If you are familiar with Sleep Apnea therapy, you likely know about CPAP machines. But there is another type of therapy called BiPAP, which is an alternative to the traditional CPAP choices. Read on to learn more about BiPAP machines and find answers to your Sleep Apnea questions.
What is a BiPAP Machine?
A BiPAP machine, which stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, is a tool used to treat Sleep Apnea that delivers two different air pressures to your breathing while you sleep. A higher pressure is used during your inhalation, and a lower pressure occurs when the machine senses your exhalation. The machine alternates between the two pressures throughout the night and are customized to your needs and doctor recommendations.
A BiPAP machine also blows at pressures up to 25, whereas CPAP and APAP machines both max out at 20. If you think you need pressure greater than 20, discuss with your doctor and see if you need a change in equipment.
It’s worth pointing out that a BiPAP machine isn’t just a “better APAP”. It’s available only with a doctor’s prescription (specifically for a BiPAP machine), and can be used to treat Complex Sleep Apnea. CPAP Machines and APAP machines can also come with exhalation relief features that are designed to make it easier to breathe out while sleeping, which can make using them more comfortable.
What is the difference between BiPAP and BiPAP ST?
BiPAP machines and BiPAP ST machines are very similar in that they deliver two different set air pressures, a higher one for your inhalation and a lower one for exhalation.
ST stands for the Spontaneous Timed feature of BiPAP ST machines. This feature tracks the number of breaths the user takes per minute and notes when the minimum amount has not yet been met.
If this is the case, the machine will increase your breath count by triggering the user to take another breath within the allotted minute.
How do I choose the right machine?
Those who experience Sleep Apnea may wonder which machine is right for them. There are a few deciding factors between the two.
The most notable difference is that CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, delivers one constant stream of pressure, and BiPAP, or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, has two streams of pressure for exhalation and inhalation to adjust to your needs.
For many Sleep Apnea patients, the continuous air flow from the CPAP machine can be too much, depending on your natural breathing patterns. This can cause nasal congestion, dry mouth, and nosebleeds. BiPAP machines are designed to change air flow with each breath you take. This can be a lot more comfortable for people who don’t love their CPAP experience.
For more information on this and other topics relating to your journey to overcoming the effects of Sleep Apnea, please see our comprehensive guide on CPAP machines. There you’ll find helpful tips and resources to help you learn more about Sleep Apnea and the best treatment options for you.
In addition, BiPAPs are often prescribed for more complex or advanced types of Sleep Apnea or other breathing disorders.
BiPAP users often see improvements in their sleep quality and therefore, their mood and productivity levels during the day.
Popular ResMed BiPAP machines even include a humidifier along with the auto-adjustment of air pressure, which adds some moisture to the air you’re inhaling throughout the night.
How can I get a BiPAP prescription?
You can’t get a BiPAP from a CPAP prescription, so if you think you may be a candidate for BiPAP therapy, it’s important to tell your doctor.
What BiPAP machine maintenance is required?
BiPAP machines are easy to maintain and only require cleaning or changing the air intake filters. These filters block out dust particles that could get inside your machine, so it’s important to keep them clean. If your BiPAP machine has fine paper filters, plan on changing those out about once a month orwhen they start looking dirty. If you have foam washable filters in your BiPAP machine, those can be washed and reused for about 6 months. CPAP.com has all the replacement part you need.
How often should I clean my filters?
If your BiPAP machine uses foam washable filters, you should clean them out as soon as they become discolored. That’s usually about once a week. All you need to do is rinse them out with clear running water and allow them to air dry before re-inserting them into your BiPAP machine.
Now that you understand what BiPAP machines are, you are one step closer to finding the Sleep Apnea therapy that works for you. If you have any other thoughts or questions about BiPAP machines, you can learn even more in the FAQ section on CPAP.com or contact our experts.
Daniela has researched and published over 60 articles covering topics that aim to inform and empower people living with Sleep Apnea. As an avid reader and researcher, Daniela continues to grow her knowledge about Sleep Apnea and CPAP therapy everyday with the help of coworkers, CPAP.com customers, and members of other CPAP communities online.