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CPAP Machines

Many people have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. When a person suffers from sleep apnea the airway closes causing oxygen levels to fall, which also triggers other health issues. People with sleep apnea are usually introduced to a CPAP Machine. CPAP is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway does not collapse when you breathe in.

CPAP machines are continuously being improved. They are smaller, quieter, and are "smarter" than they have ever been. CPAP machines are ordered by a doctor after a person has a sleep study and has been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Once the doctor knows what your pressure needs to be, he writes the order for the Durable Medical Equipment Provider.

CPAP machines can be set at the fixed pressure that it takes to keep your airway open while you sleep. Other CPAP machines have the capability to automatically adjust on a breath by breath basis to maintain your airway. Setting a range allows your machine to provide you with your ideal pressure nightly. Most CPAP machines now have a downloadable feature. This download can show compliance, mask leaks, usage hours and sometimes can indicate where you may be having some usage issues.

CPAP Machines can be used alone or with cool or heated humidifiers. The humidifiers help make using the machines more comfortable.

It is recommended that you do not change the pressure on your CPAP machine without first consulting your doctor. These pressures are set at a prescribed rate based on your diagnostic testing. Too little pressure will not fix the apnea and too much pressure can cause more problems.

Clean your CPAP machine parts with warm soapy water, rinse well and air dry.

Remember, your doctor has ordered a CPAP machine because it is necessary for your health. If you are having problems with your CPAP machine, don't stop using it. Call your doctor or your provider to find a solution. When you use your CPAP properly the results will be beneficial and will improve your quality of life.

BiPAP or BiLevel Machines

Most sleep apnea patients use a CPAP machine to help keep their airway open at night. Some people however, need to use a BiPAP or Bilevel machine instead.

BiPAP stands for "Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure." Unlike the CPAP machine, which produces a constant pressure through inhalation and exhalation, the Bilevel delivers a set inspiratory pressure, then delivers a lower expiratory pressure. These pressures are preset based on your titration, or the pressure that was determined to keep you airway open. Some Bilevel's are able to have breath rates set on them to ensure that a patients receives a certain number of breaths per minute. They use the same masks that are used with CPAP machines and they also come with humidifiers to help overcome the dry mouth and nose and sore throats.

CPAP will usually work for most patients, but some patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea do better with a Bilevel machine. Central Sleep Apnea patients also benefit from the Bilevel machine. Bilevel works best for those patients that cannot exhale against the continuous pressure of the CPAP. Bilevel's are also ordered for patients with heart disease, COPD, just recovering from an asthma attack, or have neuromuscular disorders, that affect your ability to breath properly.

Never change the pressure settings on your Bipap without first consulting your doctor. The pressures are set so that you are on the minimum amount of pressure that it takes to keep your airway open. Too little pressure will not fix the apnea, and too much pressure can cause more problems. Always address pressure concerns with your doctor. Clean your Bilevel the same way you would clean the CPAP, warm soapy water, rinse and air-dry. No antibacterial soap so you don't break down the silicone, that will compromise the seal.

Remember, your doctor has ordered a Bilevel machine because it is necessary for your health. Sleep Apnea, heart diseases, COPD, and other conditions requiring Bilevel machines can be life threatening. If you have trouble with your Bilevel, don't stop using it. Call your doctor or provider to find a solution. When you use your CPAP properly the results will be beneficial and will improve your quality of life.

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