How do you Manage Chronic Pain?

Pain is our bodies warning system, alerting us to a problem. But pain can outlive its purpose and become chronic pain. When that happens, it causes even more harm. Let’s see what can be done about that.

Good Pain bad Pain

Short-term, or acute pain, is good pain.  This pain not only draws our Chronic Painattention to a problem, it also protects a damaged area from further harm (more on this later). There’s also long-term or chronic pain. This type of pain has outlived its purpose and is no longer useful. In fact, it now begins to cause its own injuries. But why does pain sometimes persist long after it’s needed?

Let’s explore these things, shall we?

Acute Pain is Your Friend

Imagine life without pain. What would it be like? If you’re suffering from chronic pain, living life pain-free probably sounds pretty good about now. Imagine how it would be to not feel pain…ever. But pain is our bodies warning system, alerting us to a potential problem.

But think about it.

You’re walking along barefoot somewhere, step on something, and slice your foot open. But, you don’t have any pain, so you pay no attention. Then there’s that sunburn, which makes your skin hypersensitive to light and touch. This keeps you from touching that area or exposing it to further light so that it can heal faster.

Or if you dislocate your hip, the pain will (hopefully) keep you from putting weight on it; thus causing more damage. And what about that chest pain that sent you to the hospital. That pain possibly saved your life. Think of the damage caused by not feeling any pain. So then, pain serves an initial purpose.

However, the very pain that saved your life can become your enemy.

Chronic Pain is Your Enemy

So that injury you had a while back is healed, but you’re still in pain. Or maybe some pain just started.  There seems to be no reason for it, but it won’t go away. What causes this?

First of all, chronic pain complaints increase with age.  And there are many causes. For example, just the changes that accompany normal aging can result in joint pain. Yet, on the other hand, older people tend to cope with pain better than younger people. This is due in part to peoples life experiences, and also health expectations in general.

But what damage does chronic pain cause? To begin with, it takes more effort to do daily tasks. Over time, this saps your strength. And that can make social interaction more difficult; as a result, you began to isolate more and more. Now it’s quite natural to become anxious about this. Eventually, depression can set in. However, anxiety and depression increase the sensation of pain; so it takes on a bit of a snowball effect.

But that’s not your only problem

Studies show that chronic pain actually changes your brain chemistry. This leads to memory and concentration problems. But perhaps the damage caused by stress is the most serious. And pain causes stress. And when stress becomes chronic, it causes chronic inflammation. Now you’re vulnerable to a whole bunch of other diseases.

And of course, pain also affects your sleep.

Chronic Pain and Sleep

If you have chronic pain, you’ll also suffer from fatigue and sleepiness. Your memory and quality of life will be reduced as well. The reason it has this effect is at least two-fold. First, chronic pain can cause you to wake up many times at night. But it also changes the amount of time spent in each sleep stage.

This is important because we need to spend a certain amount of time in each sleep stage. For instance, specific hormones are released in stage 3 sleep that help with the growth and restoration of your body. And Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is important for memory consolidation. Additionally, some sleep stages affect your perception of pain.

And while pain causes sleep fragmentation, poor sleep can cause an increase in perceived pain. This starts a vicious cycle. Because the anxiety and depression from pain and lack of sleep increase the feeling of chronic pain.

When Mice Don’t Sleep

When lab animals were deprived of sleep, their body temperature dropped, internal organs shut down, and they died fairly quickly. How does this happen?  One study indicated these mice used up their energy almost twice as fast as other mice that were left to sleep. And because they couldn’t keep up with the energy loss, they died within 32 days!

With humans, hallucinations and paranoia set in long before more serious physical symptoms do. And although no human has been reported to die from sleep deprivation, it still has done some serious harm. Thus the once beneficial pain that alerted you to trouble, has now turned against you and is actually causing damage itself.

So if poor quality sleep leads to increased pain, it follows that getting a good nights rest can reduce pain. But how are you supposed to get some good quality sleep when you can’t even get comfortable?

Let’s look at some treatment options that can help us achieve this.

Treatment Options 

Conventional

A group of medications known as Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs are commonly used to treat pain. Some of these are Motrin and Aleve. However, studies now show there are dangers in taking these medications. These risks include:

1-Increased risk of Heart failure.

2-Ulcers and internal bleeding.

3-Kidney failure

4-Serious allergic reactions

5-Dangers to children and teenagers.

Then there’re the narcotics, such as Tylenol with codeine, and Vicodin. However, these not only slow down your breathing but cause you to breathe more shallow as well. And if you already struggle with breathing in your sleep, these medications will only make things worse. Additionally, narcotics also reduce Stage 3 sleep, which is essential for the growth and restoration of your body.

So, whenever possible, treat the cause of the pain, don’t just numb it.

Alternative 

Exercise and other stressors release a chemical in our brains called Endorphins. The word Endorphin comes from 2 Greek words: Endo (from within), and Morpheús (The god of dreams), where we get the word MorphineThis is why physical exercise can make you feel good. Think runners high here.

But physical activity does more than just release endorphins. Additionally, physical activity (exercise) can prevent, or at least delay, pain;  because pain can increase with immobility. So although being too physical can increase pain, lack of physical exercise has the same effect. Therefore balance is the key.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is another interesting thing you might want to check out.

So again, doing things to reduce pain can help you sleep better. And when you sleep better, pain is further reduced. In all this, the real challenge is to allow the good acute pain in, but keep the bad chronic pain out.

Conclusion

Acute pain protects us from further injury. But chronic pain just causes more damage. We need to be able to reduce chronic pain as best we can, while not affecting the benefits of acute pain. If you’ve found something that has helped your chronic pain, please leave a comment. You can help others suffering from this as well.

Till next time…Blessings.

 

Do you Have What it Takes to be a Sleep Technologist?

The life of a sleep technologist is far from boring. Are you one of the many that think we just sit there all night watching you sleep? Think againIn this article, I define what a Sleep Technologist is and does.

What is a Sleep Technologist?Sleep Technologist

I can’t speak for all Sleep Technologists, but when I first heard of this field of study, I was immediately interested. What’s so fascinating about staying up all night watching people sleep, you ask? I have no idea, I don’t do that. Although, it’s amazing how many people think I do.

Let’s clear this misconception up a bit shall we? But before I go into what a Sleep Technologist does, let’s define what one is.

First of all, not just anyone can be a Sleep Technologist. And I don’t think everyone would want to be one! For one thing, we’re up at night and sleep during the day. Also, many of us work alone and spend hours at a computer. Actually, we’re usually working 2 computers at the same time because we routinely test 2 patients each night.

But really, I enjoy working by myself; especially at night when it’s nice and quiet. And by quiet I don’t mean sitting there twiddling my thumbs…that would drive me crazy!

No, a quiet night just means a nice pace where I’m able to keep up with everything. And because not everyone’s the same, what works for one person might not work for someone else. So it’s good to keep ahead of things in case something unexpected happens. Thus, good time management, with an eye for detail, is a must.

And while you’d think it would get boring doing the same thing every night, it’s not at all. That’s because, even though I have the same routine every night, I deal with different people. And it’s the people that make my career most interesting.

Not that everything else isn’t interesting. As one of my patients put it “You have a really cool job!” And while that may be true, they were wrong about one thing. It’s not just a job. I’m helping people live a longer, more enriching life. It’s what I’ve become.

But just what does a Sleep Technologist do?

What Does a Sleep Technologist do?

One of the more frequent comments I get is ‘It must be boring watching people sleep.’ Another question people ask is ‘Did you have to go to school for this?’ It’s tempting to answer that question with, ‘No, I’m smart enough to have figured this out all by myself’. But I don’t. ’cause I’m not.

Of course, people who say such things just don’t understand the complexities of this position. And for the record, we don’t watch you sleep. That would be a silly, boring and quite useless job, no?  However, after I explain what I do, the question usually becomes “How much schooling did it take you to learn all this?”

With that, let’s take a look at some of the things that take place during your sleep study.

Let’s begin with the hookup. There’re a lot of wires attached to you. These sensors measure leg movement, breathing, oxygen levels, heart rate, and brainwaves; as well as muscle tension, eye movement, and snoring. And while I’m hooking you up to all these sensors, I like to explain what I’m doing as I go. I also explain what Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is. And this naturally leads to a brief discussion of CPAP.

After you’re hooked up, I have you try on different CPAP masks, just in case I decide to start you on treatment. This not only gets you accustomed to the mask but also helps you relax, as you now know what to expect. Then, during your sleep study, I need to determine if you need CPAP or not. And if I start you on treatment, when to adjust pressure to get you breathing well.

Once I have your study up and running, you’re reduced to a bunch of crisp clear squiggly lines on my computer monitor. All these lines show me what your version of sleep looks like. At that point, I settle into my chair and began the process of helping you live a longer more enriching life…Literally.

But in order to do this, I need to be knowledgeable about a few things.

A Sleep Technologist Does Know Some Stuff

A Sleep Technologist wears many hats. And once we pass a board exam, our ‘official’ title is Registered Polysomnographic Technologist or RPSGT.

Among the many skills we possess are:

♦ Basic EKG interpretation One of the things I record is your heart rate and rhythm. It’s not a full EKG but still gives me a heads up if something isn’t right, that is as long as I know what I’m looking at. Additionally, when I’m at a lab in a hospital, I can always call the charge nurse and get a second opinion on anything questionable.

♦Charting. Accurate assessment of your condition. Knowing what’s significant and what’s not. And with proper spelling and medical terminology (so I don’t look dumb to the Doctor)

♦ Computer skills.

♦ Medical knowledge. Diseases, medicines, medical terminology. I need to know how different diseases affect sleep. Also, medications that are prescribed for these diseases have their own effects on the sleep-wake cycle. All these variables not only affect your sleep but also influence how you respond to CPAP.

♦ Pattern Recognition-When I look at the computer monitor, all I see are a bunch of squiggly lines. But each squiggle means something. And I need to be able to determine whether a squiggle is significant or not. By morning, I’ll have around 900 pages of data recorded on you, so I really need to know what I’m looking at. Therefore, I’m the eyes and ears of the Doctor.

♦ People skills-The hook up process is 1 on 1 time. Not only is that the time to gather information on your medical history. It’s also the time to help you relax and prepare for the night. Interpersonal skills are very important. Especially at this time.

♦ Troubleshooting both equipment and computer. Although I do have access to an on-call person, I need to be able to handle problems as best I can. Of course, experience alone helps there.

We also attend monthly classes that keep us up to speed on the ever-evolving fields of sleep.

Conclusion

I hope this rather brief description of what a Sleep Technologist is and does helps you better understand this complex and highly technical field.

I’m a Sleep Technologist and I love what I do. Helping people live a longer more enriching life is awesome!!

Till next time…Blessings.

There are different ways to qualify for a Sleep Technologist. Our exact titles are Registered Polysomnographic Technologist or RPSGT. And depending on your medical background, there are the various ways you can become one of us.

Will you be the Next Victim of Denial?

Denial is the refusal to believe that something exists or is real. And in this article, I share the tragic story of how denial killed my friend. 

Denial Killed my Friend

Some time ago, Sam (not his real name) came up to me and said: “I had a sleep study and they put me on that CPAP machine, but I don’t really like it”. A fairly overweight gentleman in his late 50’s, Sam was a casual friend of mine.

“What do you mean?”, I asked.

“Air keeps blowing out the side of my mask. And a lot of times when I wake up my mask is lying next to me, just blowing away”. It sounded to me like a poorly adjusted mask. Or maybe it was the wrong type of mask. Possibly even the wrong pressure.

I talked with him about all these things, offering some suggestions I felt could be helpful. I also encouraged him to go back to his CPAP provider and have them check his mask.  He always seemed interested in what I was saying. However, when I ran into him a few weeks later, he hadn’t made any calls. And yes, he was still having problems.

We had several meetings like that. I’d always remind him of the dangers of improperly treated sleep apnea. And  I’d encourage him to get things checked out. But the next time I saw him, it was the same thing all over again. Now, Sam was no dummy, and he wasn’t lazy. He was also married; happily, I believe. Yet, knowing the dangers of sleep apnea, he never followed through with my advice.

Tragically, not long after our last conversation, I heard that he had passed away in his sleep. The Coroner said he had had a massive heart attack. This news, of course, devastated his wife. I immediately suspected improperly treated sleep apnea was the culprit. And if so, his death might’ve been prevented.

In any case, what stopped him from following my advice?

Are you in Denial, or What?Denial

My friend knew about the dangers he faced but must’ve been in denial. Like so many of us, Sam apparently just couldn’t accept that he could die if his sleep apnea wasn’t treated properly. Maybe someone else would, but not him. Naturally, I was shocked by his death. But that only made it more puzzling to me. I mean, we had several talks about this issue, and yet, he never did anything about it.

Some people just can’t accept certain possibilities. You know how it is. It (whatever ‘it’ is) always happens to the other guy, right?

Well, then there are those people who just don’t know about the consequences of untreated sleep apnea. To them, CPAP is just about getting a better nights sleep. I’ve even heard some people tell me they don’t need a sleep study because “I sleep just fine”. And while getting some good quality sleep is nice, that’s really just a side effect of CPAP.

And yes, people do die in their sleep because of sleep apnea. However, not because their breathing stopped, but because their heart stopped. Your heart can only take so much stress before calling it quits.

Am I Preaching to the Choir?

It’s easy to put things off, especially if it’s ‘not that bad’. After all, you’ve been like that for so long now. I mean, that’s just the way you are, right?

So, have you settled into a kind of complacency? Is this really ‘just the way you are? Do you understand the dangers of untreated, or even under treated sleep apnea, but don’t think you’re in any danger? Maybe you just don’t understand the real threat that exists.

Or are your finances hindering you? Can you really afford to go through more tests? Let’s face it, even with insurance, there can be some hefty fee’s involved. And I can understand how you might feel that way.

Remember, knowledge can be powerful, but denial can be deadly. So please, carefully consider what’s important in your life, and act accordingly. Who knows, the life you save might be your own.

Till next time…Blessings.

Is it Attention Deficit Disorder or Sleep Apnea?

In children, sleep apnea and Attention Deficit Disorder can cause similar Attention Deficit Disorderbehavioral issues. It’s important to know which one you’re dealing with because each requires totally different forms of treatment. Let’s take a look at these; see how they’re similar, and also how they differ. We’ll also explore some treatment options.

We’ll start by defining the two.

Sleep Apnea

As you probably already know, Sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when your airway closes off in your sleep, causing you to stop breathing.

OSA occurs in an estimated 25% of kids ages 2-8. With the most common cause of apnea being due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Also, under developed jaw and/or oral structures play a critical role as well.

Sleep apnea in kids can also lead to problems with learning and behavior. They can be hyperactive, have problems adjusting socially, and become anxious and depressed.

Other issues include:

  • Bedwetting
  • Hormonal/metabolic imbalances
  • Stunted growth
  • Irritability/mood swings
  • Tiredness

Also, you can have sleep apnea and not snore.

Now we’ll take a look at ADHD.

ADD 

ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder; there are 3 forms of it.

1-Mainly inattentive. This is what think of when we hear the term ADD. Symptoms include:

  • Failure to pay close attention to things
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
  • Tends to be unorganized

2-Mainly Hyperactive (ADHD), or ADD with a hyperactive component. Symptoms include:

  • Fidgeting
  • Excessive talking-Including interrupting others when they’re talking.
  • Inpatient

3-Combined-Inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive.

They have trouble focusing and/or paying attention, especially if they’re not interested. On the other hand, they can be super focused. They also tend to be creative, intuitive and full of energy.

ADD/ADHD develops in childhood. In fact, kids as young as 4 years old can be diagnosed. But whats a normal attention span for kids, vs the average attention span of one with ADHD? Also, girls with ADHD are less likely than boys to show cognitive, psychiatric, and functional impairment.

Refer to the following link for more information.

http://www.drhallowell.com/add-adhd/top10questions/

If a kid has sleep apnea but is misdiagnosed with ADHD. Do the meds resolve the behavior issues? Leaving the kid with untreated sleep apnea? And how long will this go on until sleep apnea is suspected?

signs of ADHD–You don’t have to be loud, or bouncing off the walls to have ADHD. Women of all ages sometimes have a form where they are “quiet and spacey”.

Notice the similarities in symptoms. Therefore, if you just focus on the behaviors, and not on their sleep, a misdiagnosis could easily happen.

Is Attention Deficit Disorder Really a Disorder?

There are many theories about the cause of ADD/ADHD. However, the strongest research reveals the following as most likely causes:

  • Brain injury
  • Exposure to environmental (e.g., lead) during pregnancy or at a young age
  • Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight

Genetics plays a critical role. Also, brain scans show significant changes in brain structure. Therefore there are physical signs of Attention Deficit disorder; thus qualifying it as a disorder.

But does your child have ADD/ADHD or OSA?  From a behavioral stand point, you can’t be sure. So let’s look at some things that can show us the difference.

Tests

Attention Deficit Disorder

The following link is an interactive self-test for women and girls to determine the likelihood you have ADHD.

https://www.additudemag.com/self-test-adhd-symptoms-women-girls/?src=embed_link

However, there’s not really a test for ADHD. Your Doctor will look at things like your child’s behaviors, comparing them with other kids his/her age. The following criteria are used to determine the possibility of ADD/ADHD:

  • Are in constant motion
  • Squirm and fidget
  • Do not seem to listen
  • Have trouble playing quietly
  • Often talk excessively
  • Interrupt or intrude on others
  • Are easily distracted
  • Do not finish tasks

Additionally, a brain scan might also be ordered.

OSA

The following links will take you to questionnaires you can use to determine the likelihood you have sleep apnea.

Epworth Sleepiness Scale http://www.sleepmed.com.au/epworth-calculator.html

Berlin Sleep Questionnaire:

https://www.britishsnoring.co.uk/berlin_questionnaire.php

STOP-BANG http://www.stopbang.ca/osa/screening.php

Snore score (Not an interactive link) http://sleepapnea.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/snore-score.pdf

Upper airway examination.

And of course, the ‘gold standard’ diagnostic tool is an in lab sleep study. However, in some cases, a study can be done right at your home. These tests are called Home Sleep Tests, or HST’s.

The nice thing about home testing is that you can sleep in your own bed in your own home. And they cost much less than an in lab study. However, they tend to under diagnose sleep apnea.

Treatment options

Attention Deficit Disorder

Meds-Ironically, stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall are commonly prescribed for children with ADHD. However, as many as 30% of children either don’t respond to these meds, or they experience undesirable side effects. There are some non-stimulant medications that work, such as tricyclic antidepressants. But even these may have unwanted side effects.

However, there are complementary treatments that are showing promise. These include…

Biofeedback (Brain Training)-Sensors are attached to the child’s head and monitor brain waves. They’ll then play a computer game they control with their mind. this helps them focus.

Behavioral treatment-Works best when given by the parents and the child is 6 years old or younger.

Meditation, prayer, and Yoga have all shown some positive results.

Even something as simple as being outside in a place where there’s lots of greenery has been helpful to some.

For milder forms of ADHD-Eat healthy. Excercise. Minimize caffeine intake.

Fish Oil (Omega 3 fatty acid) can be ‘moderately effective’.

OSA

Removal of tonsils and adenoids is the most common way to treat pediatric sleep apnea, and can effectively eliminate OSA up to 90% of the time. If that’s not effective, then treatment with either CPAP, an oral appliance should be considered.

Positional therapy-Different methods to keep a person off their backs while they sleep. Weight management might not eliminate OSA, but can at least reduce its severity. And it just may be that using any combination of the above might bring the best results.

Also, OSA in children can resolve on its own. However, don’t rely on that, as the health risks are too great. Sleep apnea stresses your body, which leads to inflammation. And there’s a direct link with inflammation and disease. See http://sleepguyblog.com/__poor-quality-sleep-cause-disease/

Conclusion

Sleep Apnea and Attention Deficit Disorder can be easily confused in kids. This is because both can cause similar behavioral and cognitive issues. It’s absolutely essential that you as a parent know what to look for so that your child can receive proper treatment.

Please leave a comment, as you might have something to say that will help others.

Till next time…Blessings

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.