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My Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea? Sleep Apnea is when you stop breathing while you are asleep. Your body will drift in and out of deep sleep to start breathing again. This can be accompanied with snoring or not. Sometimes when a person stops breathing they make a loud gasp and resume breathing. There are types of sleep apnea one is called obstructive sleep apnea. This one is where your throat or airway has collapsed or is blocked. This is what causes you to stop breathing or shallow breathing. I read when you have this one it is like trying to breath through a wet soggy straw. This one is the most common. The other one is central sleep apnea. Your brain does not send the correct signals to your breathing muscles. You make no effort to breath. The kicker is the latter can occur with obstructive sleep apnea. That is all I will give of a detailed clinical description of what sleep apnea is. You can easily find more information from medical sites on the web by googling what is sleep apnea. The purpose of me relaying what I've gone through indicating this as a real person sharing a real story that maybe someone can relate to and get help as I have. Sleep apnea is a common serious condition that if it goes untreated can result in death from the heath related issues that arise from it.

As many of us have, I've gained weight as I have grown older. Especially after my last son graduated from college and stayed on in DC to pursue his field of studies forging his career path. I did not have the quarterly trips to DC anymore, sadly I haven't taken a real trip anywhere since.  I'll have to change that.  I'm less physically active. Several years ago I was told that I snore I took a sleep test the results were negative no sleep apnea displayed.  I did not give it much thought.  I'd say two years after I entered in to menopause I gained weight. I began to feel tired more and more.  I credited to menopause and figured when I and through it my energy level will return.  It didn't I only became more tired. Recently my husband told me my snoring now scares him.  He said it sounds like I am tearing my insides out!  I went back to my doctor told him exactly what my husband told me.  Now people who have sleep apnea do not know that the have it. Also Sleep Apnea occours more often with men than women.  If you do not have anyone to tell you that you snore you won't know that you do.  If no one sees you stop breathing in your sleep you will never know.  I stop breathing 110 times an hour in my sleep.  I never knew.  I snore profoundly I was totally unaware.  One of the major causes of sleep apnea is being over weight hence my goal to lose weight track my progress on my page My Big Lose click on the link: 

When the sleep pulmonary doctor completed the check up I reminded him that I had taken a sleep test previously and tested negative. He said he'll order different machinery for this test. From his observations he stated that my airway passage is so small to his visual conclusion I more than likely had sleep apnea. Now up to this point for the past two years I woke up tired. I put it all on my job it has become more stressful. I figured if I lose weight I'd feel better. I bought a juicer to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in my daily diet in the form of juice. I have been struggling for 2 years to lose weight and I have not had any success. Here is the build up of my symptoms. I did not feel just tired when I woke up. My chest hurt, I felt like I had been in a fight all night long. Like I had been run over by a truck. I started having leg cramps more often at night when I try to go to sleep. My heart would pound like I had been running when I lay down to go to sleep. I would become out of breath during the day for no apparent reason. As I fall asleep about 3 or 4 times a week, just when I doze off my legs would jerk simultaneously waking me up. Then I would have a hard time going back to sleep. It takes me about 30 minutes to go to sleep. The next morning I wake up with a head ache. My throat is sore. My head will ache periodically through out the day. Now the bottom of my feet hurt when I stand on the carpet from a sitting position. My other general practitioner said I had bone spurs. In my research I read that when you are not getting enough oxygen in your system like I wasn't soft tissue damage can occur.

Oxygen Machines

There are the machines that have been prescribed for me to use so far with my Sleep Apnea. The First night I used the oxygen I had to use a pulse meter to measure my oxygen blood level while using the oxygen condenser.  With that I was issued a portable oxygen tank to uses if we have a power outage. Lastly I had to order a portable oxygen condenser for travel.  This first picture is the Pulse meter.









This second picture is the Oxygen condenser.










The next picture is the one you see people who have to use oxygen 24 hours carrying with them.  This machine has a 4 hour supply in case of a power outage.

This last machine is the portable machine used for travel.  I take it with me plug in where ever I check in to sleep on my trip. 

I used this machine when I flew to Atlanta GA.  I had to take it as a carry on piece. The Airport personnel at Metro Airport were familiar with this machine all except one employee who had never seen this machine.  He had someone assisting him who immediately knew this is a portable oxygen machine. The machine has wheels which made it easy to take with me going through the airport. For me it was kinda heavy to lift to get onto the airplane, I managed it though.  I believe it weighs about 65 pounds.

My final and last machine I have to use to get better or if I don't lose weight use for the rest of my life.

I've been using it every night.  I'm loking forward to feeling better.



May 31, 2010

I have been using the CPAP (continous positive airway pressure) machine every night since I received it.  Some nights I want to rip it off my face but I don't.  It's like I cannot get it adjusted on my face correctly.   I have tried taking a nap without it.  I usually either wake myself up when I start to snore or I stop breathing.  I know when I wake up because I stop breathing.  I gasp for air and that reflex action wakes me up.  It is a wierd feeling to wake up by gasping for air.  It is as if you are under water, drowing and you are swimming to get to the surface.  Once you come to the surface you take a gasping breath, . . air!   I take no ownership of this machine.  It is visiting me temporarily.   I do not want to have to use it for the rest of my life.  It is an alien to me so this machine I'm using, I have named it mars (most awful restraint system).   I look like an alien with it on. 

I will admit I have been using the CPAP machine for 8 months I do feel so much better.  I do not leave home without it.  My results form the sleep test was that I stop breathing 110 times per hour.  When I was fitted  and tested for the CPAP machine my sleep apenea was eliminated by 97%.  That is like not having sleep apnea at all.  I no longer wake up with head aches.  Now that I am sleeping better I am able to exercise and I am starting to lose weight.  See my big weight loss page 

My Check up after I got the CPAP

My doctor went over my sleep tests before the CPAP and with the CPAP machine.   As I stated before, well actually I went back an corrected It the numbers in the above paragraph.  I Stopped breathing 110 times a hour in deep sleep and I never knew I stop breathing. Before my doctor ordered the oxygen therapy my oxygen level was 70.  Normal is 90 so I had oxygen therapy only for sleeping, for three months.  Then I was switched to the CPAP machine. The results of my sleep test was 97% with the CPAP machine as if I did not have sleep apnea.   My doctor said you cannot get any better than that.  His parting instructions for me after my office visit were: "Lose some weight."