Do you Have Problems With Your CPAP?

CPAP use has its own unique set of problems. However, there are workable solutions to these. In this article, I’ll explore some of these issues. 

Common Problems People Have With CPAP

Perhaps one of the bigger problems people have with CPAP is related to the mask itself. Many people don’t like anything on their face, usually because it feels claustrophobic. This can be an initial reaction to CPAP. However, some people never work through this, and as a result, can’t use the mask at all.

Another one of the problems people have is breathing against the air pressure. This is especially so if their CPAP pressure is too high.

There are solutions to these dilemmas, however.

 

Non Surgical Solutions

People who are claustrophobic don’t like ‘all this stuff’ on their face. problemsSometimes they do better with a nasal mask because of that. Then again, some people feel more claustrophobic with the nasal mask. This is because they need to keep their mouth closed. In that case going to a full face mask would allow them to breathe through both nose and mouth. There’s an alternative to this dilemma. Check out this mask; it covers your mouth and just sits under your nose.

problemsAnother possibility is a device called an Oral Appliance. There are different variations on a theme. One type works by holding your jaw forward; the other works by holding your tongue forward. In either case, the result is that ultimately your airway stays open.

 

For those who can’t breathe against all that pressure, there’s something called bi-level. This type of machine has a higher pressure when you breathe in, and then goes to a lower pressure when you breathe out. Many people find this really helps them tolerate treatment.

For more information on this and other treatment options, see http://sleepguyblog.com/best-way-treat-sleep-apnea/

Also, check this out!!

 Singing or Playing a Wind Instrument

There’s some interesting research that shows either singing, and/or playing a wind instrument can lessen the severity of OSA. This apparently works by strengthening certain mouth and throat muscles; thus making it less likely your airway will collapse

One of the more interesting wind instruments, and perhaps the one showing the best response is the Didgeridoo. Check it out here http://www.didgeridoostore.com/didgeridoo_sleepapnea_snoring.htm

But really, any wind instrument can help strengthen those muscles. So, sing away and learn to play! Even if all you do is make a joyful noise!

Cleaning Your CPAP Equipment

Sometimes your mask can cause redness and irritation. However, properly cleaning your equipment can often reduce, or even eliminate these issues.

Empty the water chamber daily, and soak it, your mask, and hose, in warm soapy water every day. Also wipe down your CPAP machine weekly with a wet wipe.

The humidifier chamber should be soaked in a mixture of 1/3 white vinegar in 2/3 water for around 15 minutes at least once a week. Then rinse in distilled water. Let air dry on a towel.

Properly cleaned equipment not only can reduce irritation, it’s also less germy, and doesn’t look gross.

Surgical Solutions

The most common type of surgical procedure involves removing excess soft tissue from the back of your throat. This procedure can also include removing your tonsils and trimming other soft tissue. More aggressive surgery involves Surgically moving your jaw forward.

Click on the attached link for more information on these, and other procedures. http://www.sleepeducation.org/treatment-therapy/surgery/surgical-procedures

Other Questions and Concerns

How am I supposed to sleep with this thing?

It’s helping you breathe, so if the mask fits you right, and the pressure is good, you will breathe much better. Although, the mask and pressure can take some adjusting to.

How long does it take to get used to CPAP?

There’s a full range of how people respond initially to CPAP. All the way from “Take this thing off me! I’ll never wear that!” To as soon as I put the mask on them they’re like “Wow! This thing is awesome!” ” I breathe much better with it.”

Also, time after time, I see patients in the sleep lab who’s sleep improves after I put them on CPAP. Yet they wake in the morning not feeling any better than usual. Apparently, sometimes it takes your body awhile to ‘work its way’ out of a condition it’s been in.

If your body is used to a certain way of breathing, then if you suddenly start breathing more efficiently, your body will naturally react negatively to that. So then, good, healthy breathing becomes a struggle in itself, until your body adjusts.

Do I have to sleep on my back all the time?

No, even with a full face mask you should be able to lay on your side or even your stomach. We only encourage back sleep in the sleep lab because obstructive breathing is generally worse on your back, and we want to see how you look that way.

But I never sleep on my back, why should I during the sleep study?

We want to establish the true severity of your apnea. Besides, I’ve seen many patients say they never sleep on their backs.

Then during the sleep study, they’ll fall asleep on their sides; and once asleep, will turn on to their backs. Some will turn back onto their side, wake  up and say “See, I told you I never sleep on my back”

If you can’t sleep on your back because of an injury, then you won’t be required to for the sleep study. Just let your sleep technologist know this.

Do I have to wear this all the time?

As long as you wake up feeling refreshed and have no problems with your mask, yes. If you have a change in your medical condition or even a change in insurance, you might need another sleep study.

Is there a cure for sleep apnea?

While losing weight can help, it shouldn’t be considered a ‘cure’. Also, smoking is irritating to your airway, causing it to swell up a bit. So if you smoke, quitting will open your airway more once the swelling goes down. This will, of course, reduce the severity of your sleep apnea.

Are the machines noisy?

Years ago, many people complained about how loud their CPAP machine was. However, machines these days are very quiet. Actually, a mask leak will be your loudest sound (from the machine).

The mask leaves red marks on my face.

If you have sensitive skin, the mask can leave a red mark on your face. But generally, any redness shouldn’t last very long. And you don’t need to cinch the mask down tight on your face either. It should sit comfortably.

Actually, the air movement within the mask generally acts like a type of suction and can create a seal that should keep air leak to a minimum, without clamping the mask down onto your face.

Conclusion

Knowledge is power, and there are no dumb questions (well, o.k., maybe there are, but none of my patients have asked any).

I hope you’ve found this article at least somewhat useful, in addressing some of the problems you have with your CPAP. If you have a question that wasn’t addressed here, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Till next time…Blessings.

 

Summers Time for fun, Even if it Kills you

When you’re having fun, it’s easy to overlook the importance of safety. In this article, I’ll go over some things to keep in mind while on vacation. I’ll address some safety issues, as well as help you make sure you’re taking care of the important stuff.

But what does this all have to do with sleep? Read on…

Have fun but be SafeFun

It’s finally here! The day you’ve been waiting for. All the planning paid off, and now it’s time to enjoy that time away. But did you forget something? Hopefully, you have everything ready; but you already feel a sense of urgency because you need to get on the road by a certain time. So your stress level is up a notch. But remember, keep it fun.

Then there are all those extra cars on the road. That’s another thing. And that thought raises your stress level another notch. But you’re not the only one whose stress level goes up thinking about theses things. So, we’ve got several things going on here:

1-There are more cars on the road, with people driving more miles.

2-People’s stress levels might a bit higher than usual.

3-Drivers face more distractions.

With all that planning, don’t forget the most important thing…

SAFETY FIRST

First, let’s take a look at some of the things that cause distracted driving. They are:

  • Talking-either with other in the car. Or other people talking. Like kids, for instance.
  • Talking on a cell phone or texting-Pull over if you need to make that call, or send that text.
  • Eating-Stop somewhere, and take time out to eat.
  • Changing radio station/changing temp controls.
  • Reaching to pick up something you dropped.
  • ‘Zoning out’.

And as you can see, they all have one thing in common…paying attention to something other than driving. However, ‘zoning out’ is the biggest cause of distracted driving.

Let’s take a look at some of these things.

Dying to Have fun

Did you know that the highest number of traffic fatalities occur on Memorial Day weekend, with Labor Day and July 4th close behind? In addition to this, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the 100 deadliest days for teenage drivers.

With that, consider the following.

An average car weighs around 4,000 pounds; while an average SUV is somewhere around 6,000 pounds.

At 60 MPH, you travel 88 feet every second. That’s the length of a football field in 3.4 seconds! And drivers who text, take their eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 88 feet per second, that’s 440 feet or almost one and a half football fields!

And most vehicles are going faster than 88 feet per second on the highway.

Imagine a 4,000-pound chunk of steel barreling down the road at 88 feet per second all by itself. That’s essentially what happens when you take your eyes off the road.

Now, let’s add you into this mix.

You’re on the road, most likely on unfamiliar roads, so at least that helps you stay more alert. However, other factors come into play to add to your distraction/tiredness. Things like kids in the car, a different sleep schedule, sleeping in different places, and driving more than usual. And you can still ‘zone out’ if you drive for too long a time.

Let’s face it, vacations can be tiring.  And drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving and can be just as deadly. See  http://sleepguyblog.com/drowsy-drivers-kill-people/ Yup, here I go again, spoiling all the fun.

But really, you can still have fun if you just keep some things in mind.

Don’t Forget What’s Important

So then, here are some helpful tips on preparing for your awesome vacation:

Maintaining the same sleep schedule is important, but probably not practical or realistic while on vacation.

Get a good nights sleep, not only before the trip but all throughout your vacation as well. Keep in mind that getting a good night’s rest the night before can be more difficult if you’re excited about the trip.

When driving long distance, switch drivers every 2 hrs. Or switch sooner if you feel tired, or find it hard to ‘stay in the moment’. Like, maybe you’re getting anxious, and feel the need to rush things a bit. Stay patient!

Make sure your car is in good shape–Get a tune up before taking off.

Plan your route. Use GPS, and have it ‘dialed in’ before you start out.

Still not sure where to go? Follow this link to some affordable vacation ideas. https://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalsBlog/2015/06/19/summer-savings-29-affordable-vacation-rental-destinations

O.K, so you’ve got your trip all planned out, and your car is tuned up and ready to go; but what about you? Are you both physically and mentally ready for this? Because, really, there will already be enough drowsy/distracted drivers out there. You really don’t need to add another one.

Let’s check one more thing.

Have fun, but get it Done

With all that danger out there, it’s even more important that you’re extra alert. With that in mind, let’s talk sleep apnea for a moment.

Do any of the following describe you?

  • Loud chronic snoring.
  • Gasping or choking sounds.
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom.
  • Waking with dry mouth and/or a sore throat.
  • Waking with a morning headache.
  • Are you tired all the time?
  • Being moody and irritable.

If so, have you used any of these excuses for how you are?

  • This is how I always sleep.
  • It’s not that bad.
  • I could just lose some weight.
  • Snoring doesn’t hurt me.
  • I don’t want to wear a mask.

Do you need a sleep study, but are too busy right now? Maybe you’ll wait till fall when the kids are back in school. Perhaps now is a bad time. After all, you’re getting ready for that fun vacation you’ve been planning for some time. You can always go in later, right?

I mean really, who wants to spend a night in some hospital when it’s so nice out? Besides, this is vacation time! And these days are numbered.

Well, if you haven’t already, you might want to see my article on the dangers of untreated sleep apnea http://sleepguyblog.com/alarming-truth-sleep-apnea/

It’s worth not being another statistic.

And yes, you can travel with a CPAP machine. One of my patients is a Doctor who takes his CPAP with when he goes mountain climbing. It’s a special one that adjusts to different elevations.

Conclusion

While it’s nice to get away, it’s even more important to be fully awake and alert while on the road. With increased traffic, comes increased distracted drivers, and increased traffic fatalities. Plan ahead, stay alert, and don’t get in a hurry. And remember, even if you’re ok and alert, there are others who aren’t.

I hope you have lots of fun on your vacation. Be carefree, but not careless.

Till next time…Blessings

 

Are you Tired, Fatigued, or Exhausted?

E is for Exhausted.E stands for Exhausted

After publishing last week’s blog on being tired, http://sleepguyblog.com/not-natural-tired-time/ I saw the need to add some more information. Thus the reason for this follow up. In addition to that, I’ll also show you an often overlooked possible cause of why you’re fatigued and/or exhausted.

Tired, Fatigued, or Exhausted?

In last week’s article, I defined the difference between these three but focused mainly on tiredness. This week, I want to look at fatigue and exhaustion and briefly cover some treatment options.

Again, there’s a significant difference between these. It’s important that you know the difference so you can properly describe your symptoms to your Doctor. This will ensure proper treatment.

TIRED-You still have some energy. However, you can experience muscle weakness. You might also have some memory problems, but a good rest will clear things up

FATIGUE-lack of energy will be accompanied by difficulty concentrating; as well as difficulty sleeping. A rest might not help much, if at all.

EXHAUSTED-By now, you have more than just difficulty concentrating. You’re becoming confused, incoherent, and emotionally ‘numb’. Don’t even waste your time trying to nap at this point.

Tell it Like it is

In this section, I’ll go over some things to be aware of when talking with your Doctor. As you probably already know, it’s really important to accurately describe your symptoms to your Doctor. This will ensure you receive the right treatment. And of course, the more thorough your medical history, the better.

Common questions to ask, or info to include are:

  • Current medications you’re taking, including any natural remedies
  • Any heart disease or Diabetes in your family?
  • Anything causing stress?
  • Whether you did or still do smoke, drink alcohol, or take any illegal drugs.
  • Specific information related to sleep patterns
  • Accurately explain how you feel.

Next, you can use the following sections to help identify your problem areas. This is only a general guide to help you identify areas of concern to talk with your Doctor about. Simply go to the section that describes you.

You haven’t had a sleep study, and you’re fatigued and/or exhausted.

The following are good indicators you could have sleep apnea.

  • You’re told you snore and/or you wake yourself up snoring.
  • You wake up choking or gasping for air.
  • You’re irritable, moody, and/or depressed.
  • You’re tired, fatigued, or downright exhausted.
  • Are you overweight?
  • Have high blood pressure?
  • Do you wake up with a headache?

Why is waking with a headache an issue? What happens is this. You breathe based on the amount of carbon dioxide ( C02) in your blood. When that level reaches a certain point, your brain sends a signal to breathe. This brings in fresh oxygen and gets rid C02.

But if your airway is closing off and you’re not breathing enough, C02 builds up in your body. And this causes headaches. That’s why morning headaches could indicate you have sleep apnea.

Also, remember that sleep apnea can also cause high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes, see http://sleepguyblog.com/alarming-truth-sleep-apnea/ Additionally, your fatigue and/or exhaustion could be due to something other than sleep apnea. I’ll  cover that later in this article.

You have had a sleep study but are still fatigued and/or exhausted.

If you don’t use CPAP:

How long ago was your study? Have you gained a significant amount of weight since then? Any other health issues developed since then? Specifically heart or lung disease? You just might need CPAP now. If it’s been awhile since your last sleep study, and you now have any heart disease, talking to your Doctor about sleep study is even more important,

If you do use CPAP:

Are you having a harder time using the mask? Is your mask uncomfortable? Does the pressure seem too high? Too low? How old is your mask? Sometimes it’s just a matter of a mask adjustment, or changing to a different mask. Sometimes, you just need a change in pressure.

Do any of the following symptoms sound familiar to you?

Do you wake up and find that you’ve taken your mask off during the night? Or do you take your mask off because you can’t stand wearing it anymore? If so, are you using a nasal mask, but have a dry mouth in the morning? Could be that you’re breathing with your mouth, and need either a chin strap or a full face mask.

Has it been awhile since your last study? If symptoms have returned, it might be time for another sleep study. I would suggest you talk with your Doctor about any of these issues, being as thorough as you can.

But if you’re more than just tired, something other than sleep apnea could be the culprit. Next, we’ll take a look at a gland that is very critical to your health but often overlooked.

Stress, Fatigue and the Adrenal Glands

An Adrenal Gland sits right on top of each Kidney and helps you deal with stress. So, when you’re under pressure, these glands release hormones that send you into fight-or-flight mode. These chemicals are called Cortisol and Adrenalin. The 3 stages of your fight or flight response are 1-Alarm 2-Resistance and 3-Exhaustion (there’s that word again)

Symptoms of Adrenal fatigue include, among others:

  • Tiredness.
  • Trouble falling asleep.
  • Sugar and salt craving.
  • The need for caffeine or other stimulants to get you through the day.

The adrenal glands help regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Therefore, if your adrenal glands are overworked because of stress, your sleep will suffer.

Click on the following link for some excellent information by Dr. Jill Carnahan.

Quiz: Could you have Adrenal Fatigue?

Treatment Options

CONVENTIONAL

Modafinil (Provigil)-It promotes wakefulness, but is not a stimulant; so it won’t ‘speed you up’ or make you jittery. In fact, it not only makes you more alert, it actually improves cognitive function, so that you can think more clearly. Available by prescription.

While conventional medicine is good, it mainly deals with effect, not cause. However, there are some good alternative treatments available.

ALTERNATIVE

There are some pretty good Herbal supplements available. However, what works for one person doesn’t work for someone else. Therefore, you might just want to experiment with some of them to see what will work for you. Also, knowing why you’re exhausted will help determine the right treatment for you.

There are a number of herbs that can effectively treat Adrenal stress. see https://holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-a-g/chronic-disease/1241-herbal-options-for-managing-adrenal-fatigue.html

If you’re having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, Melatonin and Valerian Root have proven to be quite effective in many cases. Additionally, such things as Acupuncture and even meditation and prayer have gotten good results as well.

Conclusion

Many things can cause you to become fatigued or exhausted. And certainly, sleep apnea can be one of those things. However, because you are such a complex being, the answer isn’t always straight forward, or easy to see.

Therefore, knowing some basic definitions, and being able to more accurately describe your symptoms will assure better treatment. And using both conventional and alternative treatments together will give you the best of both worlds.

So how do you deal with stress? If you have a way that works for you, I’d really appreciate any feedback you have; so please leave a comment.

Is CPAP Treatment Really Just A Scam?

There are people who think that CPAP is just another way for ‘them’ to get your money. Is it? Join me as I examine this quite reasonable viewpoint.

“This is a Racket!”Is CPAP a scam?

The patient sitting before me was a rather tough looking gentleman who voiced his opinions quite bluntly. I kept trying to discuss the sleep study, but he just wanted to talk about guns and knives, and how he ‘takes care’ of situations.

He even took out one of his knives and showed it to me.

“Oh, it’s still got blood on it,” he said, wiping the blade on his pants leg. Putting the knife down, he scrutinized me suspiciously, and said: “I think this is a racket!” And he was serious. This guy doesn’t say anything unless he is serious.

Then he went on to ask me some pointed questions. One of which was “How many people that you test end up on CPAP?’ It was a good question, and I answered him as accurately as I could.  “About 50-75% + are started on CPAP”, I replied.

With that, he said, “Yeah, see. Now if you’d told me only a few people are put on CPAP, I’d be o.k. with that. But with that many, it sounds like a racket to me.”

I sure was glad he was no longer holding that bloody knife.

We continued this conversation as I proceeded to hook him up. As it turned out, He thought CPAP was a racket for several reasons. One of them was that he really didn’t understand the consequences of untreated sleep apnea.

However, he did listen as I talked. Maybe that was because I was up front with him. Or that I really tried to speak at his level. Actually, he didn’t have much choice; I kinda had him strapped in the chair. (LOL!!)

Standards of Care

We needed to find a way to treat people more effectively. Therefore, some kind of standard had to be developed. Something we could use as a reference to determine the severity of sleep apnea. Thus, the creation of the Apnea Hypopnea Index (or AHI).

This index categorizes the severity of sleep apnea and is based on the number of times you stop breathing in an hour. For instance, if you stop breathing 5 times in an hour, your AHI would be 5.

AHI categories are:

  • Not significant: AHI less than 5.
  • Mild sleep apnea: AHI 5-15.
  • Moderate sleep apnea: AHI 15-30.
  • Severe sleep apnea: AHI greater than 30.

Using this standard as a reference, it’s estimated that as many as 20% of Americans have some degree of sleep apnea; although that figure could actually be low. Also, many factors can impact the severity of OSA to a greater or lesser degree. These include age, disease, and sex.

Uncovering the Great CPAP Scam!!

But are these standards manipulated in a way that’s more focused on sales, as opposed to appropriate treatment? In other words, are these standards set intentionally low so that people who really don’t need treatment are started on CPAP anyway? Much research has gone into establishing accurate guidelines.

One such study is reported in an article in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It details an 18-year follow-up of 1,522 people. These people had anywhere from ‘no’ sleep apnea (AHI less than 5), up to severe sleep apnea (AHI greater than 30). The study shows that people with sleep apnea are 3 times more likely to die as those who don’t. You can read the complete article here: http://www.aasmnet.org/articles.aspx?id=1014 

Also, we use at least 2 different standards to determine whether someone actually qualifies for CPAP. As a result, those who are more at risk of sudden death, such as people who already have heart disease, for example, can qualify for treatment with a lower AHI than those who have no known heart disease.

So no, we can’t just decide, ‘hey, let’s put this guy on CPAP because we’re a little short on money’. (And actually putting someone on CPAP when they don’t need it can be harmful in itself). That whole thing could be a lawsuit in the making.

Although it does seem like money, more than compassion is the driving force behind much of health care. Maybe it is. But the unfortunate by-product of that is many of us well-meaning healthcare folks get a bad rap.

To die or not to die, That is the Question

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. So many people don’t realize how threatening poor quality sleep really is to your health. Click on the following link to learn more:  http://sleepguyblog.com/__poor-quality-sleep-cause-disease. There’s also a direct link between sleep apnea and heart disease; as well as Diabetes. See http://sleepguyblog.com/alarming-truth-sleep-apnea/

What Would you do?

So, if you had a friend with sleep apnea, and you knew about the diseases it caused, would you talk to them about it? Yeah, I know, we can’t force anyone to do anything. It’s ultimately up to the person. But the more you care about someone, the more strongly you’ll try to help, right?

And while I really don’t know my patients very well. I do have a concern for mankind in general. And that is what drives me to help. And there’s a bunch of us out there.

Final Thoughts

I guess there will always be those who think we’re just out to scam people. It’s funny, though. The only people I’ve heard accuse us of that are the ones who aren’t using CPAP, and/or don’t really know anyone who is. And really, I don’t hear the scam word all that often.

But I think about the lives I’ve really helped. And the people who have actually experienced CPAP, and what they say about it.

Sure, there are people who want to ‘help’ you just because they’ll make money doing so. And yeah, I also make money helping you. But, honestly,  even if I had all the money I needed so that I didn’t have to work, I’d still enjoy doing what I do.(But then again, maybe I’m a bit crazy!)

However, there are a lot of scams and insurance fraud out there. And I think it’s harder than ever to trust people. But Sleep Apnea really is a serious life-threatening disorder, and CPAP is still the gold standard of care.

I’d like to hear your thoughts. Have you ever experienced any medical or insurance fraud? Please leave out any names, but otherwise, be as specific as you can. Let’s talk.

Till next time…Blessings.

 

But

The Things That I do put Most People to Sleep

I just want to let my hair down (LOL, I don’t have that much!), and share some things on a more personal level. But I’ll also not sugar coat anything about the reality of sleep apnea. So, yeah, this’s a friendly chat; but friends don’t let friends die before their time. (I know, I have to ruin everything don’t I?)

I Have Sleep Super Powers

As I sit down at the controls I take a look at my monitors. Both screens show nice crisp signals, so I ease Sleepback a bit and keep an eye on things; waiting for my patients to fall asleep, and some real activity to begin. How’s that for being different? It’s not until my patients are asleep that things really start to happen.

Yet, a sense of peace comes over me as I watch the monitors, and everything gets kinda surreal, like I’m in another world; or on another planet.

Sitting here, I began to think back on things; and take some amusement in the fact that, among my many talents, I’m a CPAP Ninja!  That’s right! I have the ability to go into my patient’s room and start them on CPAP without rousing them!

Some will wake in the morning wondering when I came in and put the mask on. But actually, it’s not that I’m really that good, these patients are just that sleep deprived.

Common comments I get are, “It must be pretty boring watching people sleep”; and, “How do you stay awake all night?”

Those remarks used to really bother me, because, here I am literally saving people’s lives, and all I get is ‘it must be so boring, how can you stay awake?’ And yet, it just shows me how little people understand about what happens, or doesn’t happen but should, while they sleep.

Then I find myself going back in time and recalling all the patients  I’ve helped; and the knowledge that, yes, I really am actually saving people’s lives.

That’s a Dumb Question!

One guy comes to mind. I have my patients fill out some paperwork before the study starts. I’m in the control room, which is right outside the patient’s rooms, when this guy calls out, “What kind of question is this?” I went to his door and asked: “What do you mean?”

“This question”, he says, ” ‘Has today been unusual in any respect?’ Really,” he said looking up at me a bit sarcastically,  “I’m having a !@#$ sleep study, and you’re wondering if today’s been different in any way?”

I’m not sure if he’s serious or just joking, so I simply respond with “I guess the question should be reworded to read, ‘Up until now, has the day been unusual in any respect?”

Just the Facts Ma’am

The patients that have sleep studies come from all walks of life, and all ages. From infants, all the way to those towards the end of their lives. However, the ‘average’ patient is an obese middle aged male.

And yes, sleep apnea can run in families. This is because you inherit the physical characteristics that make sleep apnea more likely; such as a short thick neck; and being overweight. Among other characteristics.

Also, it’s estimated that 1 out of 5 Americans have mild sleep apnea. Although, by the time people are seen in the sleep lab, those numbers are significantly higher. For example, the average number of people placed on treatment during a sleep study is 50%-75% or more. Additionally, as many as 80% of people with sleep apnea remain undiagnosed.

However, this disorder is more common in men than women; or is it? Check out my article that addresses this:

http://sleepguyblog.com/bias-diagnosis-sleep-disorders-women/

Sleep Well and Prosper

So many people think that treating sleep disorders is only about sleeping better. I hear people say they don’t even know why they’re at the sleep lab because they don’t have any problem sleeping.

For example, I have patient’s, come to the lab and do their version of sleep. Many times, these same people tell me they sleep just fine and don’t know why they’re here.

And yet that same person might have high blood pressure, or other heart issues, or be diabetic. When I explain how their heart condition or diabetes might just be caused by sleep apnea they start thinking. Unless, of course, they’re in denial; and there’s a lot of that out there.

Maybe they really believe they’re sleeping well. Maybe they know something’s wrong, but just don’t want to see a Doctor. Seems that most people seen in the sleep lab are there because someone else noticed a problem.

Usually, it’s a spouse or significant other that has the complaint. That’s because they’re the ones kept awake by loud snoring, or ‘all that thrashing about’ during the night. Many couples no longer sleep in the same bed, or even the same room for this very reason!

Then, there are patients who hope that sleep apnea is the problem, and CPAP is the answer. However, they don’t ‘qualify’ for treatment. Then, when I get them up in the morning, and they realize they don’t have the mask on, they quietly go about finishing the morning paperwork; leaving the lab in silence.

I feel sorry for those people really; here’s one more thing that isn’t their problem. It’s unfortunate because not knowing can be worse than knowing. I guess I can’t be Superman to everyone.

 Closing Thoughts on Sleep

So what do you think? Because although more and more people are hearing about sleep apnea, there’s still much work to be done in the way of educating the general population about this outright deadly, but easily treatable, disorder.

Please don’t let denial kill you or someone you love.

Therefore, carefully consider your life or that of the one you love; and if you have any questions or concerns, leave a comment. Who knows, you might just share something that could help someone else.

I’ll also do my best to answer any questions, and/or respond to your comments. Thank you.

Till next time…Blessings.