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My Experience with Sleep Apnea

Around 8 years ago I began snoring super loud and constant! My now ex-husband was so bothered by it that he started sleeping on the couch. We separated over 6 years ago. My mother came for a visit and being that we lived in a small apartment now; she had to share my bed with me.

She noticed that I kept falling asleep even when we were in conversation during the day. If I sat down, I would fall asleep within seconds and sometimes in mid-thought or sentence. I was cranky and disinterested in life. I was so tired. My energy level was so low that I had no desire to do anything; I spent my time sitting and sleeping off and on. I always felt so heavy and sometimes it took everything I had to get up and pick up the kids from school. So after one night of her sharing my bed and listening to me breathe… in the morning she was exhausted as she had lay awake all night listening to me breathe and then stop breathing, over and over. She said that I had stopped breathing more times than she could count. So I made an appointment with the doctor and my mom refused to go home. She was afraid that I would die in my sleep and that my kids would find me. That tells you how bad it was.

My Experience with Sleep Apnea

So I got to the doctor, who tells me to take this machine home; you put it on your finger and it reads the oxygen level of your blood while you sleep. So I slept with that one night and returned it the next. Later that day the nurse at the doctor’s office called me and said they needed to get me into the hospital to have a formal test done right away. She said my oxygen level got down as low as 24 and that meant I was literally dying in my sleep. Not what I wanted to hear. Within a week I had an appt to go to the hospital for a full sleep study. They wired me up at every point and I went to sleep. In a couple hours the nurse came in and put a sleep apnea mask on me. He said, “I have seen enough”. I slept for five more hours and it was great. When he woke me he said, “You are the T Rex of snorers and you will definitely benefit from a sleep machine”. I just said “I know”. I got a prescription from my doctor the next day to go get a sleep apnea machine.

The nurse said I needed a BiPAP machine. So I went on a hunt for someone that was contracted with my insurer and got the machine. It was set at 10 for constant pressure and 17 for when I take a breath. I was told the highest setting was 20. Yikes!

I have had a lifelong struggle with depression, and I thought my low energy was just depression as I had just separated from my husband and was very down. My doctor told me with the machine allowing me to breathe, I will now rest and a lot of things would change in my life. It took months of using the machine every time I slept, even a nap during the day, to get somewhat rested. I tell you, the doctor was right. I started to do more; clean more, go more places and my depression improved. I started having an interest in life. I was healthier all the way round. My life now is totally different than it has ever been. I have energy and a zest for life. I use that machine every night and every nap no matter what.

The following information was kindly provided by Marc at Apnea Treatment Guide

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms appear only during sleep, making it impossible for those suffering from the condition to be fully aware of the disorder. The most common signs people should be aware of include excessive sleepiness during the day and repeated shortness of breath while sleeping. Your bed partner may be the first one to notice these apnea indicators.

The sleep apnea disorder may also have associated features which helps people ascertain if they have the condition or not. Some of these sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • loud snoring

  • depression

  • heartburn

  • high blood pressure

  • irritability

  • dry mouth after waking up

  • having trouble concentrating or remembering

  • in some cases, insomnia

  • morning or night headaches

  • unexpected gain in weight

 

Sleep apnea symptoms differ from person to person, and some patients even suffer from multiple of these signs. To help diagnose the severity of the said sleep disorder, a sleep apnea test can be taken.

Upon acknowledging these apnea symptoms, it is essential to consult a physician and go through said test.

A sleep apnea test, called polysomnography, is often the most commonly used medical assessment to diagnose this sleep disorder. Sleep apnea symptoms can be diagnosed with two kinds of polysomnograms:

  • For snoring, gasping, and the likes, a test can be done overnight with an overnight polysomnography which includes examining the brain waves, muscle tension, the movement of the eyes, breathing, blood’s oxygen level as well as audio monitoring.

  • The second type of sleep apnea test using polysomnography test is a home monitoring test. You will be hooked up to the entire electrode by a professional Sleep Technologist, who then briefs you on recording your sleep with a computerized polysomnograph. This can be taken home and returned in the morning. This sleep apnea test is fortunately covered with insurance.

 

Here’s a shocking statistic for you – according to the National Institute of Health, up to 90% of Americans who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) don’t know they have it. The Institute estimates that 12 million Americans have OSA and many are completely unaware of it.

If you are already experiencing some of the sleep apnea symptoms, your next step is to get a test for apnea.

The 5 Most Common Sleep Apnea Causes

There are a lot of factors that are behind the sleeping condition. Some are beyond our control, and some are of our own doing. In any case, regardless of physical deformities or bad habits, the proper course of action must be taken.

Here are those sleep apnea causes:

1. Enlarged Adenoids Or Pharyngeal Tonsils

  • An adenoid is an accumulation of lymphoid tissue found where the nose and mouth are joined.

  • The enlargement of the adenoids can cause an obstruction of the airway.

  • To remove this blockage, surgery is required.

  • The surgical removal of this mass is called an andenoidectomy.

 

2. Distinct Physical Characteristics

  • These characteristics include a deviated septum, a receding chin, distinctive head shape, distinctive neck shape, and an enlarged tongue.

  • These physical features can cause an obstruction of the airway.

  • To remove the obstruction caused by these physical features, corrective surgery may be required.

 

3. Nasal Blockage Or Congestion

  • Colds, allergies, and sinusitis are among the sleep apnea cause.

  • Another common factor behind the sleeping condition is smoking, which causes nasal congestion.

  • To avoid the condition, keeping in tip top shape and kicking the habit is required.

 

4. Excess Relaxation Of The Tongue And Throat Muscles

  • Factors behind this are age, sedatives, and alcohol.

  • If age is the factor, keeping in shape is required.

  • If substance abuse is the factor, quitting the use of these substances is required.

 

5. Obesity

  • 50% of people who have sleep apnea are obese.

  • Obesity causes soft and fatty tissue to build up around the airways, causing an obstruction.

  • Watching your weight, what you eat, and ample exercise will eliminate obesity, the sleeping condition, and the many diseases that come with being overweight.

Support

If you have any questions, or would like to seek further advice, please feel free to get in touch.

 

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