When sleep apnea is diagnosed in a person, there are two modes of treatment available for the patient in the form of the CPAP and the Bipap. However, many patients confuse or misunderstand the two treatments and often think they are one or can be used to treat one ailment. Attention must be paid to the fact that there are different types of sleep apnea that a person can have and based on the doctor’s diagnosis, the patient should select the most suitable form of treatment.
CPAP known as the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device and the BiPAP – Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure differ from each other in the following ways:
Used for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most basic and minor form of sleep apnea. Afflicted patients benefit greatly from the CPAP and its steady flow of air pressure. The CPAP comes equipped with only one air pressure setting and is beneficial for minor sleep apnea patients because the pressure provided props the muscles open which would normally relax while the patient sleeps.
The BiPAP is useful for patients who are diagnosed with central sleep apnea. This is a more severe case of sleep apnea which the CPAP treatment is unsuitable for. While the minor forms of sleep apnea are caused by muscular relaxation, the more severe cases are due to the fact that the brain forgets to regulate and activate the muscles to breathe for a brief period. The BiPAP can also be used for the treatment of other problems related to respiratory issues or for patients who have not shown any response towards the CPAP treatment. The BiPAP is also able to provide two levels of air pressure as compared to the CPAP. Hence the name Bipap: Two Positive Airway Pressures.
However, the downside to CPAP treatment is the fact that it comes in the form of a face mask or a nasal mask that a patient must wear when going to bed. Patients often cannot tolerate the masks and therefore respond poorly to the treatment. Among the list of complaints, the patients may also suffer minor side effects like bloating of the stomach, headaches, runny noses, headaches, nasal congestion and skin irritations. Patients suffering from claustrophobia or anxiety attacks may also not respond well as the restrictive mask might cause them more distress.
Similarly, the BiPAP treatment is also administered with the help of a nasal mask or a face mask but it is considered more comfortable as compared to the CPAPs headgear. The BiPAP treatment shares the same side effects as the CPAP.