If you’ve been trying to stay updated on the latest news about sleep apnea treatments, it’s likely that you’re familiar with lots of various treatments that are currently available for the condition. Among the most promising ones is EPAP.Enter your text here…
Touted as an alternative to the tried and tested CPAP, the EPAP promises a more comfortable fit and fewer discomforts, making it a highly appealing option for many. It will not require you to wear a large mask that can irritate your skin or spend a lot of time setting up the machine.
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What is EPAP?
Also referred to as the expiratory positive airway pressure, EPAP is a breathing support device that is designed to treat sleep apnea. They’re best characterized as nostril plugs that can come in one or two pieces that are meant to sit right on the nostrils.
EPAP comes in different shapes and sizes. Some are one-piece products while others are two pieces and can be inserted in the nostrils individually. They are often secured by an adhesive that is meant to be stuck on the outside perimeter of your nose.
This item is also notable for its simplicity. Unlike the CPAP that is an actual electronic machine, EPAP doesn’t require electricity or clunky attachments to work. It’s only really a pair of plug-like objects and nothing else. They’re designed to easily allow air intake and limit the outflow.
Studies and tests prove that EPAP devices can work well for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It’s also found out to be better suited for mouth snorers rather than nose snorers. Scientists and researchers are still studying why it works for some and not for others, however, so it’s best to stay tuned for developments.
Today, there are several EPAP devices available in the market but only a few have been FDA approved for the treatment of OSA. Some are available by prescription but there are also others that are available over-the-counter or through major online marketplaces.
How It Works
Sleep apnea is caused by airway obstruction. When we sleep, the muscles and tissues situated at the back of our throats go lax and our tongues tend to roll back. And if the tongue is enlarged due to fat, it can also contribute to further airway obstruction.
These result in a smaller passageway for air. When the sleeper inhales in their sleep, vibration is created when the air squeezes through the small amount of space in the air passage. This is what we know as the snoring sound. The narrower the airway, the louder the snore can get as the airflow becomes more forceful and the tissue vibration is increased.
The idea behind EPAP devices is to apply a gentle pressure into the wearer’s airways to keep them from collapsing. By doing so, the air passages are kept clear and spacious so air can freely move without causing vibrations. It will also ensure that sleepers will not feel like choking or have difficulties in inhaling while they’re asleep.
This is why EPAP devices only really allow air intake with every inhale but creates resistance for the airflow when you exhale. By doing this, the pressure from the air that you’re slowly releasing keeps your air passages open. This process kicks off what is known as positive airway pressure which consequently creates Positive End Expiratory Pressure (PEEP).
A Quick History of the EPAP Device
The nasal EPAP was invented by Dr. Rajiv Doshi, Adjunct Professor at the Department of Medicine and the Director of the India Program at the Byers Center for Biodesign of Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California. He’s both an engineer and a medical doctor so he was able to approach snoring problems through two ways.
Dr. Doshi was inspired to create the EPAP after his wife asked him to help her with her snoring. He further got ideas later on when he witnessed an emphysema patient do closed-mouthed breathing exercises. He then came to the idea that creating a back pressure to open up airways will be helpful in alleviating symptoms.
Initially, Dr. Doshi’s prototypes of the EPAP device involved tubes and small pieces of latex gloves. Today, it’s crafted latex-free to further prevent skin irritations and allergies.
EPAP vs IPAP, CPAP & BiPAP: What’s the Difference?
EPAP is very different from other similar devices designed to treat sleep apnea. CPAP, for starters, stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It’s meant to apply pressure to the passageways continuously, both during inhaling and exhaling.ere…
BiPAP or bilevel positive pressure is somewhat similar to CPAP as it also applies pressure during both phases. However, it’s not continuous, hence, the name. Lastly, IPAP or inspiratory positive pressure only applies positive pressure when you inhale.
Why Use an EPAP?
There are lots of advantages to the use of EPAP. The most prominent example, however, is its small size. It’s compact and portable so you can take it with you anywhere. This means you don’t have to be limited by a machine when it comes to where you should sleep at night as you can just pop a pair of EPAP devices in your luggage and not worry about it.
EPAP devices are also not electronic so there’s no need to be somewhere with electricity to use it. It also doesn’t require any sort of upkeep since it’s a very simple object. If it starts to fail, replacing it wouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Should You Get One?
To further help you weigh your options, here are the pros and cons of getting an EPAP device:Enter your text here…
- EPAP devices fit comfortably on the wearer’s nostrils and are not as clunky as CPAP masks and machines.
- A pair of EPAP will not hurt your wallet too much.
- There’s no need for electricity in order to use this device.
- You can find latex-free options to avoid getting an allergic reaction.
- It has a very portable design.
- EPAP doesn’t work in severe cases where nasal obstruction is the cause of sleep apnea.
- It’s not meant for those who snore through their noses or sleep with their mouths open.