Hi, I am Robert Bates
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Mask-Free CPAP Alternative: EPAP
The device you are about to learn about isn’t really a mask-free CPAP. In fact it isn’t a CPAP at all. This device is much better in many ways, it is called the EPAP. It is still relatively new to the marketplace but you need to know about it. Soon you will know all about it.
As I mentioned, this device is not a CPAP system. EPAP stands for expiratory positive airway pressure. A CPAP applies constant outward pressure to keep your airway open.
The EPAP does not. It only applies outward pressure to keep your airway open while you exhale. This machine does not breathe for you. Honestly I think that is a good thing. Let me tell you about the other differences.
Since this machine does not breathe for you there are some major differences when it comes to the equipment you need. For one thing, there is not a mask. This device attaches to your nostrils with 2 small disposable pieces.
That means that aside from the nose pieces being attached to the unit, you can move normally in bed. The biggest complaint most people have about the CPAP system is the mask and that issue has been totally eliminated with this device. This also makes using it quite comfortable. Compared to wearing a mask, two little pieces in your nostrils are barely noticeable.
Notice that I said this device does not breathe for you but it does keep your airway open. That is because it only applies outward pressure when you are breathing out. What the makers of this system found is that airway pressure is at its lowest when you exhale.
By only adding pressure at this time, treatment feels more natural as opposed to being controlled by a machine. The feeling of being controlled by a CPAP is a serious issue for some people.
Does It Work?
The short answer is yes, this system is effective for treating sleep apnea. There is only one brand of device that I am aware of and it was approved by the FDA to treat sleep apnea in 2008. The brand name is Provent and their device has been studied. It has been found to be effective and it is also much more likely to be used consistently by patients.
This is mainly due to the overall comfort of the system. A CPAP just isn’t a good option for many people. In studies it has been found that this system works best for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Patients with severe sleep apnea also saw major improvements, but not to the same degree as those who had mild or moderate sleep apnea. My interpretation of the numbers has me under the impression that the EPAP generally cuts apneas in half. That is right up there with the CPAP as far as effectiveness goes.
What It’s Like
Using an EPAP feels very different from using a CPAP. When you are hooked up to a CPAP it feels like the machine is doing the breathing for you. It also reminds me a bit of scuba diving, except scuba diving would have to be uncomfortable and irritating.
When you use an EPAP you don’t feel very much. You may notice the pieces in your nostrils but few people mind them. The only other thing you may feel from it is your lungs expanding when you exhale. It is recommended that you breathe mostly through your mouth while using this system.
The Next Step
If you think an EPAP might be right for you, then the next step is to talk to your doctor. You and your doctor will be able to decide if you should try this system or not.
I’m not a doctor, but I don’t know of any reasons to avoid trying it. If you are stuck with a CPAP right now then this could be a much better alternative for you.
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