Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) is a therapy that uses low-level air pressure to maintain your airways open while you sleep. BiPAP is used to manage obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in patients who are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy. It also treats obesity, central apnea, hypoventilation syndrome, and restrictive or obstructive lung disease.
What Is the Function of a BiPAP?
When you inhale air, your diaphragm descends lower. This reduces the pressure in your lungs’ tubes and sacs and pulls air into them. If you have a disorder like sleep apnea, you may be unable to draw in enough air at times (such as when sleeping). In such instances, your doctor may advise you to utilise a BiPAP. It forces compressed air into your lungs. This opens them and allows you to access the oxygen you need, which may reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Furthermore, BiPAP machines are around the size of a lunchbox. A tube connects a nasal mask, face mask, and nasal plugs to the machine. The machine’s engine blows the air through the tube, and the mask or plugs let air into your body. Some BiPAP has additional technologies, such as a humidifier. Using a BiPAP machine may feel strange initially. However, most individuals become used to it with time. Call your doctor immediately if you have trouble breathing while using your BiPAP.
Why Do You Need a BiPAP?
If you have a health issue that makes it difficult to breathe at times, you may benefit from a BiPAP. BiPAPs may assist with obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder in which your breathing continuously stops and begins while you sleep. It may be life-threatening in certain circumstances. Your doctor may also advise you to use a BiPAP if you have:
- Congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Neurological or neuromuscular disorder
- Asthma flare-up
- Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
- Poor breathing
However, if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing most of the time, a BiPAP is probably not for you. Instead, your doctor may advise you to use other equipment to help you receive adequate oxygen.
Benefits of BiPAP
- Reduces daytime drowsiness
- Improves sleep quality
- Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Enhances memory
- Enhances your mood and overall quality of life
What Are The Risks Of Using BiPAP?
BiPap is generally safe. Compared to ventilators like a tracheostomy, it has a lower chance of problems such as infection. However, the facemask is the source of most BiPAP difficulties since it could be too tight. Other risk factors are the following:
- Eye irritation
- Sinus discomfort or congestion
- Mild abdominal bloating
- Mouth dryness
- Local skin damage from the mask
- Leakage from the mask, resulting in less pressure
Your risks may vary based on your age, the length of time you use BiPAP, and your medical issues. Discuss any concerns with your healthcare practitioner.
What Can You Do To Make Bipap More User-Friendly?
- Initially, try using your BiPAP for a few hours per night. Then gradually increase the amount of time you utilise your machine. It takes some time to become used to BiPAP therapy.
- You could need a mask of various materials, sizes, and shapes. If your mask causes discomfort or irritates your skin, see your doctor. You may need to use a moisturiser designed specifically for BiPAP users.
- To reduce nasal discomfort, consider using a saline nasal spray before going to bed. Dry mouth may be relieved by using a chin strap or a different mask style. Some devices have a heated humidifier to aid in the relief of these symptoms.
- If you are experiencing difficulty adapting to the air pressure, see a healthcare professional. They will be able to instruct you on how to alter the air pressure on your BiPAP. You may need to begin with lesser pressure and gradually raise it over time.
- Attend follow-up visits to adjust your BiPAP. If your mask no longer fits correctly, notify your healthcare practitioner. Make a list of your questions so you can remember to ask them throughout your visits.
What’s the Distinction Between BiPAP and CPAP?
The BiPAP machine gives more air pressure when you breathe in than when you breathe out. While CPAP maintains a steady amount of air pressure during therapy, a hose links the mask to the machine in both cases. The hose is used to transmit air pressure to the mask.
BiPAP is a non-invasive alternative to CPAP for treating central sleep apnea. Furthermore, people who cannot tolerate CPAP and those who are hospitalised with respiratory distress but do not want to be on a ventilator may choose BiPAP.
If you’re unsure if BiPAP suits you, talk to your sleep doctor first. They may offer the best therapy after evaluating your risk factors and doing a sleep study.