Sleep Apnea

The Difference Between CPAP and BiPAP

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The Difference Between CPAP and BiPAP

If you are suspecting symptoms of sleep apnea, seek doctor advice to get an effective treatment plan. Your doctor will prescribe you with one of the multiple PAP (positive airway pressure) therapy types.

There are mainly two types- CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure). The purpose of both of them is to provide sound sleep, but when and which one to use is prescribed by the doctors based on the health conditions.

BiPAP and CPAP often serve different needs:

BiPAP machines are often known to provide better treatment to people with muscle and nerve problems than a CPAP machine. On the other hand, BiPAP machines assure that the user is breathing a set properly several times every minute. The difference in the pressures of inhalation and exhalation reduces the breathing work. Thus, a person can get proper sleep.

Sometimes, when CPAP fails to treat sleep disorder breathing, BiPAP machines are used to give treatment. CPAP devices are utilized in the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea. Based on the severity, doctors may suggest a BiPAP gadget instead. In a nutshell, both of the devices are used to treat people suffering from sleep-disordered breathing. To maintain a proper breathing cycle during sleep, correct therapy is crucial.

How do CPAP and BiPAP work?

When you inhale, a muscle in the chest known as the diaphragm helps in breathing by moving downwards. It causes a pressure drop in the lung sacs and tubes and draws air inside them. For problems like sleep apnea, while sleeping, drawing the needful amount of air becomes difficult.

In cases like this, doctors recommend using a BiPAP as it pressurizes air into the lungs and reduces the risk of getting a heart attack. CPAP also pressurizes air and delivers through a mask or hose during sleep. The steady airflow stabilizes the quality of respiration and sleep by keeping the airway open.

Which is better?

Both BiPAP and CPAP devices are used to reduce a person’s sleep apnea symptoms and make them stay comfortable during sleep. But some sleepers prioritize BiPAP machines over CPAP machines because it offers air pressure variation. CPAP machines maintain consistency in creating air pressure levels inside the mask.

This constant pressure is powerful enough to improve breathing by opening the airways. But these machines have one single pressure level, and because of this lack of variation, sleepers need to exhale against the extra pressure. BiPAP machines offer IPAP during inhalation, which is helpful for the person having sleep apnea, and EPAP during exhalation. The different pressure settings allow having a sound sleep.

Who would find BiPAP beneficial?

Many people across the world suffer from sleep apnea and require high-pressure settings. These are the people who suffer from having low oxygen levels and need BiPAP machines for additional support. When CPAP devices fail to provide adequate treatment to the patients suffering from sleep-disordered breathing, BiPAP machines come to use.

Cardiopulmonary disorders like congestive heart failure have increased over the years. BiPAP serves these patients. It is used to treat other diseases like asthma flare-up, COPD, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, coronary artery disease, neurological disorder, etc.

Why is BiPAP preferred over CPAP with C-Flex?

BiPAP therapy is somehow similar to C-Flex in terms of performance. The patients get the optimum pressure relief, and they do not feel like battling with the incoming airflow during exhalation. For the CPAP machines, C-Flex is all about comfort but can only relieve 3 cm of pressure.

On the other hand, BiPAP starts at 4cm in terms of pressure relief and can go higher. The patients who require lesser pressure relief can choose CPAP devices with C-Flex. Another notable difference between CPAP with C-Flex and BiPAP is that C-Flex does not offer a fixed amount of pressure relief, where the pressure drop depends on various breathing levels.


It is crucial to follow the doctors’ or experts’ instructions on the process and when to use the BiPAP. If you find improvement in breathing and health problems, you might be able to reduce your machine’s pressure or use it seldom. Based on your health conditions, your expert will advise you when you need to lessen the usage.

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