Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sleep Apnea and room temperature

Whether it is in the middle of summer or the dead of winter I sleep better in a cold room. Well, I sleep as well as someone with sleep apnea can. Does the room temperature matter when you have sleep apnea?

It seems that a lot of people say that a cold room is better for sleeping than a warm room and that makes sense. In the middle of summer our air conditioning is cranked up and blowing cold air all night (not good for keeping the electric bill down). According to a study the ideal temperature for sleeping is in the 60’s. Above or below this range and it becomes uncomfortable.

There must be something to this because at each sleep study that I went too the room was always very cool, to the point of being cold. I definitely needed a blanket to sleep.

The problem that I have that is tied to sleep apnea is that I sleep with my mouth open. If the air is cool from the window being open or I have a fan blowing on me I will wake up with a sore throat or at least with a raspy throat. I have to be careful not to have too much air blowing on me.

Of course if you have a cpap mask (and you have learned to live with) the room temperature shouldn’t be an issue for you. Most cpap machines have humidifier so if you are an open mouth sleeper your throat won’t become dry. So that would be a definite advantage of being able to use a cpap.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sleep apnea and having a stroke

Somehow you can manage to live your life without the proper rest because of sleep apnea. You take naps whenever you can and you drink caffeinated drinks till they come out your ears. You somehow manage to live without enough rest. But can you manage life if you have a stroke that was caused by sleep apnea?

A stroke is when blood clots block vessels or arteries which in turn stops blood flowing to the brain. A stroke can also occur when a blood vessel breaks. This sometimes called a brain attack because cells in the brain will begin to die.

The sinister part of having a stroke is the effect upon the body. Where the blockage or breaking of the cell occurs, some brain function is affected. You probably know of someone who had a stroke who slurs their words loses the ability to move one of their arms or legs. Memory can also be damaged from a stroke.

A common misconception is that strokes and heart attacks are one and the same thing. A heart attack deals with heart damage while a stroke involves the brain.

What is the connection between sleep apnea and strokes?

A study that had been done shows that sleep apnea patients have 3 to 4 more times likely to have a stroke that those who didn’t. Sleep apnea is also associated with high blood pressure and diabetes which are also risk factors for having a stroke.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sleep apnea and nocturnal leg cramps

Ever since I was young I had problems with cramps in my legs and toes while I was sleeping. They would be so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I would have to wait in agony till the muscles relaxed. Even today I still have those problems. I really have to wonder if sleep apnea has any thing to do with this.

What is Peripheral nerve damage?

Peripheral nerve damage is when there is an interruption in the messages that go from your peripheral nerves and your brain and spinal cord. There are over a 100 different types of peripheral nerve disorders. The symptoms could be such things as numbness, pain, muscle weakness and a burning sensation.

According to this article there might be a connection between peripheral nerve damage and sleep apnea. Diabetes is a common cause of peripheral neuropathies.

Just a clarification, nocturnal leg cramps is different from Restless leg syndrome. RLS may involve the upper arm and the feet, whereas leg cramps are mostly found in the calves and upper legs. With leg cramps the pain is excruciating at first and can be relieved by working the muscles and by pressing down on the feet. In my case it seems to help more when I massage the muscles. RLS isn’t suddenly painful but of course it is very tiring. And RLS can occur all night whereas leg cramps are over after a few minutes.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sleep apnea and prostate problems

I am over fifty years old so I try to get a physical every year. Of course the part that I dread is having my prostate checked. I especially needed it checked because I was getting up in the middle of night to go to the bathroom 3 or 4 times each evening. If you combine that with waking up constantly with sleep apnea, it all gets rather annoying.

In a previous post I wrote about something called Nocturia, which is when you wake up to urinate. I really thought that was what I had because of the many times that I go to the bathroom at night. Another reason was it is associated with sleep apnea, which I have.

Just for clarification Enuresis is the term for bedwetting.

I talked to my doctor about it and he checked my prostate and it had gotten bigger. This really isn’t surprising because after 40 most men’s prostates get larger and it is really common for men over 60. For more information go to

The Doctor also did blood work to make sure there wasn’t any cancer and there wasn’t. He put me on a medication to see if that would help eliminate the trips to the bathroom during the night. I hope so.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sleep apnea and dementia

It is bad enough that sleep apnea robs you of your sleep and makes your life more miserable than you could ever imagine but the thought of it causing dementia is really maddening.

Certainly the worse result of sleep apnea is the damage that it does to your heart by not allowing the oxygen to move freely inside you. And diabetes, gout, dizziness, depression, high blood pressure can also be caused by sleep apnea and they are serious problems also. Dementia is something that I didn’t connect with sleep apnea. But it seems that brain functions can be affected by sleep apnea too. I am sure that the lack of oxygen to the brain can cause many problems.

A study was done with nursing home residents where there seemed to be a connection between Obstructive sleep apnea and dementia. Of course the question that I have is does this mean that long term sleep apnea patients are heading toward dementia. And what if you are cured of your sleep apnea (cpap, surgery) after suffering with it for many years is it too late to reverse the damage done?

Something else to consider is that dementia itself has been known to be the cause of sleep problems such as waking in the middle of the night and not being able to fall asleep.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sleep Apnea and Noise

There are many reasons why I couldn’t use the cpap mask and machine. Not only was the fit uncomfortable and the air pushing down my throat unnatural, there was another problem. Its one problem that a lot of people have with all the types of continuous airway machines and that is the noise.

If you are a light sleeper like me even the slightest sound can keep you up. I am forever tightening faucets so the sound of dripping water doesn’t keep me up. And dogs barking in the neighborhood at all hours of the night is another one that annoys me to no end.

The hearing in my left ear is almost shot so it is actually sort of a blessing in an odd way because it cuts down on the noise that I hear at night

The sound that comes from the cpap machine, at least the ones that I had, was very annoying and probably the worst sound was when there was a leak in the mask. I know that the manufacturers of cpap and bipap machines now days are very cognizant of this problem and they are making the machines have less of a roaring sound and more of a hum like a sound machine.

I would love to hear about other’s personal experiences with the sound of the cpap machines.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why are men diagnosed with sleep apnea more than women?

It seems that when you think about who gets sleep apnea the most it is usually men. I know when I went to my many sleep studies there were mostly men there. But I know that women have Obstructive Sleep Apnea also. Is there a difference in women’s sleep apnea versus men’s sleep apnea?

The common causes of sleep apnea are well known: being overweight, having a round face, a narrow airway in the mouth, an enlarged tongue among other things. Don’t women have all those problems the same as men? Of course they do so why do people still consider sleep apnea primarily a man’s problem.

One reason could be that the number of women who have sleep apnea isn’t as great as men are because they don’t seek help or they perceive sleep apnea as problem mostly for men. This would be a dangerous assumption considering the serious risks involved with sleep apnea such as heart disease, diabetes, depression and high blood pressure.

Another reason could be that women might not necessarily want to complain about snoring or they may think that there is restlessness is due to other factors such as illness or stress.

Everyone should be encouraged to seek help if they feel they have any problem dealing with their sleep. An overnight sleep study can easily determine whether one has sleep apnea or not.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sleep Apnea and Qnexa

Some medications and sleep apnea don’t mix. Sleeping pills are definitely a no-no because of how it relaxes the muscles inside your throat blocking your airway. But there is an experimental weight loss drug that has been shown to ease the effects of sleep apnea, the medication is QNEXA.

Being overweight or obese is common with people who suffer from sleep apnea. The excess weight especially around the neck and the excess tissue blocks the airway causing the airway to be blocked resulting in the interruption of your sleep.

It has also been known that losing weight has been shown to help reduce sleep apnea if not stop it completely. Unfortunately when you have sleep apnea you usually don’t have the energy to exercise which is vital to losing weight.

Qnexa is an anti-obesity drug manufactured by Vivus, Inc. A 28 week study was done on 45 obese sleep apnea patients in 69% of the participants sleep apnea was reduced due to weight loss and a greater concentration of oxygen.

For more information go to

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