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Positive Airway Pressure for Sleep Disorders

If your sleep problems involve breathing issues -- such as sleep apnea -- a positive airway pressure device may help you get a better night’s sleep. There are two types of positive airway pressure, and which one works best for you will depend on the specifics of your sleep disorder. In both types, the machines gently provide a constant stream of air that keeps the airway open and prevents it from collapsing during sleep.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

With CPAP, the stream of air is exactly the same both when you inhale and exhale. That continuous pressure helps keep your airway open, making CPAP an effective treatment for many cases of sleep apnea.

Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP)

BiPAP machines provide more pressure when you breathe in than when you breathe out, helping to expand the lungs to take in more oxygen. That is why this device is best suited to people with decreased lung function. BiPAP is often prescribed to people with sleep disorders related to neuromuscular conditions, such as ALS. BiPAP can also be used for people with sleep apnea who cannot tolerate CPAP.

New and improved technology

CPAP and BiPAP machines have a reputation for being loud, uncomfortable and unwieldy. But the technology and designs have improved greatly in recent years. At Henry Ford, we offer the latest in these machines to help you get the treatment you need -- without the discomfort.

  • Better masks: Many people worry about not being able to sleep with a mask on their face. At Henry Ford, we offer many newer masks that are smaller, softer and more comfortable. For those who experience claustrophobia when wearing the mask, we also have a sleep psychologist available to work on relaxation and desensitization techniques.
  • Quieter machines: Newer versions are as quiet as a fan, producing a gentle white noise. 
  • Smaller units: We offer machines that are easily portable and weigh less than 3 pounds.
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