Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Sleep Apnea......"

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".
There are three forms of sleep apnea: central (CSA), obstructive (OSA), and complex or mixed sleep apnea. In CSA, breathing is interrupted by a lack of respiratory effort; in OSA, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow despite respiratory effort, and snoring is common.
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!   ;)


Bobbin Doctor said...

Welcome to the club!
I got my CPAP nearly three years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. It really changed my life for the better - I was so tired that I would fall asleep during meetings at work or just sitting at my desk.

Most people adjust quite quickly to wearing the headgear. It won't be long and you will be feeling refreshed and full of energy when you wake up in the morning.

Steve aka "Bobbin Doctor"

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

Ohh I went and spent a night "sleeping with my doctor" too. Sadly, it was not apnea, but was lung damage spasms that was waking me up. But it was fun to do it! LOL

My son-in-law was just diagnosed too, and is hoping the will help alter his day-time sleepiness from his sleep deprivation.

Thanks for your informative post, and no, you don't look like an elephant, monster or alien!

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

Molly Bee said...

I sure wish you hadn't advertised that there is a 'strap to keep one's mouth closed' available out there. I anticipate receiving several as 'gifts' soon! LOL

Glad you got diagnosed and the proper treatment! Apnea is nothing to mess around with!

dc said...

Just got back from vacation, sleeping in the same room with my husband. (we have had seperate rooms for several years now because I am a restless sleeper, HA, thats what I told him) He snores so loud! but its his apnea that bothers me the most and I have tried to get him to get tested. He has refused cause he knows he will need the "mask" Good to hear that it isn't so bad. Maybe I can work on him again! Thanks for sharing.

Gillean said...

Glad you are able to get the sleep apnea issue under control. I have dealt with it for a number of years and you will feel so much better once you get used to everything!


Website with information on CPAP Masks