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Sleep Apnea...CPAP machines


foxy
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Recently a doctor I saw said I need to use one. I've looked into them and have refused. I'm going to try a dental appliance which he said is less effective. Has anyone here had any experience with a CPAP machine? I know two people who stopped after two months saying they were impossible to use. They look pretty horrible to me. I have none of the side effects of sleep apnea, falling asleep during the day, etc but my sleep test shows I have sleep apnea. Sleep partners have never observed me stop breathing although I do snore pretty loudly.

 

I'm not looking for medical advice, just personal experiences. Feel free to send me a personal message rather than responding here if you prefer. Thanks.

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A very good friend of mine claims this device not only saved his life but his realationship with his SO. He was falling asleep during the day at the slighest provocation. He got off of it after using it for years by losing around 100 pounds.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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How coincidental! Just yesterday the doc called with the results of my sleep study on Sunday. He said I was having 6 shallow breathings per hour (or stopped breathings). Five is the limit. So he wanted me to get the dental appliance, admonishing that the store bought ones were no good. But at least I don't need a CPAP machine.

 

But, googling the subject, sleep apnea is a serious problem. Left unattended, it will get worse. Death is not an unlikely result. So take it seriously. Some surgeries can eliminate the problem as well.

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I was diagnosed three years ago. My cousin had been using a CPAP machine for several years and swore that her energy level had vastly increased after starting with the machine. My insurance paid for the machine and I still have it, although I no longer needed it after about a year. I did feel an increase in my energy level during the day and while it took a week or so to get used to having it on at night, I am glad I had the machine for the time I needed it. I am now sleeping fine without it. I have changed my sleep (head)position as a result of when I used the machine, and I believe that has also allowed me to sleep now without the machine.

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About 10 years ago the doc diagnosed me with sleep apnea. Unfortunately, my insurance at the time would not cover a CPAP machine. In addition, part of my problem was a chronically swollen uvula (due to allergies) that was obstructing my airway. (I'd wake up 2-3 times per week literally chocking on it.)

 

We got the uvula problem under control and that helped a lot. However, I'm considering another sleep test since I still feel there's a problem. My insurance will now cover durable medical equipment and I'd get a CPAP in a micro-minute if the doc recommends it.

 

I have a close friend that uses a CPAP machine and it's really made a huge difference in his life. He even uses it when we travel and go on cruises.

 

I know you didn't ask about the affect of a CPAP on partners, but his CPAP machine doesn't bother me at all. For us it is a non-issue.

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Thanks for the info. My episodes are on the seriously high side..52 per hour. The strange thing is that I feel fine during the day. None of the side effects. I just couldn't think of sleeping, plugged into this gas mask for the rest of my life. It's a depressing thought since I tend to roll around a lot during my sleep and how I would ever be able to travel which is important to me?

 

I've been told that surgery is not really effective. My weight, 168 seems in keeping with my height. I'd gladly drop 20 pounds if it would help. I don't smoke, I hardly drink anymore, my blood pressure is good and my cholesterole (how do you spell that?) is 180. I go to the gym 3 times a week and have a good diet. I'm pissed off!

 

Any more first hand experiences whould be greatly appreciated.

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Guest Wetnwildbear

Changed my quality of life for the better!

 

I recommend the Adam Circuit with the Nasal Pillows for headgear.

 

I am an active sleeper toss/turn/side/back/stomach

 

This type of gear is less intrusive - easy to use in

 

whatever position you sleep.

 

 

Machines are small, portable and quiet

 

I travel with mine all the time.

 

Only downside is cuddling in your sleep with someone - the CPAP

 

vents air out the headgear/mask - so if you are close and personal

 

they get a breeze!

 

Sleep Apnea is Serious - Increases your chance of death

 

dramatically via everything from a car accident to heart attack/stroke

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I can't say enough good about my experience with a CPAP. I had a few friends who highly recommended it, so I think I had a "make it work" positive attitude going into it. I absolutely wouldn't even try to sleep without it.

 

Although my insurance did pay for my CPAP, I decided to spend the $ to buy a second one since I tend to travel a bit. This way I wouldn't have to pack up the one I use at home all the time.

 

However, it has been such a good experience, that I have set up this extra one inconspicuously in an end table next to the couch. I won't even take a power nap without using my CPAP.

 

On a side note ... I had been using the CPAP when I met my partner three years ago and he was totally understanding about my need to use it (even though I look like Hannibal Lecter). A few months after we got together we wound up spending the night somewhere without the CPAP. He didn't get much sleep. Now HE'S the one who makes sure that it goes with us wherever we go.

 

I HIGHLY recommend it.

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>Thanks for the info. My episodes are on the seriously high

>side..52 per hour.

 

My situation was very similar. I clocked in the the 60"s. I had apparently had a problem for some time. The result was that I not only had no energy but I was nodding off while driving (something that had never happened.) I would fall asleep in movies. I could fall asleep almost anywhere. I was so tired. The problem had gone on a long time and I hadn't said anything about it to the doctor. when he finally got wind of the issue, I was booked for an overnight at "sleep camp" and the verdict came back very quickly. I have to say I am thankful for the diagnosis. Using the CPAP changed my life for the better.

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I've been in denial about the whole thing and didn't think I could cope with this CPAP thing. You've made me realize it's not so bad after all. There are far worse things in life.

 

I'm now prepared to give it a try. If others can deal with it so can I. This has helped me a lot. Thank you.

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foxy.....give the damn thing a try, be patient, keep at it for several nights and get used to it.....

 

my mother had a sleep study and came back with about 125 times an hour of stopped breathing, according to the report (?).....she wasn't that bad-seeming as I watched her sleep at times, but that's what they said....

 

she refused to try the bipap machine ordered for even one night.....

 

this was about a year ago....she died very recently, though the cause was not directly related to her sleep issues.....

 

this machine will help you in so many ways - more oxygen in the bloodstream, less pressure on the lungs to supply oxygen to the blood, less pressure on the heart, more energy in the daytime (despite your claim of plenty of energy anyway), overall body health....

 

stick with it and get used to it......so many benefits

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I know this may seem weird but I'm taking the advice from you guys on an escort website more seriously than a doctor in a major NYC hospital. All I can say is you have a better "bedside manner" than he did and that makes some sense when you think about it.

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Sleep Apnea--Explanation of and My Experience of Part 1

 

>I know this may seem weird but I'm taking the advice from you

>guys on an escort website more seriously than a doctor in a

>major NYC hospital. All I can say is you have a better

>"bedside manner" than he did and that makes some

>sense when you think about it.

 

 

I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea since 2003. It's interesting how I realized it. I woke up one Saturday in 2001/2--early about 8 AM. I realized that I didn't have to go into work that day, so I went back to sleep. I woke up 2 or 3 hours later and realized that I didn't feel anymore rested than I had at 8 AM. I also noticed that my mouth was very dry as if it had been open--possibly because of trying to breathe. I then started thinking about the fact that I always felt tired in the morning no matter how much I slept, while I didn't just fall asleep generally at work if I was at a conference or meeting and the lights went out, then I would fall asleep, I had been told I was a loud snorer by my parents--I'm pretty solitary so I never had a bed partner to tell me, and finally 10 years or so before--before sleep apnea was all the rage like it is now, my brother had had a study because of loud snoring and was told he was borderline. So then it dawned on me even without the test--Hey I have sleep apnea.

 

I was about to move in 2001/2, so I didn't get the study until 2003 and started the machine then.

 

I will tell you the unvarnished truth about using the machine--possibly for those who don't know. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. Most people who have obstructive sleep apnea--due to the way their upper airway is shaped and other genetic factors--being overweight can either probably cause alone or just help the process (bodybuiders often have sleep apnea because of how thick and weighty their necks are), the airway collapses when the muscles relax while you sleep).

 

Your brain thinks you are suffocating (you are)--so it sends out a lot of stress hormones like epinephrine and probably cortisol. It also tried to wake you up. You end up usually coming just to the surface of almost being awake--at which point your airway muscles develop more tone and voila--your airway opens up. Since you are no longer suffocating and without ever actually waking up you descend into a deeper level of sleep at which point the muscles collapse and the whole process starts over again (by the way some people have apnea without snoring and some people snore without having apnea). So depending on how bad your apnea is, this entire cycle is repeated all night. The side effects are you never get a good nights sleep in the deeper restorative levels where you lose tone and your airway collapses because you keep keep being brought back into the superficial layers of sleep where the airway tone increases and the airway opens up. Onto part 2

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RE: Sleep Apnea--Explanation of and My Experience of Part 2

 

So what CPAP does is blow air into your airway to open things up. With the airway stented open, you can get more sleep in the deeper restorative levels and your body doesn't thinks it's suffocating anymore so it stops releasing stress hormones.

 

With CPAP there is a constant pressure being blown at your airway either through your nose with nasal pillows or a mask,or both your mouth and nose with a big mask. The pressure is the same when you breathe in and then when you breathe out--you are breathing out in the face of that pressure. What I use is a little different, I have what's called BIPAP. What that is is there is an initial high pressure when you breathe in to open the airway up--then the smart machine is able to sense when I am breathing out and reduces the pressure so that it is easier to exhale. I HAD HEARD BEFORE MY SLEEP STUDY THAT BIPAP WAS A LOT MORE COMFORTABLE---SO I TOLD THE TECHNICIANS BEFORE I WENT TO SLEEP--"You will find I don't tolerate CPAP so please give me BIPAP"--they took the hint and so I never actually used CPAP. Several years later a friend of mine was diagnosed with sleep apnea--she tried CPAP couldn't stand it or get used to it--and found that BIPAP worked much better for her.

 

AS for me and using it, it's been partially successful. I am now not as solitary as I was when I was 1st diagnosed. I very very occasionally now have a bed partner due to the "salubrious" (go ahead look it up) effects of this website. I always tell them beforehand that the machine makes me look like Hannibal Lector but that I don't like kidneys, liver, or fava beans (or chianti for that matter), so they should be safe. You'd be surprised how many tell me that other "clients" have had the same problem--but just in case I always pack ear plugs for possible bed partners. Also I have had 2 different machines--this my second one is the updated version of the 1st one. I hav what's called a VPAP 3 by resmed. This updated model is much, much, much quieter than my original model. It is quieter than most hotel AC or heating units which is an improvement from my 1st machine.

As for me actually using the machine--I can't stand the nasal prongs/pillows. This is the least restrictive type of headgear appliance and many people like it. I wish I did, but the sensation of air blowing in my nostrils, drives me fricking crazy. If you've ever been in an ER and they stick a nasal cannula in your nose to supply you with oxygen--well I find that sensation extremely annoying too.

 

So that means I have to have a facemask. It took me about 2 months of trying around 3 different facemasks before I found one that was most comfortable for me. I have been using the same mask type for 5 years now. You need to change the masks after about 6 months as they get softer and don't make as good a seal.

 

Now for actually using the machine--I won't lie--initially it drove me bananas. But after a month or 2 and finding the right mask, I finally got used to it--now the only problem is I wake up with marks on my face because of the straps to the mask--but they fade throughout the day.

 

As to effects--which is why I say it has been partially effective only--Number 1 it does improve my sleep greatly--I wear it about 90 to 95 % of the time--usually the only times I don't is if I fall asleep on the couch. With the machine I feel much more rested and can actually think better in the mornings. The reason I say only partially effective--there are many reports of people once they are on the machine of losing weight and having resolution of their high blood pressure--this hasn't happened for me.

 

Tricks to getting used to the machine faster--

#1 Ask your physician if you can start using BIPAP rather than CPAP from the beginning--the machines are usually bigger than CPAP machines and more expensive because of the sensors--but many people (anecdotally) find them more comfortable. Sometimes your insurance won't pay for BIPAP unless you've failed CPAP--but maybe you can find some friendly technicians for your titration study (which is where they figure out what settings on the machine you need) and you can tell them as I did before the study started that they should find that I didn't tolerate CPAP. On the other hand if your apnea isn't that bad and the CPAP level is very low--perhaps you won't need to consider BIPAP at all.

2. There are humidifers for the machines--these warm and moisten the air that is being pumped into you. Some people find that they tolerate this better than dry cold air. I went to get new supplies at the DME place (Durable Medical Equipment)yesterday, the receptionist was surpised that I didn't use humidification--it may be more common now to get this when you start--I've never needed it.

3. I cant stress this enough--about how important it is to find a mask that is most comfortable for you. As I said earlier--it took me 3 or so tries over the space of a few months to find the mask that was most comfortable for me-I dislike straps extending over the top of my head--so the straps holding the mask in place come around the sides of my neck--also some masks have this--well it looks like a kickstand from a bike at the top of the mask which extended to the middle of the forehead to, I guess, help stabilize the mask-this bugged the heck out of me too--so my mask doesn't have this.

 

Good Luck--I hope this was a little helpful.

 

Gman

 

PS There are many different brands of CPAP or BIPAP--you may very well want to talk very carefully with your supplier about getting the machine that is the lightest in weight as possible--the smaller ones as you may imagine usually cost more because of the miniaturization.

 

The reason you want a light machine is because of air travel. I've always read that it is recommended not to pack CPAP/BIPAP in your bags and check them--because what happens if your luggage gets lost-and also because of rough handling the machine might break. I always carry mine on the plane--be prepared--because of the "motor" the x-ray machines at the airport can't really check it well--it has to ben taken out of the case and sent in a bin by itself and then they will check it for explosive residue--mine actually came up positive for residue once--but they said they thought the security machine was malfunctoning and let me through--good thing I wasn't a terrorist:-). Because I often have to carry a hang-up bag--to try to keep my suits or sports jackets from getting wrinkled or lost-- and my sleep machine--I haven't in the past usually carried a laptop. It's just been too much too handle. I am hopefully about to start a new job (keep your fingers crossed for me that it all works out ok)--so when I get new insurance I am going to investigate getting a new, lighter machine--hopefully about 2.5 pounds rather than the 5 pounder that I currently have. I am also interested in getting one of those newer mini-laptops that are also about 2.5 pounds--they aren't very powerful--but usually the main thing I do with my computer on trips is use it for e-mail--so a minilaptop without many features will work fine.

 

PPS--Again Good Luck!!!

 

Gman

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RE: Sleep Apnea--Explanation of and My Experience of Part 2

 

So has anyone had experienced with the dental device, which is usually not covered by insurance?? My friend was diagosed several years ago, went on to lose some weight, and of course felt a whole lot better. He got a repeat test, only to find out his sleep apnea got worse (went from initially mild to moderate)...go figure. He still feels great as he is fit and works out regularly, and rarely has the symptoms. So he's been reluctant to get CPAP, given the same fear as that expressed by others here (how would anyone want to spend the night with him with the mask?!). My research tells me that the newer machines are quiet and small, so the sleeping together and travelling issue should be minimal...correct? But he is still not sure and am actually thinking of paying for the dental device, hence the question.

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RE: Sleep Apnea--Explanation of and My Experience of Part 2

 

I was told by my insurance company that they would pay for the dental appliance. My mistake was going to my regular dentist, who I like and trust, but was out of network. The appliance costs $425. I should get it this week. Now I'm wondering if I've wasted my money and am re-thinking the whole CPAP thing because of the good, first hand information I got here. I will try the appliance but will also start looking into the various machines mentioned. Thanks again to all those that replied.

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RE: Sleep Apnea--Explanation of and My Experience of Part 2

 

>I was told by my insurance company that they would pay for

>the dental appliance. My mistake was going to my regular

>dentist, who I like and trust, but was out of network. The

>appliance costs $425. I should get it this week. Now I'm

>wondering if I've wasted my money and am re-thinking the whole

>CPAP thing because of the good, first hand information I got

>here. I will try the appliance but will also start looking

>into the various machines mentioned. Thanks again to all those

>that replied.

 

 

I forgot to mention they have also been advertising a "pillow" for those with mild sleep apnea--have no idea how well it works. It is supposed to help position the jaw, I think, to help maintain an open airway.

 

Gman

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Guest Ca Robert

I used to work at a Sleep Center with Sleep Apnea pts

 

If the dental appliance doesn't work, they will push for the CPAP machine. Patients have great results with these machines, and the increased mental alertness is the first thing they notice. I did the programming for a center that had several branch locations in Northern California.

 

The dental appliance is used less frequently for a few reasons. First of all, if the apnea events are severe and frequent, medical opinion is to go to the most effective immediately. Patients with BMIs in the "danger zone" never go dental appliance. Again, your HMO can be dictating your DME (durable medical equipment)based on pricing issues.

 

Email me privately if you wish me to share any further information with you on this fascinating topic. I learned alot during my tenure at the sleep center, although the general manager was a real dick.

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>I know this may seem weird but I'm taking the advice from you

>guys on an escort website more seriously than a doctor in a

>major NYC hospital. All I can say is you have a better

>"bedside manner" than he did and that makes some

>sense when you think about it.

 

Foxy,

 

I was not pleased with the "bedside manner" of my first doctor in relation to the CPAP. I had the luxury of being able to change doctors.

 

I can "echo" the good advice you've received here...I would also like to mention something that helped me confirm that my CPAP was effective: I video-taped my sleep before using a CPAP and again while using the CPAP. Before, I would toss and turn and snore throughout the whole night. With the CPAP, I would stay positioned, and appear to rest peacefully, throughout the night. It definitely helped my energy levels rise and I sincerely hope you maintain a positive approach and that you successfully make the transition to sleeping with a CPAP device (which, btw, I recommend the one with the humidifier).

 

I didn't read all the replies here, but thought I'd mention that one of the most significant results of my CPAP use was the return of my "EMHO" (Early-morning hard-on) (smile).

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RE: Sleep Apnea...Palatal Implant System

 

An alternative may be a Palatal Implant. A friend had this done to reduce snoring and has been quite pleased. It was all done in an hour appointment and he went back to work the same day.

 

They insert 3 small rods in the palatal tissue. The scaring around the tissue tightens and stiffens the throat.

 

http://medgadget.com/archives/2005/01/palatal_implant.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/13670.php

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Guest zipperzone

RE: Sleep Apnea--Explanation of and My Experience of Part 1

 

Some of the posters mention how wierd it looks when on the face and their fears of negative reaction from sleep partners.

 

If the sleep partner is only occasional - few of us hire an escort more than once a week and even that is probably on the high side - why not simply not use it on the occasions when you are "entertaining?"

 

Would this be so dangerous?

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RE: Sleep Apnea...Palatal Implant System

 

I Have not had a good experience with CPAP. Many friends and Bro in law has, so dont give up. My sleep docotor says that downt for eeryone some people cant handle the face around the mask but if you can it great. I struggled twice, I would like to know more about the Dental Plate that was mentioned. HUGS Chuck

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