Yep, I've got sleep apnea. For those who are not familiar with sleep apnea, here is an explanation.
[Sleep apnoea (or sleep apnea in American English) is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Similarly, each abnormally low breathing event is called a hypopnea. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or "sleep study".
Regardless of type, an individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Sleep apnea is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of its effects on the body (sequelae). Symptoms may be present for years (or even decades) without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance.]
I chose to do a sleep test because my snoring had become as loud as, in Don's words "A jet engine during take off". He was supported in his description by my sleep technician, Brad, when he told me he had to turn down the volume of my throat mic during the test. The really good news is after my "hook up" with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine during the test, my snoring DISAPPEARED! But yes, there were those nasty little incidences of stopping breathing, too, so I am certainly happy that the snoring forced me to go in for the test. Left untreated, sleep apnea can damage the heart and/or lungs (thank you Jonathan for making me aware of these facts).
I had my sleep test on Monday, April 16, and was set up with my own machine and head gear this past Tuesday morning. I've been sleeping with it now for 2 nights. I am aware of waking up many more times during the night than I remember doing prior to using the machine, but am sure that is only due to my not being used to wearing the head gear. I'm sure I will be sleeping more soundly as I get used to it and it has become routine.
The machine comes in a very nice traveling bag.
It has a space for everything. The flap is where the long air hose is stored.
Inside, there are compartments for both sections of the machine (humidifier and computer), plus another for the head gear accessories, and a place for instructions, etc.
The machine fits nicely on the small nightstand next to my bed, and how handy is it that the hose can hang from the wardrobes drawer knobs? ;) (gotta look for silver linings anywhere possible, eh?)
This is the computer control screen. The computer is set with all the info needed for me to use at home, but there are a few things I can easily change if needed for comfort. Right now, the humidity temperature that blows through the hose (and into my nose) is set at 73 degrees. If I find that it is not comfortable for me, I can change it to as low as 65 degrees or as high as 80 degrees.
I certainly wouldn't post this "attractive" photo of me if I didn't think it would help people to understand how the head gear is worn. There are quite a few types available, but this one, "nose pillows", felt the best to me. The blue chin strap is to help keep my mouth shut while sleeping. I found out from the test that I tend to breath through my mouth while sleeping, rather than through my nose, which is best.
There you have it....the good, the bad, and the ugly. Although not one for medical tests, etc., I certainly would urge anyone who thinks there could be a chance of having sleep apnea, to go and get tested. I certainly did not think I had any symptoms of the disorder, except snoring, only to find out I really did have a couple more that could prove to be detrimental to my health over time.
Sleep well! ;)