An individual with the condition of sleep apnea will exhibit a few peculiar symptoms while sleeping. The most common symptom is snoring, which is caused by constant difficulty in breathing as a result of blockages in your airway passages.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea may also include restless leg syndrome or RLS amongst other not-so-apparent ones such as memory loss caused as a result of unsatisfied sleep.
The most common forms of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). Before we get into specifics let's take a look at what sleep apnea is and the ways it can be treated.
Leading Causes Of Sleep Apnea
Some of the factors that put a person at risk of developing sleep apnea include:
- Identifying as a male
- Being above the age of 40
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Having physically large neck sizes
- Being asthmatic
- Using Alcohol
Diagnosis Of Sleep Apnea
One of the best ways to medically diagnose sleep apnea is to perform a polysomnography test. The sleeper is hooked up to machines that monitor the individual’s heart rate, the activity of the lungs, body movements, blood oxygen levels, and brain functioning at the same time.
One needs to be extra careful if you have cardiovascular diseases or diabetes because sleep apnea can exacerbate both conditions.
Sleep apnea causes the body to momentarily collapse causing the person sleeping to wake up temporarily to catch their breath. This happens many times over the course of the night but the person sleeping doesn’t realize it is happening to them.
There are a wide variety of machines available to help control sleep apnea.
Different Machines To Help Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that can never be fully cured. However, you can reduce its impact on your health and lifestyle through the help of one of these specialized machines.
Everyone is biologically different, and this is why the same treatment might not have the same effect on everybody. A medical practitioner will be able to diagnose exactly which machine will be ideal in your case.
What Is A CPAP Machine?
CPAP is an acronym for continuous positive airway pressure. The machine delivers a constant flow of air pressure to the sleeper’s respiratory system. The sleeper wears a mask that is connected to the device with airtight tubing. This is one of the least expensive forms of treatment for sleep apnea.
The CPAP machine offers the users the facility to adjust the pressure setting anywhere from 4 to 20 cm H2O. A general physician can help you select the right pressure based on your condition. The problem with this machine is that a constant flow of air is maintained based on the pressure setting you have chosen. The machine does not lower the pressure when you are breathing out.
Some people may feel a choking sensation in their sleep because the machine exerts pressure when they are breathing out. This machine is ideal for people with mild cases of sleep apnea. Medical practitioners prefer to use this machine for patients with obstructive sleep apnea, not central sleep apnea.
What Is The Difference Between BiPAP Or BiLevel Therapy?
BiPAP or bilevel therapy is a similar technology to the one described previously but it differs in a most basic way. The term bilevel refers to the two different pressure settings that can be applied to the machine. One pressure setting, the higher one in most cases, is applied to the machine as you inhale. The other pressure setting, usually the lower one, is applied by the machine as you exhale.
The manufacturer Respironics by Philips is the trademark holder of the term BiPAP. ResMed refers to the same technology by the name of VPAP. All of these machines can help sleepers who experience the phenomena of swallowing air as they exhale with the traditional CPAP machines. The bi-level machines become especially necessary when using the positive airway pressure machines at a higher pressure setting.
The bi-level machines were developed because there is a higher likelihood of choking on the air at higher pressure settings. These machines can be prescribed for both people with obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Devices that have the option to input two or more pressure settings are generally more costly than CPAP machines. As such, there is no difference between BiPAP and a bi-level machine as they are one of the same things.
What is APAP Therapy?
APAP is an acronym for the term automated positive airway pressure. The difference between an APAP and the other two forms of PAP therapy is that this machine allows the user to set a range of pressures. The machine detects subtle changes in the sleeper’s breathing cycle and adjusts the pressure of the airflow accordingly. The user can set a minimum and maximum pressure setting on the machine to achieve a comfortable night’s REM sleep.
APAP therapy can be used by people with sleep apnea who tend to sleep on their backs. Breathing patterns change when the person changes their sleeping position. The APAP machine can detect these changes and adjust the pressure accordingly for the sleeper. The APAP machine can also be used by people experiencing congestion in their airways.
Which One Should You Choose?
A medical practitioner can help you choose the right machine based on the type of sleep apnea. A CPAP machine will most likely be recommended for people with mild forms of sleep apnea. A general physician understands that patients will have adverse effects even with the more expensive machines. For example, users may experience bad breath, dry mouth, nose, or throat when they wake up in addition to skin rashes with all of these machines.
The physician might recommend using a BiPAP or an APAP machine if you keep changing positions in your sleep. Another concern with APAP machines is that cardiovascular patients cannot always use them successfully. All of these machines do not work for someone who grinds their teeth while sleeping. A physician will be able to advise the correct range of settings if you are using the BiPAP or APAP machines.
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Do you have questions? Call us toll-free at 866-476-4821 or start chatting now with one of our CPAP experts today.