The Difference Between CPAP and APAP

APAP vs. CPAP: The Key Differences

Choosing APAP vs. CPAP is always a personal decision made in conjunction with your sleep specialist. Both devices are great options for treating sleep apnea to help keep airways open while you sleep. The difference between CPAP and APAP starts with the meaning of the acronyms/abbreviations. Both APAP and CPAP devices are designed to help keep airways open while you sleep. The only real difference of note is how they work. APAP meaning Auto-Pap —stands for automatic positive airway pressure. On the other hand, CPAP provides continuous positive airway pressure. The key is finding which works best for you.

How Auto-Pap Devices Work

Auto-PAP devices are an excellent option for true individualized therapy. Auto-PAP devices automatically adjust as you breathe to maintain your ideal pressure all night long. Like CPAP machines, Auto-PAP devices can be used with a nasal pillow, nose mask, or full-face mask to create pressure to keep airways free of obstruction. The device can also accommodate pressure changes related to weight gain or weight loss, changing sleeping positions, and even alcohol before bed! 

How CPAP Devices Work

CPAP devices provide a continuous flow of pressurized air into a mask or nasal pillow to keep your air passage open and oxygen flowing while you sleep. While it may appear that the constant flow of air keeps the airway open, it’s actually the air pressure created by the air input and the sealed mask that produces the pressure. CPAP machines can be used with a variety of delivery mechanisms, including a nasal pillow, nose mask, or full-face mask.

Reasons to Consider Auto-Pap vs. CPAP

With an estimated 50 to 70 million people in the US suffering from one or more sleep disorders and most remaining undiagnosed, evaluation by a sleep specialist is a must, especially if you are a heavy or loud snorer. One of the most common causes of sleep deprivation is obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition in which your breathing repeatedly starts and stops while sleeping and can contribute to a number of severe health problems. Once diagnosed with sleep apnea, your specialist or doctor will provide a prescription for a sleep apnea device. It’s most common to begin with a CPAP device. There will be a period of adjustment as you get used to the equipment, the air pressure, and the sound. Many seasoned users of sleep apnea devices or those who don’t tolerate CPAP well may choose to opt for an Auto-PAP machine which mimics a more natural breathing pattern.

Not sure which is the right device for your sleep apnea treatment plan? Consult one of our specialists at Valley Sleep Therapy to find the most suitable device, mask, and accessories for you.