Sleep Apnea, anyone?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 03, 2012 6:39 PM GMT
    A few times over the past year or so, I've woken up gasping for air, unable to breathe. It was extremely scary, I thought I wasn't going to catch my breath and felt like I was going to die.

    I know I had a deviated septum, so I figured once I got it corrected I would be able to breathe better. I had surgery in June to correct it, and I have been breathing a little better, and haven't gotten any more sinus infections, that I would normally get at least every other month.

    The other night, I had another episode at 3:30 in the morning, waking up out of a dead sleep gasping for air. Everyone in my house woke up too.

    I'm going for a sleep study tonight to see if it's sleep apnea, which my doctor seems to think it is. I do notice that I always feel tired, like I have no energy. I want to go to the gym and lose weight, I just don't feel like I can push myself to actually go and get into a routine. I also have trouble focusing in school and at work. I'm thinking maybe me not getting the right sleep has a lot to do with my weight gain over the past couple of years, my lack of energy, and my problems focusing.

    Anyone else have any experiences with this?
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    Oct 03, 2012 6:53 PM GMT
    It sounds like you could have sleep apnea, but only a sleep test can confirm that. The times you've woken up are only the times you remember. If you have sleep apnea, you could be waking up dozens, or even hundreds of times a night.

    Weight issues are the primary cause of obstructive sleep apnea, I think. However, it can also be caused by blockages that are genetic in origin. Losing weight may clear up the issue, but it's a chicken-or-the-egg problem. You need to lose weight to sleep better, but you'll have a lot of trouble losing weight if you're body is too tired from losing sleep.

    If you have sleep apnea, you doctor can prescribe you a CPAP machine that will help you breathe at night. It creates pressure that keeps your breathing passages open. It requires another sleep test to adjust the machine to the pressure that you need. Insurance usually covers this.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Oct 03, 2012 10:50 PM GMT
    You HOPE insurance covers it! My two tests cost me $500 each for deductibles.

    You won't get much rest tonight, Pharmboy, but it is worth it to find out what is going on. In my case they found I was waking up to 47 times per hour and breath stoppage was up to nearly 30 seconds at times.

    I am also diabetic, so between the apnea and getting up to go pee, I was getting next to no good sleep.

    Long range, apnea can cause considerable heart damage and loss of oxygen absorption.

    Good luck with your test. You may even get a few laughs out of being wired up like a test dummy.
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    Oct 03, 2012 11:06 PM GMT
    You are very young and by your photos you do not seem to be overweight. Do not discount that your airway could be quite small due to a skeletal malocclusion. Have you ever had braces? Were you a class 2?

    Also, ive heard many doctors say not to take sedatives or alcohol before bedtime if you have sleep apnea as this causes the airway (which is made of muscle) to relax and collapse while you sleep which keeps oxygen from getting to your lungs and thus causing hypopneas.

    It wouldnt hurt to see an orthodontist and get a cephalometric xray done to measure your airway diameter.
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    Oct 03, 2012 11:31 PM GMT
    dcblue saidYou are very young and by your photos you do not seem to be overweight. Do not discount that your airway could be quite small due to a skeletal malocclusion. Have you ever had braces? Were you a class 2?

    Also, ive heard many doctors say not to take sedatives or alcohol before bedtime if you have sleep apnea as this causes the airway (which is made of muscle) to relax and collapse while you sleep which keeps oxygen from getting to your lungs and thus causing hypopneas.

    It wouldnt hurt to see an orthodontist and get a cephalometric xray done to measure your airway diameter.


    I did have braces when I was younger for about 2 or 3 years...

    At lot of people tell me that I don't look overweight, but I'm only about 5'9" and I weight approximately 225 pounds. So I can definitely afford to lose some weight. I've been struggling to do so for a long time, because I always feel tired. I can motivate myself mentally, but not physically. My body is just always ready to fall asleep.
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    Oct 03, 2012 11:52 PM GMT
    Oh ok...I only ask because in younger, healthy weight people with sleep apnea it is usually the tongue obstructing the airway which is caused by a class 2 malocclusion/retruded mandible.

    I would see both an ENT and orthodontist if I were you and get a sleep study done. If you have insurance make sure it will cover it but go either way. This is clearly affecting your quality of life and WILL cause severe health problems if left untreated.
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    Oct 03, 2012 11:58 PM GMT
    No, thank you; but I will use an endotracheal tube in case of an emergency.

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    Oct 04, 2012 12:05 AM GMT
    If it is sleep apnea, and you're recommended a CPAP machine, keep in mind that there is an alternative in the form of a dental device that shifts your lower jaw outward in order to open your breathing passage. I've had it for a while (only mild apnea), but does the trick. Everyone is different, though, so check out what's right for you through the sleep clinic.

    The dental device is usually offered through dentists. Here's an example of a company offering it: somnomed.com. Note that there are cheap over-the-counter versions, but you really want one that is customized for you (they aren't cheap, but might be similar in cost to a CPAP machine.
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    Oct 04, 2012 12:31 AM GMT
    dcblue saidOh ok...I only ask because in younger, healthy weight people with sleep apnea it is usually the tongue obstructing the airway which is caused by a class 2 malocclusion/retruded mandible.

    I would see both an ENT and orthodontist if I were you and get a sleep study done. If you have insurance make sure it will cover it but go either way. This is clearly affecting your quality of life and WILL cause severe health problems if left untreated.


    Going for a sleep study tonight. icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 04, 2012 1:19 AM GMT
    I've had a few sleep studies, I use both an oral appliance and a CPAP machine, and it helps a lot but doesn't eliminate the fatigue. They both take time getting used to. Many people give up on the treatments, but as stated above, it's necessary for your long term health. One dr. told me that the best rest is achieved by sleeping on your right side, leaning slightly forward. It's probably a good idea to get into that habit if you can. Good luck.icon_smile.gif
  • booboolv

    Posts: 203

    Oct 04, 2012 1:57 AM GMT
    Sounds like sleep apnea to me. I also have apnea. My insurance won't cover the tests or the CPAP machine. I have been given one from my brother, but haven't tried to use it yet. I will have to make my own adjustments on a trial and error basis. Good luck to you and keep us posted on how it all goes!
  • waccamatt

    Posts: 1918

    Oct 04, 2012 2:21 AM GMT
    I have sleep apnea and have a cpap machine that I don't use because I couldn't sleep with it. Losing weight helped a lot with making it less severe and I rarely wake up during the night any more.
  • bradsmith

    Posts: 175

    Oct 04, 2012 2:28 AM GMT
    Do a sleep study, it's the only way to truly determine what's going on. I did one and had 2 more "occurrences" than "normal" (episodes of not breathing) over the night...so mild sleep apnea I guess. I've tried many different devices to keep my airway open: CPAP (always ripped it off by midnight), nose strips, throat spray, and a sort of jaw harness that went over my head...none of them really helped.

    Finally found a mouthpiece that mimics the Snoreguard one advertised, my dentist made if for $300...basically keeps my lower jaw thrusted forward and my airway open. Stopped my snoring for the most part and I never wake up choking or not breathing...my experience! Good luck!
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    Oct 06, 2012 12:47 AM GMT
    Fuck the gym. Weight loss is most effective with proper nutrition.

    Once your body is getting the right nutrients, your energy levels will increase, then you'll be more likely to go to the gym (or maybe even start slow with a home regime).
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    Oct 06, 2012 1:14 AM GMT
    The sleep test is the first step, then after you have the results and the doctor's
    recommendations, talk to him about weight loss. I think 5'9" 225 lbs is heavy, but that depends on a few factors.

    Whatever happens, keep us posted, and we wish you the best as you deal with this matter.