Early CPAP machines for women only involved cosmetic changes, but the newest devices function differently. Gender specific medicine is an emerging field that tailors therapy and treatment to specific differences between men and women. In the field of sleep medicine, it is increasingly recognized that sleep apnea presents differently in women than in men. Since women have smaller airways than men, women with sleep apnea have more frequent apnea events than men. Biomedical engineers are creating algorithms that detect the apnea earlier and that respond more quickly. Algorithms in unisex AutoPAP machines typically respond after 3 breaths. Devices for women are focusing on responding in one breath and on adjusting the pressure interval more precisely to match the exact need.
Although there are not many CPAP devices currently on the market targeting a women’s unique sleep needs, this niche market is likely to grow considerably.