What is BiPAP?
The abbreviation stands for Bilevel Positive Airway pressure, and it is commonly known to treat health issues associated with breathing difficulties. So if you are suffering from some sort of an irregular breathing pattern, BiPAP therapy could be just the answer you need.
To explain things further, an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine pointed out that during normal breathing, your lungs expand when you breathe in through the muscle called the diaphragm. The diaphragm goes in a downward direction that causes the pressure to drop inside the tubes and sacs of your lungs. This decrease in pressure sucks air into your lungs. They fill with oxygenated air. Simply put, lack or insufficient air getting in means that you will struggle in breathing.
This is where BiPAP therapy comes in.
A BiPAP machine aids in pushing air into your lungs. This is done by wearing a mask or nasal plug that is connected to the ventilator. The machine pumps pressurized air into your airways, often called “positive pressure ventilation“ because the device helps open your lungs with this air pressure.
A BiPAP machine is about the size of a lunchbox. It comes with a face mask, nasal mask, or nasal plugs that are to be attached to the machine by a tube and some BiPAPs have other technology like a humidifier.
The use of a CPAP cleaner is also encouraged to keep the machine clean and safe to use. The cleaning process is done by just putting all the parts altogether inside the CPAP cleaner and let UV technology or activated oxygen do the cleaning for you.
What is BiPAP for?
A breathing induced medical issue that you can’t seem to shake off? This is what BiPAP is made for. If you have one or more of the following you might need to get one:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
- Asthma flare-up
- Poor breathing after an operation
- Neurological disease that disturbs breathing
How to prepare for using BiPAP?
Familiarize yourself with the parts of the BiPAP machine. They usually include:
- A face mask, nasal mask, or nasal plugs
- The machine’s motor, which blows air into a tube
- The tubing that connects the machine’s motor to the mask or plugs
Your BiPAP machine might also have other features, such as a heated humidifier.
Before using the machine, make sure to clean the device and parts first. Put them inside your CPAP cleaner. After this, you can start assembling the tubing to the mask or nasal plugs. Do not self-medicate and always get your doctor’s nod about the proper settings to use.
BiPAP Therapy for Sleep Apnea?
BiPAP therapy is one of the most popular treatments for sleep apnea. As we all know, sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder connected to our breathing. Basically what happens is a patient’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts due to the throat muscles or the brain fails to send proper signals to breathing muscles. To put it simply, this unusual breathing pattern will cost you precious hours of sleep which could further lead to mild to serious health complications.
BiPAP therapy addresses that problem, but how does that work?
If you have a condition like sleep apnea, there may be times when you cannot draw in the air you need. Upon your doctor’s recommendation, a BiPAP machine pushes pressurized air into your lungs The mechanism is what opens your airways and lets you get the oxygen you need.
Using a BiPAP may cause a level of discomfort at first but over time you can get used to it. However, always consult your doctor first before undergoing this kind of therapy.
Oftentimes, BiPAP therapy is chained to another type of therapy which is called CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. In between the two, both serve a similar purpose, with the differences coming down to machine settings, pros and cons of each, and their medical indications.
CPAP vs BiPAP?
In the world of sleep apnea, there are two therapies that usually stand out: CPAP and BiPAP therapy.
But what makes BiPAP different from CPAP? Let us take a look at their differences:
- BiPAP mitigates one of the most common complaints of using a CPAP machine.
One of the most common disadvantages of a CPAP machine is that patients find it difficult to breathe against the constant singular pressure that the CPAP device provides. Exhaling can also be a pain for some patients who are using CPAP devices at higher pressures.
This can be corrected by using a BiPAP machine because it can reduce the pressure level during exhalation, resulting in a larger exhale margin.
- BiPAP machines have two pressure settings
As mentioned earlier, a BiPAP machine can reduce pressure levels. This is attributed to its two pressure settings: one pressure for inhalation (IPAP), and a lower pressure for exhalation (EPAP).
The BiPAP device is crafted to follow the pace of your breathing. As you inhale, the pressure increases, and it decreases as you exhale. In that way, your airway is constantly open for the duration.
BiPAP is also highly recommended for patients that require breathing assistance, especially for those who are suffering from chronic heart and lung issues.
- BiPAP machine and CPAP machine cater to different needs
For people with nerve and muscle problems, the BiPAP machine could be a better choice than its counterpart. BiPAP machines can be modified to make sure that users breathe a set number of times per minute. This allows the person to have a better sleep overall.
Perhaps a glaring difference is that a BiPAP machine is recommended for severe cases of sleep apnea while a CPAP machine can be used to treat the mild and moderate ones. If you are unsure what to use, better to consult your doctor first.
As with other health and medical mishaps, choosing between BiPAP and CPAP therapy largely depends on the severity of sleep apnea. Your response to both treatments is also a factor in what treatment should you undergo. It is best to consult a sleep specialist first but one thing is for sure though, that CPAP and BiPAP therapy are both appropriate mediums to address your sleep apnea worries.