Menu

CPAP Machine VS BiPAP: What’s the Difference?

Updated January 17, 2020

Sleep is such a simple part of our lives; we don’t think about it much. But there are people who have trouble breathing and need help when they suffer attacks or are sleeping. One way to make sure you’re breathing the right amount of air at night is to use a mask which pressurizes air and sends it through your airways.

Two different types of masks that perform this task are a CPAP mask and BiPAP mask.

CPAP BiPAP
One Pressure Setting Two Pressure Settings
Benefits include: reduction in daytime sleepiness, lowers blood pressure, reduces heart problems Benefits include: better for breathing restrictions, exhalation is easier, optional breathing feature
Downfalls include: dry nose, sore throat, increased dreams/nightmares, nasal congestion, irritation to skin and eyes Downfalls include: expense, adjustment period, claustrophobia, nasal congestion

 

Sleep Apnea

Since both CPAP and BiPAP are used to help against sleep apnea, it only makes sense to fully understand what sleep apnea is. Sleep apnea is a more serious sleep disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during the night. A noticeable symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring and feeling tired even after a proper night’s sleep.

There are 3 types of sleep apnea. The first is obstructive sleep apnea which is the most common form when throat muscles relax during the night. The second is central sleep apnea in which your brain fails to send the right signals to your muscles that control your breathing. The final form is complex sleep apnea syndrome. This is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.

 

CPAP

— Pressure Setting

CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a device that helps you breathe properly during the night. How your CPAP machine works is that it moves pressurized air through your throat ensuring it doesn’t collapse while you sleep. CPAP only has one pressure option which is diagnosed and provided by your doctor. This one measured pressure allows you to breathe the proper amount of air you need while you rest. Some people find this frustrating since they constantly feel they’re fighting against air pressure when exhaling.

There is an option CPAP offers which allows you to start the night with a lower pressure and it rises to the prescribed pressure during the night. This makes it easier on the user in the start to fight against the pressure coming in.

— Benefits of CPAP Machine

The benefits won’t come as soon as you start using the CPAP machine. They occur after persistent use of the CPAP machine. After constant use, you’ll notice you’re not as tired or fatigued throughout the day as you may have been before.

Sleep apnea has been connected to higher levels of blood pressure. This can eventually lead to a stroke since your brain’s blood vessels are significantly weakened. You could also develop blood clots within the arteries. CPAP has shown to better control your blood pressure at night. This can also help reduce your chances of getting a stroke.

Other cardiovascular conditions can also be helped such as bradycardia, which is a slow heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heartbeat, and heart failure. CPAP also ensures you sleep for a longer, consistent period of time peacefully which can result in a more productive day.

— Side Effects Of CPAP

There are, of course, some side effects of using a CPAP mask since it deals directly with how you breathe during the night. For smaller issues, your jaw can feel stiff after being in a plastic mask the entire night. Your eyes and skin could also feel irritated against the pressurized air. Since CPAP tends to put you into a deeper sleep, you’re more prone to dreaming and even nightmares.

If you have considered the use of a CPAP machine, or are new to the use of one, this article explores CPAP machine side effects and dangerous worth noting.

Over time, you could develop a sore throat and a dry nose from the rush of pressurized air constantly flooding your nose and throat airways. You can also encounter nasal congestion after time which will last through the day, even a couple more.

You might be interested in: Side Effects and Dangers of a CPAP Machine

 

BiPAP

— Pressure Setting

When it comes to the BiPAP machine, there isn’t much of a difference in how it works. Once again, you are dealing with pressurized air to ensure your throat doesn’t collapse during the night. What is different with the BiPAP machine is that it has two pressure functions. One function is for when you inhale, which is a stronger amount of pressured air. The second pressure is softer and helps you properly exhale all of the carbon dioxides in your system. This feature helps remove the strain from the CPAP machine where you may feel as though you’re fighting against the pressure air.

BiPAP machines are usually prescribed to users who have already used the CPAP machine and found they were not comfortable with it.

— Benefits of a BiPAP Machine

The benefits of a BiPAP machine are quite similar to those of a CPAP. The additional benefits that come with the different mechanics is that your exhalation at night is easier and less rash. It’s a much better option for users with greater breathing restrictions, and the optional breathing feature helps your breath seem more natural and therefore ensures your night’s rest is more fulfilling.

— Side Effects of a BiPAP Machine

There is a typical increase in price since you are moving on to a more technical and newer machine. Some people who need it cannot afford it and are therefore left with CPAP as their only option. The adjustment period for this machine also takes longer since there are two working pressures in one night that you have to get accustomed to. The tight mask may not be a good idea if you are claustrophobic and can even induce a fear of claustrophobia in those who didn’t have it before. The other side effects are quite similar, such as nasal congestion and a dry throat.

 

Final Thoughts

The CPAP and BiPAP machines are two extremely helpful inventions that have helped many people in the past decade to breathe properly during the night. Yes, it may seem a little odd at first to have to sleep with a mask connected to a large, bulky object, but it does make your days and nights more peaceful and there are long-term benefits to reap.

We hope this article helped clear up any confusion you may have had between the two machines and you now have a greater understanding of what CPAP and BiPAP machines can do for you.