Health System Services | Sleep Therapy

Sleep Therapy

Sleep Therapy: CPAP and BiPAP Systems

The American Medical Association has 10 different classifications for sleep disorders and there are a number of different treatments depending on your diagnosis. Among the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea. Contrary to popular belief, sleep apnea is not a form of insomnia, but rather a condition wherein individuals experience interrupted breathing during sleep. The frequent loss of oxygen—sometimes hundreds of times a night—constantly disrupts the body’s normal sleep pattern, causing fatigue, low blood oxygen levels and a heightened risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Doctors have identified multiple highly effective treatments, though there is no cure to stop sleep apnea.


There are common in-home sleep therapy treatments your doctor or a sleep specialist can prescribe. Here are answers to some of the most common questions people have about in-home sleep therapy:

The acronym stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This is achieved using a doctor-prescribed breathing device.

These devices push air through a tube into a nasal or face mask during sleep to keep your soft palate from collapsing and cutting off your air supply. The machines are lightweight and portable and can be outfitted with battery power to facilitate easy travel. Among the most common manufacturers of CPAP machines is ResMed, which manufactures the devices and accompanying hoses and tubing.

In order for a CPAP machine to be effective, the nasal or face mask must maintain a seal over your face. This can be a challenge for side-sleepers. ResMed and other companies make adjustable, lightweight masks that avoid contact with your pillow, which can cause the mask’s seal around your airways to break.

The answer is not an absolute yes, but most health insurance companies consider a CPAP machine to be a durable medical device, a common standard for medical coverage. Consult your insurance carrier because frequently copayments and premiums can differ for coverage of medical equipment versus medical care. Medicare and Medicaid both cover the cost of CPAP machines if their need is verified by your healthcare provider.

The answer is no. CPAP machines are classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a Level II medical device. Over-the-counter sale of such devices without a doctor’s prescription are prohibited by federal law. CPAP machines operate at varying pressure and only a board certified sleep specialist should determine the proper level of air pressure to relieve your sleep apnea. Pressure levels that are too high can result in harm to your throat and nasal cavity. Once a sleep study is conducted and reviewed by a doctor specializing in sleep study, a prescription is issued and a subsequent tiration study is usually conducted to fine tune the proper level of air pressure. Once that is completed, a prescription is issued. Most CPAP prescriptions are generally carry a lifetime expiration date, though for some patients a renewal is required depending on their specific sleep condition.

Proper use of a CPAP machine has been proven highly effective in stopping chronic snoring.

In addition to snoring and restlessness, CPAP machines can help lower a patient’s blood pressure, reduce fatigue, and improve symptoms related to ADHD.

Patients who have treated their sleep apnea report being more alert during waking hours, a reduced reliance on caffeine and other drugs to stay awake.

Once a sleep study and tiration study have been completed, patients take home their machine. Benefits begin immediately, though for the best results doctors caution CPAP machines must be used nightly to prevent sleep apnea symptoms from returning.

An auto CPAP, also known as an APAP, is a variation on the traditional CPAP machine that automatically adjusts to the optimal air pressure for a patient depending on their level of sleep. APAP machines may be prescribed for patients who find the constant level of air pressure on a standard CPAP machine uncomfortable. APAP machines also eliminate the need for follow-up tiration studies to determine the optimal level of air pressure for a standard CPAP machine.

There are a variety of CPAP-specific cleaning and sanitizing products on the market, though the mask and tubing can be cleaned by soaking them in warm water with a small amount of ammonia-free soap for five minutes. Tubes can be left out to dry during the daytime.


I BiPAP machine, which stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, is a variant of a CPAP machine that can be prescribed to treat other, less common forms of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. The central difference between a CPAP and a BiPAP is the change in air pressure when a patient exhales. This function can benefit sleep apnea sufferers with chronic respiratory conditions such as COPD who find the constant pressure level of a CPAP machine disturbing.

Do you think a a CPAP or BiPAP System might be the right solution for your home? Schedule your free consultation today!


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