Author Topic: sleep apnea  (Read 1742 times)

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Offline try another castle

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sleep apnea
« on: November 16, 2005, 01:21:00 AM »
I was diagnosed with it a few weeks ago. I went in for a split-night sleep study. (4 hours regular sleep, 4 hours on a CPAP machine.) The technician said I was having around 47 apneas per hour at about 20 seconds in length each. (around 15 minutes of not breathing per hour.. 2 hours of not breathing for an 8 hour rest period.)

Which would explain why, on days when I don't have to be anywhere, I sleep anywhere from 12 - 20 hours. Also, up until this point, I've been a straight A student, but this quarter I'm actually failing my first class, because I can't concentrate anymore, and I can't focus to do my homework.

Fortunately, the DME has finally gotten my prescription from the doctor, so I should be hooked up with a CPAP machine in a few days. I know that when I was hooked up for that short time at the sleep clinic, it was the nicest, most restful sleep I've had in ages, so I can't wait to get that thing. I know it takes some time to get used to, but I don't care. Anything to get a decent night's sleep for once.

I was wondering if anyone else on this board has sleep apnea and what their experience has been. Whether they use an xPAP (CPAP/BiPAP/AutoPAP) machine, or if they got surgery. (or if they've possibly tried that new stent procedure they have now.)
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Offline Anonymous

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sleep apnea
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2005, 09:49:00 AM »
A friend of mine with Fibromyalgia said
that when she got diagnosed with Sleep
Apnea, and started to use the machine
her condition improved dramatically!
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Offline Anonymous

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sleep apnea
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2005, 09:52:00 AM »
How much is the machine?  How does it work?
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Offline Anonymous

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sleep apnea
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2005, 10:12:00 AM »
Sorry, you would be surprised at how many posts of yours' I indentify with.  I had a horrific sleep condition since I was a little girl.  It got progressively worse until my mid twenties when I couldn't function.  Usually an honor student, I started failing and ended up taking a semester off and working freelance at a publishing company making my own hours.  When I went back to school, I took night courses at the university.  My sleep problem was that I absolutely could not sleep until about five or six in the morning. Not able to function without full sleep, I slept from 5-6 to 2pm. I never felt rested and my body/mind started breaking down. I also had horrific, very realistic nightmares 5-6 days a week.  I never got restful sleep. In 1995, I went to a sleep lab, but it wasn't very helpful; all I know is I didn't get enough REM. Light therapy and all taht didn't work and I was too far gone to wake up early anyway and restart the cycle.

In 1995,I finally went to a doctor who put me on a program of Ambien (I started at a dose that was double the norm) that knocked me out at a certain time and where sleep/wake up times/exercise were highly structured and reversed my schedule over a period of two and a half months, weening me off the ambien.  

He was a neurobiologist so he gave me a letter for my professors explaining I had a "neurobiological condition" so I had a medical contigency to make up work. Fortunately, I was a good student; I just needed to catch up a bit on a few projects.

I'm not sure how I dealt with the nightmares but they stopped coming.  They were truly horrible. I was afraid to sleep.

For the most part, my sleep has been a thousand times better... until this year. This year, my mind is absolutely restless, and I've been taking Simply Sleep more than a few times a week.

I never really got a diagnosis at the sleep lab--it wasn't apnea, I know that.  But I do know they have more knowledge today then 10 years ago.  Could you describe some of the newer therapies and how they work?

Shanlea
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Offline try another castle

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sleep apnea
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2005, 10:51:00 AM »
I'm not sure how long CPAP and the surgeries have been around, nor how, or if, the sensitivity of the sleep studies have improved. If you are still having sleep problems, the best bet would be to get another sleep study done. You can also try the forums at http://www.talkaboutsleep.com for advice.

If you get another sleep study done, you could try a different center possibly. A second opinion couldn't hurt. SOP is to first get a consultation with a sleep doctor before the study so he/she can determine what type of study to do on you.
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Offline try another castle

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sleep apnea
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2005, 10:54:00 AM »
Quote
On 2005-11-16 06:52:00, Anonymous wrote:

"How much is the machine?  How does it work?"


I believe the machine runs about $300 or so, but I think the autoPAPs are more expensive. What they do is blow air via a mask into your airway to keep it from collapsing when you sleep so you don't suffocate and keep waking up to start breathing again. Most insurances, including medicare, cover xPAP machines.
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Offline Jeff_Berryman

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sleep apnea
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2005, 11:50:00 AM »
I've had sleep apnea for over ten years, and been on Bi-Pap for nine.  It saved my life.  I tried the surgery, and for me, it did not work.  (I'm not saying it does not work for anyone, I just wasn't a very good candidate to start with.)  Lack of sleep messes up every system of your body.  When I started Bi-Pap, I had been diabetic for some time, though not yet insulin dependant.  My blood sugars improved so much that my doctor reduced the dosages on one of my blood sugar medications.  

Anyone who has chronic trouble getting a decent night's sleep should definitely get tested for apnea.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2005, 05:20:00 PM »
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/ ... 839.column

November 21, 2005 latimes.com

A nightmare for your body
New studies link obstructive sleep apnea to risks such as brain damage and diabetes. Still, the disorder is often ignored.

Some people first suspect they have obstructive sleep apnea when their significant other complains about excessive snoring, or tells them they stop breathing many times during the night.

Others figure it out when their daytime sleepiness gets so bad they fall asleep at meetings or have a car accident.

But many of the 18 million Americans with obstructive sleep apnea don't believe they have it until they are tested in a sleep lab, get treatment and get the first good night's sleep they've had in years.

Now, because of a growing body of evidence, including two papers in the Nov. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors are beginning to realize just how dangerous obstructive sleep apnea can be. It may be closely linked not just to heart disease and stroke, as had been long suspected, but also to problems such as obesity, diabetes and brain damage.

Some doctors even think sleep apnea might be part of metabolic syndrome, the cluster of symptoms such as obesity, high blood pressure, glucose intolerance and high cholesterol that raises the risk of cardiovascular disease.

"Sleep apnea is intrinsically related to each of those factors," said Dr. H. Klar Yaggi, an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Medicine and the first author of one of the new papers.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when muscles, including those in the throat, relax during sleep. It's particularly common among overweight and older people, especially those with fatty necks whose throats are already narrowed by fat deposits.

As the upper airway collapses, the effort of trying to breathe causes the sleeper to partially wake up hundreds of times a night. (Children can get obstructive sleep apnea too usually because their tonsils and adenoids are enlarged.)

Though each cessation of breathing often lasts a few seconds and the sleeper typically is unaware of it, the body interprets it as an emergency. As blood oxygen falls, there is a surge of adrenaline which causes the heart to beat faster and blood pressure to rise steeply. High blood pressure has long been known to cause strokes.

The rapid rise and fall of oxygen levels, called intermittent hypoxia, is more dangerous than a constant low level of oxygen, in part because it causes inflammation, an underlying cause of many problems, including the clogging of coronary arteries.

"It's the back and forth that causes the problems," said Dr. David P. White, director of the sleep disorders program at Brigham and Women's Hospital, adding that research shows that people with sleep apnea have a 27% increased risk of heart attack and a 240% increased risk of congestive heart failure.

Sleep apnea is also an independent risk factor for stroke, according to Yaggi's research. His study tracked nearly 700 people with sleep apnea and 350 without for an average of 3.4 years. Those with apnea had an increased risk of stroke or death from any cause, and the risk was linked to apnea severity.

Other ominous research suggests a link between sleep apnea and brain damage. Animal studies have shown that intermittent hypoxia "is very injurious," to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls blood pressure and breathing, and to the hippocampus, which controls memory, said Ron Harper, a neurobiologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. MRI scans of      s show that people with sleep apnea have lost tissue in key parts of their brains, Harper said.

In children with sleep apnea, surgically removing the tonsils often leads to a "dramatic recovery" in schoolwork, Harper said. In      s, treating sleep apnea leads to some improvement in cognitive function but some longer term injury often remains.

So, what to do? If you share a bed, ask your partner whether you snore horrifically and whether you stop breathing during sleep.

If you don't have a partner, try tape recording your sleep. If you think you may have sleep apnea, take it seriously: See a doctor and request polysomnography, a test done in a sleep lab overnight that can confirm an apnea diagnosis.

The most common treatment is a device called CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure. You strap it on to your face at night ? it looks a bit like an elephant's trunk ? and it forces air down your throat to keep it open.

"CPAP is not always user-friendly. Not everybody tolerates it," said Dr. Carl E. Hunt, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The government is now funding two large long-term clinical trials of CPAP.

Although CPAP has not been linked conclusively with lower death rates from cardiovascular disease, short-term studies show it can improve sleep quality, reduce daytime sleepiness and lower blood pressure.

Surgery to remove the floppy tissue that collapses and obstructs the throat ? part of the soft palate and the uvula (that funny thing that hangs down in your throat) ? can also reduce apnea episodes.

So can a product called a mandibular advancement device. Like a retainer, it's worn at night and makes the lower jaw move forward to keep the throat from collapsing. And for many people, losing just 10% to 20% of weight can cut the severity of sleep apnea in half.

Bottom line? Don't ignore potential sleep apnea. It's a significant red flag that your health may be in danger. So, get checked. Get treated. And sweet dreams.
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Offline try another castle

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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2005, 08:01:00 PM »
Wow. Thanks for that article.

Brain damage, huh? Well, that would explain a few things...  :razz:

I just got my CPAP on saturday and already I am sleeping less. (about 8-10 hours.) I still feel groggy during the day, and it's still difficult to concentrate, but some other people with sleep apnea told me that it may take about 2-4 weeks for me to "catch up" on my sleep and normalize.

I adjusted to the CPAP and the mask quite well. It's actually very comforting to sleep with it. I breathe through my nose, and my dreams don't seem so fitful.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2005, 09:51:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-11-21 17:01:00, sorry... try another castle wrote:


I adjusted to the CPAP and the mask quite well. It's actually very comforting to sleep with it. I breathe through my nose, and my dreams don't seem so fitful.
"


I was wondering about the comfort level.

It seems like it would be totally annoying,
I am surprised that it is so comforting.

I guess I will search for a photo ...
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2005, 09:55:00 PM »
http://www.sleepnet.com/photos/cpap.html

Yikes, now I am even more amazed that the CPAP
is comforting.
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Offline try another castle

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sleep apnea
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2005, 01:50:00 AM »
Quote
On 2005-11-21 18:55:00, Anonymous wrote:

http://www.sleepnet.com/photos/cpap.html



Yikes, now I am even more amazed that the CPAP

is comforting.


Well, a lot of those people are wearing nasal masks, which, in my opinion, are wretched. I use an incredibly comfortable mask called the Mirage Swift which uses what are known as nasal pillows. A mask simply goes over your nose and needs to form a seal, which can be a pain, and can cause redness on the bridge of your nose and the surrounding area. Then there are nasal prongs, which go inside your nostrils, and some people find it irritating. (although the Nasal Aire II has gotten many positive reviews. Mainly because it is so light, and the prongs are very soft.) Nasal pillows kind of rest up against your nostrils, with a small bit going inside. When the cpap is turned on, they fill up with air and form a seal. They are very comfortable to wear, because they are so non-invasive, and don't hit the pressure points of your face like a nasal mask would. There are also full face masks, for mouth breathers, but those can be very claustraphobic and tend to freak a lot of people out when they wear them.

The swift is still very un-sexy looking, as are all of the masks, but it is quite nice to wear. I chose it specifically because I had heard so many good things about it, and also because it was the mask used for my sleep study, and I acclimated to the nasal pillows interface very well.

Some of the people in those pics (I think the last one) were also wearing chin straps. This sometimes help to keep your mouth from opening in your sleep, which defeats the purpose of cpap, because you break the seal, and all of the pressurized air escapes through your mouth. Mouth breathing while unconscious is a problematic issue, and a lot of people have tried many different things, from chin straps, to modified sports mouth guards. There's this new dental item on the market now that is custom fitted to your teeth, and it's made for snorers, and also made as a training device to keep people from breathing through their mouth. Although not designed for apnea patients, a lot have bought them and have had success sleeping with their mouth closed.

To my knowledge, I haven't done any mouth breathing while sleeping, which is amazing, because I normally do. But with the nasal pillows on, I seem to have no problem sleeping with my mouth closed. Especially because when you open your mouth with cpap on, it feels really weird.

My cpap machine also has a heater/humidifier to avoid excessive dryness in my nose from extended use, which is nice.

This is the cpap I have. Isn't it cute? It almost looks as if the people who designed the iMac made this thing. It's also very small, (smaller than a shoebox)and extremely quiet. It also comes with its own carrying case so I can take it with me if I need to travel.

Not everyone acclimates to cpap easily. For some it is a real struggle, but I think to see what we are willing to go through and put up with for a good night's sleep speaks volumes as to the quality of the sleep (or lack of) that we were getting before. Sleep apnea is indeed nasty. And the scary thing about it is, it can go undiagnosed for years, because you may not have any idea you have it, unless you sleep with a partner, who complains about your snoring or can see you struggling for breath. AND some people with sleep apnea, like myself, don't snore at all (or a very little bit.) I was lucky in that I accidentally fell asleep on a friend's couch and he observed me struggling for breath while I slept, so he told me about it. Before that, my doctor had pushed for me to get a sleep study, but I dismissed him, and thought "There's no way I have sleep apnea." So it was fortunate that my friend saw me sleeping.

_________________
[ This Message was edited by: sorry... try another castle on 2006-01-14 19:12 ]
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2005, 09:42:00 AM »
All star post.

Looks like my initial google search found
the ugliest choices :smile:

The Nasal Pillows look good and make sense,
without trying them.

I have a friend in Albequerque who is
going to an appointment on Wednesday
to discuss a sleep study with her doctor.

I am sure she will appreciate the info!

Thank you
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