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What’s the Difference Between BiPAP and CPAP Machines?

May 22, 2023


Positive airway pressure (PAP) machines are one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea. There are many types of PAP machines, and the choices can be overwhelming. The two most common are BiPAP and CPAP. Here is what’s different about them and who they may be suitable for. 

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses, known as apneas, can occur due to two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA, the more common type, happens when the muscles in the throat relax and block the airway, leading to breathing interruptions. Conversely, a lack of communication between the brain and the muscles responsible for controlling breathing causes CSA. In CSA, the brain fails to send the proper signals, resulting in temporary breathing cessation. Both types can lead to fragmented sleep, daytime fatigue, and other health issues. 

What is CPAP?

A Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine delivers pressurized air to a sleep apnea patient through a mask. The pressure on these machines is adjustable but stays the same the entire time the device is on.  

What is BiPAP?

Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines are a type of PAP device that offers different pressure settings that change based on inhalation or exhalation. This allows for lower pressure when the user exhales, and many find it more comfortable to use. 

How to Chose Between CPAP and BiPAP

When choosing a type of therapy early in your sleep apnea treatment, your doctor may only give you one option. For CSA patients, BiPAP is the most common and effective treatment option and for OSA, CPAP is almost always the first treatment option. For patients who find it hard to exhale using CPAP and cannot tolerate the same constant pressure, your doctor may suggest BiPAP. Often, for insurance to cover this, you may need to prove that you have used CPAP and can’t tolerate the device. When choosing between BiPAP and CPAP, it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider. You may need to experiment to find the best treatment option for your sleep apnea. 

Are you struggling to get the sleep you need? If you’ve tried our 5-day plan, but still have issues, consider a sleep study. To get started, visit: www.advancedhomecareonline.com/sleep-studies

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