Apparently from my Dr's opinion, I have had sleep apnea starting in my early teens. I'm 41 now. I suffered from low energy, easily fatigued, low testosterone (not low enough for replacement therapy), inability to control my weight (no matter how much I dieted and/or exercised, could not lose weight), low libido and erectile dysfunction (started being treated for ED at age 27, when V***** came on the market...was a lifesaver for me)...I have spent my life trying to figure out why, researching online, asked many of my Doctors what it could be, but they all told me I was healthy until 8 years ago I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea...I opted for surgery, which I am thankful I did...here is why. My first Dr to diagnose it was an ear, nose & throat guy and he told me that my genes had gifted me with a nasal structure built for near arctic conditions. He said my turbinates were overdeveloped and they are used for warming and humidifying cold dry air before reaching the lungs. I also had a broken nose that I had since childhood that was obstructing one side of my nose...needless to say I had always been a mouth-breather because my nose was always clogged and next to useless for breathing. Because of only being able to breathe from my mouth I developed severe claustrophobia of anything touching my face or covering my mouth. So on to the surgery... I had my nose re-broken and reset, turbinate reduction, tonsils, uvula and adenoids removed. It was brutally painful for months after, I had to re-learn how to eat and drink without choking, I am still glad I went through it because I can breathe fully through my nose now. The surgery worked...I dreamed again, something I hadn't done since childhood, I felt great, started losing weight, life was amazing for 6 months...then it slowly reversed and by a year later I had given up on it.
6 months ago....
I felt like a zombie, exhausted all the time, falling asleep driving, during meetings, even during sex, low libido, needing to sleep as soon as I got out of work, waking up 4-10 times a night, gaining weight. God bless my amazing fiance, she put up with it, I kept promising I would see a Dr to find out what was wrong for 3 years. She would keep one leg on my legs while sleeping and if I stopped snoring and stopped kicking in my sleep she would wake up to give me a shove to start my breathing again. Finally, I had had enough and made appointments with multiple Dr's. Finally one listened to me and actually looked at my records and told me that my symptoms were all likely due to apnea. Off to a sleep study I went.
Results: AHI 92.7 with blood oxygenation levels dropping to 66%
Next step, Titration study...that went badly as well...lowest they could get my AHI was 21 with full face mask pressure @ 14 / 18. Well I was prescribed a ResMed VAuto 10 with Amara mask. I have been struggling with it for a month now...Mask leaks due to drooling, and AHI averages 20 - 31.
I am feeling 100% better so it's definitely working, no more daytime sleepiness, no chronic exhaustion, lots of energy I never knew I had (my girl now has to tell me to shut up up and slow down because when I get excited I talk too fast), ED and low libido issues are fading. Life for me has improved drastically. I am still worried because My Dr says my AHI needs to be <=5.
They sent me a new mask because of all the leaks, forget the name, it came with three sizes of cushions and that was a fail...uncomfortable, had to make it so tight I would have lines on my faces for hours after waking up, no effect on AHI at all. had to go back to my comfortable but leaky Amara mask, they are sending me a larger size cushion for it now...I ordered mask liners which my fiance laughingly calls "Masky Pads" ... My Dr upped my pressure to 16 / 20 which just ruled out being able to use the liners because they leak too much at that high of a pressure. Ugh, I even downloaded and installed sleepyhead so I can learn how to improve my AHI. I can read some of it, I can see it's really bad with a large amount of OHA events. The software is pretty overwhelming and I don't know how to read it, much less what can be done to improve my numbers.
Any help on being able to read my results and learning to get my AHI in check would be greatly appreciated. I am still not dreaming which is my sign that I am not doing all that well and on the right track. I get this under control and I plan to lose some weight and hopefully lower my pressure, get one of those comfy nasal pillows.