Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ten things I know about the CPAP mask

After years of having sleep apnea and writing a blog on sleep apnea I have learned quite a bit about the subject. One area of sleep apnea is particularly interesting and that is about how the CPAP works for some folks and not for others. In addition there are many aspects of the CPAP machine such as why it doesn’t work for everybody, side effects caused by using the CPAP machine and what is gained and lost from sleeping with it on your face all night.
Ten  things I know about the CPAP mask...
  1. My first post about my initial encounter with the CPAP machine at a sleep study. It wasn’t a good experience.
  2. One of the best devices that now come along with the CPAP machine is a humidifier. The air that blows through the hose tends to become dry which in turn dries out your mouth. The humidifier helps with that.
  3. Having a beard and trying to use the CPAP machine isn’t a good idea. The beard can cause leakage which is definitely something you don’t want.
  4. Make sure to clean your CPAP machine if you are able to use it. Germs can build up without proper cleaning.
  5. You lose a lot by not being able to sleep. Can you regain any of it by using a CPAP.
  6. Wearing a mask at night can be uncomfortable especially if it is during the summer when it is hot.
  7. It is wise to learn as much as possible about the CPAP machine before buying it.
  8. There are other things that can help with your sleep apnea besides using a CPAP.
  9. What is a hybrid CPAP mask? A combination of the best features of all makes of the mask.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ambien and sleep apnea

Sleeping pills and sleep apnea, is this a good idea? I know that in the past I have written on more than one occasion that it isn’t something that is recommended. The research on this subject is that sleeping pills don’t help those who have sleep apnea and those that aren’t being treated for it. In other words no CPAP machine, oral devices or anything else that cuts back on your apnea. (Of course if you have found that the CPAP works for you than that is probable a different story) I have sleep apnea and I don’t have use a CPAP however I had a doctor prescribe Ambien for me.
You are probably thinking that I didn’t tell the doctor that I had sleep apnea, but I made it clear that not only did I have sleep apnea but I also told her that I didn’t use the CPAP either. That didn’t seem to deter her from writing a prescription for it. Although she did give me a word of caution about possible side effects of this medication and she also encouraged me to start off with a half of pill right before I went to bed.
When I told my wife about getting a prescription of Ambien she had a story to tell me of her own experience on the medication. It wasn’t good. The first time that she took the Ambien put her in such a daze that she didn’t even remember driving to work that day!
Luckily I didn’t have that type of experience but the medication really wasn’t  very helpful for me. Sure I feel asleep fast but the next morning I felt even more tired than usual. I suspect that the pill made my sleep apnea to increase in intensity. Needless to say I haven’t been taking the medication anymore.
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Compression socks and sleep apnea

It always amazes me the different things that help with sleep apnea. Whether it is throat exercises or playing the instrument didgeridoo there are many ways that some folks claim helps sleep apnea. I am not saying they don’t help but you heard a lot about cures and whether they work. I read a recent article about another way to reduce sleep apnea and that is with compression socks.
Before I even read the article from medpagetoday I sort of saw where they were going with this. I had written other posts about fluid in the legs and its connection to sleep apnea. Well the article states that compression socks help prevent the accumulation of fluids in the legs during the day. The problem with this is at night the fluid shifts upward into the neck area which in turn causes sleep apnea. So the scientists doing this test imagined that there should be some secondary effect on people with sleep apnea. And they were right.
According to the article 36% of those tested had an improvement on the number of apnea occurrences of course that may not seem like a lot but every small gain should be an encouragement. Another point that they made was that there hasn’t been any long term study of sleep apnea patients wearing compression socks. That would certainly shed a little more light on whether this is effective.
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Living with Sleep Apnea

If you do have sleep apnea do you remember what it was like not to have sleep apnea? The ability of waking up feeling like you had a great night’s sleep and feeling refreshed with a lot of energy to spare. It is hard for me to remember that since sleep apnea has haunted me for so many years that I can’t remember what a good night’s sleep is or was. It’s strange but you get used to waking up so many times to start breathing again because that is what obstructive sleep apnea does to you. Living with sleep apnea unfortunately does more than deprive you of rest; it also leads to serious health issues.
Not breathing continuously interrupts the flow of oxygen into the lungs, which is what sleep apnea does. This can also lead to other problems like high blood pressure and possible heart failure. Usually but not in every case those who have sleep apnea also have a problem with their weight, which further exacerbates the problems with your heart. While losing weight is suggested it isn’t always easy especially if you don’t have energy due to your lack of sleep. And that can be a real problem not just an excuse.
After years of losing sleep your body builds up quite a sleep debt. Does your body ever make up for that debt? Some folks say that you can but others aren’t so sure. Either way it is always a good idea to find some way of combating this sleep problem.
If you do think that you have sleep apnea make sure to go to your doctor or an ENT to set up a sleep study which will prove one way or the other if you sleep apnea. If you do find that you have it talk to your doctor about your options for correcting this problem, the last decade or so there have been a lot of research done on sleep apnea so the chance of finding a cure is a lot better now than ever before.
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