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About BiPAP Therapy For COPD


Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy is often used in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is an umbrella term for lung and respiratory diseases that make breathing difficult.


Modern BiPAP machines are tabletop devices fitted with tubing and a mask. You simply put the mask over your nose and/or mouth to receive two levels of pressurized air. One pressure level is delivered when you inhale, and a lower pressure is delivered when you exhale.


BiPAP machines often feature a “smart” breath timer that adapts to your respiratory patterns. By having a custom air pressure for when you inhale and a second custom air pressure when you exhale, the machine is able to provide relief to your overworked lungs and chest wall muscles. It automatically resets the level of pressurized air when needed to help keep your breathing level on target. It is a non-invasive ventilation (NIV and doesn’t require a surgical procedure, such as intubation or tracheotomy.


For patients with COPD, breathing is likely labored. Shortness of breath and wheezing are common symptoms of COPD, and these symptoms can worsen as the condition progresses.


For people with COPD, using BiPAP means less labored breathing. The pressure in your airway encourages a steady flow of oxygen. This allows your lungs to more efficiently transport oxygen to your body and remove excess carbon dioxide.


The most common side effects of BiPAP therapy include: dry nose, nasal congestion, rhinitis, general discomfort, claustrophobia.


If the mask is loose, one may also experience a mask air leak. This can keep the machine from maintaining the prescribed pressure. If this happens, it can affect your breathing.


To prevent an air leak from happening, it’s crucial to purchase a mask properly fitted to the mouth, nose, or both. After you put the mask on, run your fingers over the edges to ensure that it’s “sealed” and fitted to your face.



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