Sleep apnea is a relatively common disorder among adults older than 30, and many experts believe that a large number of people suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea. A common symptom is excessive snoring, but it also can produce far more severe symptoms, including memory loss, disorientation, moodiness, a general overall feeling of malaise and, in extreme cases, even death. Those with severe sleep apnea can be treated with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine or a Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machine, depending on their doctors' recommendation. The choice between a CPAP and a BiPAP is made based on the type of sleep apnea and its severity.


The major difference between the two machines is the pressure used to increase air flow. With a CPAP machine, the flow of air is constant. A BiPAP machine, by contrast, provides a stronger pressure during inhalation and a lighter pressure during exhalation. Because of these differences, a CPAP and a BiPAP are used to treat slightly different disorders. The CPAP is more suited to obstructive apnea, and the BiPAP often is used to treat central sleep apnea.