Who needs a best CPAP or BiPAP machine? What do these acronyms mean? How do you choose between the different machines on the market?
Well, many of us today suffer from sleep disorders. Insomnia and snoring are at the lower end of the spectrum, annoying but not too serious. Narcolepsy and sleep apnea are much more disturbing conditions. Non-invasive therapy can offer significant relief and help to sufferers.
Sleep apnea has no known cure but CPAP and BiPAP are truly effective treatments. Similar in nature, they have slightly different meanings. CPAP is continuous positive airway pressure while BiPAP is bilevel positive airway pressure.
Both machines function in the same way. They send pressurized oxygen to the airways via a mask. CPAP machines can be set to a single pressure only. Some CPAP machines offer a comfort setting which ramps up the pressure gradually although this is still awkward for some users. This is where BiPAP machines offer a more flexible alternative. Two pressure settings, one for inhaling and the other for exhaling, allow patients to get much more air into their lungs
So… how is it possible to make a wise choice with so many similar machines on the market?
Here you can learn about four different CPAP and BiPAP machines. A look at the various features and an honest examination of the pros and cons of these machines can help you decide which is the best fit for you.
These are the machines… they are all manufactured by Philips:
Rapid advances in technology mean that most of these machines are extremely quiet.
If you have a sleeping problem then you do not want more problems created by a noisy machine.
The BiPAP Auto Bi-Flex, currently the most expensive machine – watch for changes in pricing – is almost completely silent as you would expect from a top-tier piece of kit.
Marginally cheaper, the BiPAP Pro is nearly as sound free and will ensure that your sleep is not disturbed.
REMstar Auto is claimed by many to be the quietest machine available.
Weighing in today at roughly the same price, the PR System One 60 Series Auto attracts mixed reviews in terms of noise. Some users claim it’s impressively quiet while others talk of loud, whining sounds. If you place a premium on a noise-free unit then check this out carefully for yourself before investing.
As the product names show, three of these four machines come equipped with a heated tube. The warm and moist air is easy to breathe in. This kind of heated tube is perfect for patients needing elevated humidification without condensation.
Although it has other winning features, such as the SD card, the REMstar auto does not have a heated tube. The one advantage is that this does make cleaning easier.
Think about your habits. If you travel regularly then portability is key.
These four machines are all easily small enough to take with you any time you move around.
While all are highly portable, the lightest of all, weighing just 5.6 pounds, is the Respironics BiPAP Auto. If weight is an essential factor then this machine just wins out.
One definite advantage of the REMStar Auto is that it comes with a handy carrying case.
- Data recording
CPAP machines record data in different ways.
Some machines have basic timers. Others record more detailed information. They can show apnea and hypopnea events, monitor leakage, changes in pressure and even record information on snoring.
A SIM card means that information can be taken to the clinic for check-ups.
These machines are all very strong choices when it comes to monitoring data. You can download SleepHead software and connect them to your smart phone.
Two things to note:
There have been reported problems with the PR System One instructions for the clinician menu. You will need this menu yourself. Product support for this machine is not highly rated so look into this before buying.
The removable SD card on the REMstar Auto means you can take advantage of the SleepHead software available online for free download and the card can be read by your doctor with ease.
How much water is held in the tank and how often does it need filling?
The amount of water held in the reservoir of the REMstar Auto is extremely impressive for such a small piece of kit. It allows you to use the machine for several days at the lowest setting.
The three other machines have smaller tanks and need filling more frequently.
- Mask selection
A crucial part of CPA use compliance is choosing the best mask.
This is definitely a matter of personal taste. Consider your breathing needs, your comfort levels and sleep habits.
- Nasal pillows are lightweight and minimalist and allow users to wear their glasses if necessary. Direct air pressure means they are not ideal for patients with higher pressure needs.
- A triangular nasal mask is a better solution for those demanding high pressure but there can be some irritation.
- For mouth breathers, a full-face mask is preferable. Drawbacks are difficulties reading or watching TV in bed and some issues with air leakage.
Choose your mask with the same care you use to select your machine.
Overall Best Choice
Often, the most expensive product is best but when looking at the two CPAP models, the REMstar Auto, very slightly cheaper at today’s price, represents the most versatile, cost-effective and best option.
A couple of poor reviews on Amazon questioning reliability and the clarity of the instruction manual have lowered the average score; if you conduct independent research, though, you will see that for a combination of effectiveness and value the REMstar Auto is a great choice when it comes to buying a CPAP machine.
With the BiPAP machines, the pricier Respironics is a fully auto unit. This means that the pressure will be automatically adjusted during the night. This function helps to correct the upper airways being obstructed. Both of the machines are highly rated so your choice depends here on whether you really need that auto function.
When selecting a machine like this, your personal needs will dictate which model is best so pay attention to the above advice, check out other articles on this site to expand your knowledge and make the best choice for you when buying a CPAP or BiPAP machine.
What would happen without CPAP machines?
There are several risk factors associated if you willingly avoid using CPAP machines even though that is recommended for you. Take a look.
1. Daily challenges
- You will feel tired constantly.
- You may find waking up a difficult ask.
- You may fall asleep while driving.
- Your motivational level can start declining. Depression can shade you from all corners.
- It might be tough for you to concentrate and to focus on a particular thing.
- Both the agitation & irritation levels of you might rise.
- Lacking of sleep definitely would impact your daily life, and in your relationship too. For an example, you might a simple work as a challenge.
- Though there are numbers of researches going on to finding the exact association amid of obesity and apnea, their link is a tested fact undoubtedly. Around sixty-five percent Americans who are suffering from sleep apnea found as obese. You can understand it easily. Just think about a larger body index and mass achievement. Some researchers quoted sleep apnea brings obesity.
- A statistics has found around forty percent people having sleep apnea have diabetes too. You can think it from two ways. Irregular human lifestyle can bring the diseases like type-2 diabetes. Again if you are a diabetes type-2 patient and not using CPAP machines that might make the diabetes level worsen.
- In the process of worsening diabetes, unwantedly you would allow additional hassles and hazards to come in front; like eye and skins abnormalities, kidney problems etc.
- If you have sleep apnea and you are yet to take aid of CPAP, the chance of getting risked in hypertension is optimum. It is not my quote; rather it is the result of a study conducted by Johns Hopkins at least 15 years ago.
- In the process of calling HBP to deteriorate the things, some other problems like mental health problem will automatically find in an application.
5. Heart & Heart failure
- Sleep apnea leads to hassle in lining blood vessels. It creates inflammation and thus your metabolic regulation becomes tampered. This is an optimum situation to encounter perils like heart attack. So you can understand it well what might happen if you avoid taking aid of CPAP machines.
- To be noted, sleep apnea patients have larger risks after the occurrence of a stroke, specifically in the process of resiliency. CPAP machines work as therapy. If you have no experience on taking that CPAP machine therapy, the might fail to prevent a death which was possible to prevent.
How to Use A CPAP Machine?
At this section you will learn how you can use your CPAP machine. Basically, a machine has the following things.
- Chin strap
- Elbow attachment
- The machine itself.
It is good to have a flat level surface first of all.
- Make your face clean. It is important to seal the mask properly. Don’t forget to make your face dry before proceeding.
- Now place your machine at the corner of the bed and ensure that is placed below the level of your bed.
- Place the headgear on mask & head, just over the nose level of you. You can put it over your mouth too. After then tighten things up until that sung properly. But be careful of over tightening cause that might bring bruising & soreness.
- Point the connection of elbow of your mask and tie the hose & swivel tube. This is not a must but recommended.
- At this point, turn on your machine. Check out the airflow. That needs to be continuous. You might find leaking around your mask. In such cases tighten the headgear straps properly.
- Don’t forget to wash the mask. To wash that use of warm water is good. You can use mild soaps too. Take a clean towel to make that dry. Specially, using SoClean 2 CPAP Cleaner to clean your CPAP machine is a good way.
You can also change the settings of your machine. Basically it depends on the model you are using. While purchasing a CPAP machine, you would receive a user manual. As a user of this machine you should keep this manual and read whenever you are in doubt with anything. Here is how you can change your settings.
- Determine the model you are using currently. ResMed is a global manufacture of CPAP machine that comes with a manual too. Read that well.
- Carefully unplug your power cord. You will find that at the back of your machine. Drag your eyes to display. Find the user button near around. Plug the cord again and hold the user button. Set up mode will appear with a beep sound.
- Take a good look at display. Here you can see a number of particulars like hour numbers already used, elevation, pressure calibration, alarm modes, therapy mode, ramp time etc. You can adjust them all. Just scroll through and select any particular by pressing user button. In the process of scrolling down, you can skip anything without selecting.
- Try to understand what you are seeing. Standard elevation setting refers to the elevation far above the sea level that ranges from 2500 feet – 7500 feet. With the help of ramp setting you can lengthen the effective time of gradual pressure building. Typically this time ranges from ten to fifteen minutes. You can set this time up to a level of 45 minutes. In this way you will get ample time and so you can fall asleep way before the heavier pressure commences.
- If you can understand the manometer, changing CPAP pressure will be possible by itself. Try to figure out the pressure level you want to keep the airways open. Usually, this setting is not recommended to change. Built-in setting will do the job quite well.
- Unless you have contacted your physician, don’t try to adjust the primary settings of your machine. Best CPAP machine is developed to keep the airways open and to make your breathing regular during the entire time you sleep. So if you change any setting without talking with an expert, health risks might ascertain.
How to Choose the Best CPAP Machine?
You can easily understand the necessity of a CPAP machine if you are a sleep apnea patient. But before purchasing any particular therapy there are several questions to answer. For an example, you should figure out which machine you would buy, what are your options, which type of machine might offer longevity, and which particular manufacturer’s product could be a good fit for you. Here are few steps following which can lead you towards successful finding of the best CPAP machine currently existing in the market.
Step 1: Get a written prescription
- First of all your problems regarding your sleeping disorder need to be diagnosed properly by a registered physician what you can do in a hospital or in a clinic. They will perform a study on your sleeping overnight and determine the response of your body to different layer of air pressure. It the process of the study your physician will also measure few other things and will write a prescription for you.
- That prescription will include a generic name of the machine required and also the type of the device recommended for you, for an example CPAP, BiPAP etc. Besides you might be advised to get a humidifier. Whatever it is, being prescribed from a certified physician is the first step to buy a CPAP machine.
Step 2: Shopping around
- At this point you need to shop around to get your match. You can see numbers of manufacturer are producing CPAP machines. Some of them are new and some of them are not. Again some are asking for high prices where some other doesn’t. Try to stick with a good brand and don’t consider money as the prime issue sacrificing the product quality.
- You can shop both in online and offline marketplaces whichever you find comfort.
Step 3: Choose the best CPAP mask
- Choosing the best cpap mask is often more important than choosing the machine, as it will be set just over your nose. It is not mandatory to buy every part from the same producer. You can buy humidifier from a producer and can buy your mask from another, it’s a free world.
- Check out which type of mask is good for you. You can get nasal masks, full-face masks, oral masks and few other types. Consider your comfort above all. Find out which mask would be easier to clean.
Step 4: Bells & Whistles
- If you are ready to spend a bit more, few other accessories are recommended to you to buy. For an example, you can consider your battery backup as important.
- If you use a humidifier and lives in a cold room, to prevent condensation, rainout-reduction kit can help you a lot. To improve mobility, buying hose extensions is suggested. To achieve a softer feel, insulated sleeves works great. So you can have them too.
- You can find CPAP machines containing memory chip that can record difference measurement. In this way your doctor can calibrate your update well even if when you are traveling somewhere towards higher altitudes.
Step 5: Read public reviews and make a short list
- At this point you should read public reviews on different similar products. Try reading reviews on different respective relevant blogs and forums. Try to understand what people are saying and why they are applauding or grilling a particular machine.
- You can talk with a user directly. Just ask your friends or relatives, definitely you would find a user.
- At this point you can make your short list to make the purchase even easier. This short list includes a product list, from where you can pick any particular one.
Step 6: Consider pricing issue to reevaluate and buy
- This is the final step. Take your short list and crosscheck the pricing. Find out which short listed product is asking as reasonable price.
- Select finally, seal the terminal decision and make the buy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Question 1 : What if I put the device below the humidifier?
Answer: You can place the device at same level of the humidifier but not below of it. It is good to place the device over the humidifier. In this way you can minimize the risks of entering water into the device. Before transporting the device water should be drained, so try to ensure it.
Question 2 : My mask is full-faced. Do I require more water at night?
Answer: Find out whether there is any leak in your mask. Usually full faced masks don’t need to change waters every night.
Question 3: Should I buy the most expensive CPAP machine from the market?
Answer: If you want, why is stopping you, but I’m not sure how you are considering most expensive CPAP machine as the best machine. Yes, there are rationales behind that perception, but you cannot say that surely. So please try to understand what your doctor says. Remember, you are in problems and there is no chance to opt out. What you need is a remedy, not something what would enable you to gossip with others.
Question 4: Do I need to turn on the humidifier prior of going to my bed?
Answer: You can do it. Do it 20 minutes before. Do it only when the air is irritating, otherwise not.
Question 5: I use the humidifier in winter. Should I use it in rest of the months?
Answer: In case you find nasal congestion at different other seasons, you should try using it to make things moisturized and to get nasal comfort.
Question 6: Which brand to choose while buying?
Answer: It would not be smart to focus on any particular brand. Besides naming any particular brand would not be fair too. Depending on your requirement and the doctors’ advice a patient should purchase different devices. There is no obligation that someone ought to buy from a fixed brand.
Question 7: My machine shuts off during night time. What can the problem?
Answer: For numbers of reasons this scenario can occur. It can be a technical difficulty. But before calling a technician try to check the plugging system. Check the filter and find out whether that is blocked or not. If that is blocked, you should change that immediately.
Question 8: How can I remove oil from my mask?
Answer: There is nothing complicated in this. Just step forward with your regular soap if that is mild. Use fresh water if possible and allow that to dry normally. To dry faster you can use a separate cloth or fabric.
Question 9: I’m a sleep apnea patient, but CPAP machines seem awful to me! Are there any alternatives?
Answer: CPAP therapy is just fine. Yeah, I can understand what you are feeling, as no one want to have masks over his/ her nose. But this is a way by how you can keep in protected from many further deteriorative health situations. If you seek for alternatives, I would name HFT, elaborated as high flow therapy. But you cannot take it as direct alternative of CPAP therapy. If your doctor advice you taking CPAP, you should adhere with that.
Question 10: Are there any differences between humidifiers used for a thin old man and a fat growing teen?
Answer: In a single word, ‘NO’! Humidifiers are just humidifiers. Yes there are some different models of that from where you are free to choose according if your doctor doesn’t impose any generic name. The doctor might suggest different humidifier for a thin old fella and for a fat teen, but exceptions could be made either. There is no humidifier I know specifically named based on different human age and body fatness.
CPAP machines are the complete solution maker for respirational abnormalities. It is evident from the perspective of medical science, unless a person is ready for a surgery and successfully passes it; there is no other option to choose without CPAP therapy for a sleep-apnea patient. Different studies are coming up every year with igniting messages but unfortunately nothing is sustaining at the end of the day. If I’m a patient and ask you to bring a solution to help reducing my sleeping disorders, I’m sure tomorrow you will come up with CPAP therapy solution. This is where the medical science is standing currently. In a single sentence CPAP therapy can be identified as life saver.
Best CPAP machine refers to a system that can solve your entire nasal discomfort while breathing and say goodbye to sleep apnea. After reading all the essential aspects and areas someone can easily get accustomed with this therapy system and with the add-ons too once. Without taking CPAP aid, as a patient encountering sleeping disorders, you are under big risks. It might be a bitter truth, but it is clear as daylight. In that consequence you can note, wasting time in dangling whilst carrying sleeping disorders is naivety’, the mere solution lies within CPAP machines. Buy your comfort.