If you’ve been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), your sleep specialist will recommend treatment options based on your unique health situation. The most common and proven effective sleep apnea treatment options are CPAP machines and Auto PAP machines.
If you consistently use the sleep apnea machine that was prescribed, you will have a much better chance at treating your sleep apnea effectively. Most patients need to manage and control their sleep apnea symptoms in order to reduce snoring and get healthy sleep.
What’s the Difference Between CPAP Machines and Auto PAP Machines?
- “CPAP” = Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
- “AutoPAP” or APAP = Automatic Positive Airway Pressure
Traditional CPAP machines provide continuous, steady positive airway pressure through a specially-fitted mask. Your sleep specialist will recommend the settings that will keep the optimal pressure consistent while you sleep. AutoPAP machines do essentially the same thing as CPAP machines, however the airway pressure with these machines is adjusted automatically while you sleep. Auto PAP machines may also be referred to as “auto-titrating CPAP”, “auto-adjusting CPAP”, or “self-adjusting CPAP.” A home sleep test will be necessary to get the correct set-up for an AutoPAP machine.
Depending on the specifics and severity of your sleep apnea symptoms, you may have more airway changes when you sleep than other people. Those patients who have more airway pressure changes generally do better with AutoPAP machines because the machine will adjust automatically based on actual breathing patterns. Treatment with this type of machine can be much easier in this scenario. However, if you experience the same breathing patterns throughout the night, you will likely do better with the general CPAP machine to keep your airways from collapsing.
Choosing and Using CPAP and AutoPAP Machines
There are many treatments available for sleep apnea and sleep apnea symptoms can be unique to each individual. This is why you will need to find a treatment method that works best for you. The CPAP machines and the AutoPAP machines are just two of the options that may work wonderfully for you in treating, managing and/or controlling your sleep apnea. But these machines can only normalize your breathing while you are actually using the machine.
Remember, updating your settings can be very important for this chronic treatment of a chronic health issue. You will need to have annual visits with your sleep apnea doctor to review your health and the machine settings in case adjustments (including how the mask fits) are necessary. For example, lifestyle changes such as weight loss or weight gain can change the amount of airway pressure you may need for your CPAP machine to work best for you. In addition, any insurance plans which cover sleep apnea machines or supplies typically require the annual physician review before accepting any related claims.
The Future of Sleep Apnea Treatment
New breakthroughs in sleep apnea treatment include an implantable stimulator called Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation. Inspire therapy consists of a breathing sensor, a stimulation lead, and a small battery/computer. Implanted during a short surgery, Inspire therapy continuously monitors breathing while you sleep. It delivers a mild stimulation to targeted airway muscles which cause the tongue and other soft tissues to move out of the airway. Northshore Sleep Medicine is working with Dr. Mark Evan Gerber at NorthShore University Healthsystem to offer Inspire therapy to patients who are good candidates for the procedure.
For more information about sleep apnea treatment options, comparing Auto PAP versus CPAP machines, or CPAP supplies, please call our office to set up an appointment at 847-674-3600.