BiPAP machine is small and compact, with a simple design and easy to use. It works with the help of a tube and a nose mask that you easily place on your nose before going to sleep. It’s recommended for persons that suffer from central sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea and periodic breathing but also in the case of pneumonia, asthma, obesity hyperventilation syndrome and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

For additional comfort, you can check the range of BiPAP machines feature such things as a built-in humidifier, heated tube, wireless connectivity (so that a professional can remotely monitor how your therapy is progressing) and an improved breathing algorithm. Some machines even come with a programmable timer that allows you to precisely set the number of breaths per minute that you’re going to take.

Benefits of Using a BiPAP Machine

The fact that the BiPAP machine uses two levels of pressure instead of one makes it more comfortable and easier for the patients to get used to. It’s also considered to be more effective in treating sleep apnea and providing sound sleep since it requires less force used by the one that’s sleeping.

BiPAP machines keep the airways open and remove possible obstructions in order to make the breathing even, without pauses or breathing gaps. The pressure can be adjusted in order for it to be pleasant and non-irritating for the patient.

In the long term, patients notice a big improvement in the quality of their sleep and experience fewer sleep apnea symptoms. It’s especially recommended for people that suffer from congestive heart failure and those who have a neuromuscular disease.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure CPAP Machine

man using cpap machine while sleeping

The CPAP machine is the second type of machine used in the treatment of sleep apnea. It works with one level of pressure only (continuous positive airway pressure) unlike the BiPAP machine. The CPAP machine provides a constant flow of oxygen which contributes to evening out the breathing and removing obstacles from the airways, same as the BiPAP.

The CPAP machine generates air that goes through the attached tube and through the nose and mouth mask into your airways. It’s designed to comfortably fit so that it doesn’t distract you or further worsen the quality of your sleep. At first sight, BiPAP and CPAP machines look quite similar.

CPAP machines are compact and can be easily transported anywhere. They won’t take up more space than the regular toaster. Modern CPAP machines come with many options and features that make the whole experience pleasant. You can control the pressure and adjust it according to your needs so that it feels pleasant and natural. The built-in humidifier moisturizes the air and it also gets heated to the right temperature. Most CPAP machines have a wireless built-in modem and can be connected to Wi-Fi which allows data transmission.

Another important feature that CPAP machines have is the fact that they are completely silent (don’t produce annoying sounds) and have a light sensor that can be adjusted according to the brightness level in the room.

Positive Effects from Using a CPAP Machine

The CPAP machine significantly minimizes the symptoms caused by sleep apnea. It normalizes the breathing pattern and provides you with an all-night peaceful sleep. Once the quality of your sleep improves you’ll notice how your alertness during the day improves, how much better your concentration is and how well-rested you feel.

Sleep apnea can be the cause of strokes, cardiovascular problems and diabetes. With the use of the CPAP machine, you can avoid these complications from happening and improve your overall health. Irregular sleep can also be the reason for emotional instabilities and fatigue, but the CPAP machine can resolve that too.

Final Notes

Both BiPAP and CPAP machines do a great job in treating sleep apnea, although the BiPAP machine is considered to be better simply because it has two-level pressure and it further adjusts to the patient’s needs. That’s actually considered to be the only difference between the two. The bottom line is that both machines send additional oxygen to the airways, remove airway obstacles and normalise breathing.

In order to be able to decide which machine is best for you, consult a professional. People react differently to the machines, so although the BiPAP machine is amazing for one person it may not be good at all for another. What you need to know about CPAP therapy is that it’s usually recommended for people that have mild symptoms of sleep apnea while BiPAP therapy is better for patients with serious symptoms.

There are many tests that a professional can perform in order to conclude which therapy will suit you best and you should make the choice according to that for best results.