The CPAP breathing machine was invented to help people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. “CPAP” standsfor continuous positive airway pressure. The machine directs an even airflow through a nasal mask that seals around the nose to maintain the pressure level, which keeps the airways open bipap machine . This allows the patient to sleep through the night without the multiple episodes of breathing restriction that characterize sleep apnea.
Before a CPAP machine leaves the medical supplier’s store, it will be set to the pressure that was determined during the patient’s sleep study. Additional adjustments may be necessary over time, as the patient’s physical condition changes.
When patients are able to tolerate sleeping with the CPAP mask, they usually experience fewer symptoms of sleep apnea, such as fatigue and daytime sleepiness. Sleeping partners also report that CPAP users snore less, so the partner also sleeps better.
An APAP machine is a more advanced, feature-rich (and more expensive) machine than the traditional CPAP machines. The APAP, or AutoCPCP, will automatically adjust the airflow pressure on a breath by breath basis so you receive only the minimum pressure needed to keep your airway open during sleep.
A BiPAP machine, also called a BiLevel or VPAP machine, delivers two separate and distinct pressures. The higher pressure is delivered when the patient inhales and the lower pressure comes through the mask when the patient exhales. As with the CPAP machine, the pressure is set by the doctor’s order or prescription, and was determined through a sleep study.
Unfortunately, the “compliance” rate is fairly low. This means that the treatment is discontinued by the patient either because of the discomfort associated with the masks, a feeling of anxiety or claustrophobia caused by the mask, or the noise of the machine itself. Some patients have difficulty keeping the masks in place during the night. And some patients feel embarrassed by the need to use the appliance, especially if they’re dating.