Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Do you have a face for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is caused by the blockage of the airway in the throat. An enlarged tongue, tonsils and loose soft palate tissue are the usual suspects causing sleep apnea. There are also other reasons why this happens and the structure of your face is one of them.

The last ENT that I went to told me that the structure of my face (I have a round face) lends itself to sleep apnea. My father also had the same shape of face, very round and full even though he wasn’t overweight. As I have written before I believe that sleep apnea was a major contribution to his heart disease and subsequent death.

I probably could lose some weight but I don’t think that weight loss alone would eliminate my sleep apnea. My ENT said that it was either to make the cpap mask work or the surgery where the jaw is moved forward and screws are placed in the jaw to relieve my sleep apnea. Weight loss by itself wouldn’t be enough.

Is anyone else in a similar situation?

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed



  1. Before you do surgery, try a CPAP mask. I have one, and they really help.

    I’ve been a snorer for a long time. As I got older, my snoring has got more frequent and louder. I also noticed I was tired a lot and liked to take naps during the day. I was overweight. People complained about my snoring and I did not want to sleep in the same room with other people for fear of keeping them awake.

    Finally, I asked my doctor about the problem. He sent me home with a machine to check my breathing and pulse while I slept. The results really shocked me! The doc said my airway was closing off up to 70 times each hour, and that I stopped breathing for as long as one full minute at a time! I had severe apnea. He strongly recommended I start using the CPAP machine, since I was risking damage to my heart due to lack of oxygen.

    I had read about CPAP machines before and always thought I would never be able to sleep with one, since I am a little claustrophobic. Surprisingly, it only took me a few minutes to get used to, and I was able to start sleeping comfortably right away.

    The mask part is just a small nose manifold that covers the nostrils to blow in air. That keeps the throat inflated like a balloon, preventing throat closures and snoring. One problem is the straps over the head that keep the nose piece in place. They can be a little annoying at first, and if you change sleeping positions at night, it is possible for these straps to move, causing the nose piece to slip off.

    I have been using a Dreamhelmet (a combination sleep mask sound-muffling pillow) for years now, to sleep at night and for napping during the day. I always find it hard to sleep without the Dreamhelmet, and was afraid I would not be able to use it with the CPAP mask, but I was wrong about that too.

    After using the CPAP machine and mask for a short while, I tried wearing the Dreamhelmet over the CPAP mask, covering up the straps – voila, it worked like a charm! I found that the Dreamhelmet actually helps keep the straps in place when I change positions, so now I can sleep all night in comfort, not being bothered by sound, light, or changing positions. The CPAP combined with the Dreamhelmet are the perfect sleeping combo for me.

    Now I don’t snore, I wake up rested, and I have energy that lasts all day long. I’m still overweight, but I don’t feel so run down all the time or feel like I need an afternoon nap, but I still carry an extra Dreamhelmet in the car with me just in case I do need a nap.

  2. I hadn't ever heard of a dreamhelmet before I'll have to look into it
    thanks for the info