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Confused and Need Encouragement
#1
Can it really be Sleep Apnea? I would have never considered it... I'm young, thin, female. Recently my doctor said she thought my symptoms were consistent with it.

From puberty onward I've had:
sleep paralysis and terrifying nightmares (these symptoms largely stopped when I stopped sleeping flat on my back or stomach)
extreme muscle tension (esp. neck and shoulders)
+ bruxism / jaw tension (teeth grinding)
occasional migraines
constant fatigue
ANXIETY
+ occasional slurring of words?
+ occasional difficulty swallowing
heavy/tight feeling in chest
difficulty focusing
depression

I've always slept with earplugs in because if I don't, I wake up a lot/sleep really lightly. Then I wondered, if perhaps I still do wake up, I'm just not as aware of it because I can't hear anything?

I've been a low energy person as far back as I can think, at least since puberty. I have no frame of reference for a "refreshing" night sleep, I've always assumed all adults wake up somewhat "tired" in the morning and this is a normal part of aging (I'm in my 20s).
The idea of a solution bringing energy and drive seems WAY too good to be true. I don't want to get my hopes up, as I feel like maybe expectations of being refreshed, energized, etc., are unrealistic. But I am tired of feeling like my youth is wasted on anxiety, low mood, and exhaustion.

It's emotionally draining trying to understand how to get a diagnosis and what the implications of the diagnosis, as well as treatment, are (sleeping with a CPAP machine??? this sounds so uncomfortable and weird)....... expensive... time consuming... intimidating.......???
I really know nothing, I've only just delved into this whole concept. Can anyone offer advice? Encouragement? Is it difficult to get diagnosed? Are there certain kinds of doctors? Expensive? Is treatment accessible? Thanks community.
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#2
symptoms seem consistent with sleep apnea.
to get a diagnosis your doctor needs to order a sleep study. in home sleep study is far less expensive if you have a high deductible or paying without insurance.

it is a bit weird wearing the mask at first but once you start seeing improvements you'll never want to sleep without it again.

it's not a fix all for everyone although for some that take to it easily see big benefits immediately. myself, i felt worse when i first started but in time i started feeling better and now i can't imagine ever wanting to sleep without it.
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#3
Hi pixelkitty. I'm still fairly new to CPAP use (a couple of months), so I'll leave it to others to give you details.

I just wanted to say that I discovered that I had sleep apnea when I used a sleep monitoring app (I used SleepBot - there are lots of them - they record sound). I used the app because I was waking up at the same time every night and wanted to find out if some noise was disturbing me. I was shocked to hear myself making gasping sounds.

I wouldn't say that this is a fool-proof method. If you don't hear any sounds indicative of sleep apnea, that's not a guarantee that you don't have it. I think it's helpful to have a listen to what sounds you may be making while you're asleep.

If you want to check out a non-CPAP treatment for sleep apnea, check out didgeridoo playing. Seriously.

I got a didgeridoo a couple of months ago but have pretty much decided that I need more energy to learn to play it, so I'm focusing on getting used to CPAP right now.

Sleep apnea is a hot medical topic right now. I'm very grateful that CPAP technology exists, but I do like the idea that I might be able to actually cure the sleep apnea. If you do a web search, you can find articles about airway exercises and also less cumbersome technology to use while sleeping to keep the airway open. (These things may be "not proven effective" or still in development - I mention them mostly as possibilities for the future.)

I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia in my late 20s (I'm in my mid-50s now) and was used to waking up not feeling so great.

I *have* had a few days since I started using CPAP where I've awoken with more energy than I've had in years, but that doesn't happen every day. Everything I read says that improvment is gradual and takes months, at the minimum.

So if I were you, I'd consider the possibility of sleep apnea as something to definitely get checked out.

I'm sure you'll get more details and responses from other people.
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#4
Sleep disorders come in many forms including sleep apnea, RLS, jaw clenching and many others. Sleep disruption is what they have in common. The only way to eliminate sleep apnea as an issue is to do asleep test that evaluates that. I wouldn't worry about the therapy until you know that it addresses a problem you have. That will take a discussion with your doctor and recommendation for sleep study. A study may turn up a different problem, or confirm your "fears" about having sleep apnea.

Take the first step, and if you find sleep disordered breathing is your problem, we're here to help you make the adjustment. At least you should get an answer one way or the other.
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#5
Welcome to the forum! When reading your adjectives for people who use a sleep machine, I had to agree; it's weird, etc. as you wrote. However, it's the best non-invasive treatment for sleep apnea that's been found. As far as being too young (and thin), another recent question posted here was is a person ever too old for this. My understanding is that the answer to both questions is no, sleep apnea may affect anyone.
First thought, have you spoken with your doctor who suggested that you may benefit from apnea treatment about any of your questions? Can your doc arrange for you to have a sleep study to determine if you do have apnea and how severe and of which type? Check your health insurance policy to see what it covers as far as a sleep study and equipment costs. In some cities, sleep centers are hospital based, while elsewhere they are private organizations. A sleep study may be something you can do at home; otherwise, they are done at a sleep center, and as mentioned, the home version is less expensive.
Also, there is some good introductory info on sleep apnea and its treatment here on the apneaboard website.

David
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#6
(03-07-2016, 09:30 PM)pixelkitty Wrote: I've always assumed all adults wake up somewhat "tired" in the morning and this is a normal part of aging (I'm in my 20s).
The idea of a solution bringing energy and drive seems WAY too good to be true.

No, waking up tired is not 'normal'. In my case I have 'severe' Apnea and generally don't wake up tired. I'm only 1/2 way through a trial as I recently got 'dobbed in' to my GP by my wife as she reckoned I snored and stopped breathing during the night.

Quote:It's emotionally draining trying to understand how to get a diagnosis and what the implications of the diagnosis, as well as treatment, are (sleeping with a CPAP machine??? this sounds so uncomfortable and weird)....... expensive... time consuming... intimidating.......???

You probably need to tell us where you are (country/state) as diagnoses methods and steps vary considerably. The 'upsides' outweigh the inconvenience associated with the machine and mask.

Quote:Can anyone offer advice? Encouragement?

Start by educating yourself, find out what the requirements are to get a sleep study done (eg. in Australia you need a referal from your GP) and get booked in. Other than the tiredness issues, according to my Doc, there are long term issues associated with Apnea.
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#7
Hi pixelkitty,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
You might talk to your doc about a sleep study.
Hang in there for more responses to your post and much success to you, good luck on your journey.
trish6hundred
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#8
(03-07-2016, 10:23 PM)HGMonaro Wrote: Other than the tiredness issues, according to my Doc, there are long term issues associated with Apnea.

please tell us that's a typo and a doctor didn't actually say there are no health issues associated with apnea.


If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in health problems, including:

High blood pressure
Stroke
Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
Diabetes
Depression
ADHD
Headaches
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work or school and motor vehicle crashes
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#9
(03-07-2016, 10:37 PM)Rob S Wrote:
(03-07-2016, 10:23 PM)HGMonaro Wrote: Other than the tiredness issues, according to my Doc, there are long term issues associated with Apnea.

please tell us that's a typo and a doctor didn't actually say there are no health issues associated with apnea.

I think I fixed it while you were replying... however you seem to have quoted the fixed version unless you fixed it too?
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#10
Thank you all for the input. I feel this is pretty serious to consider... I made an appointment with my primary care physician--I'm hoping if I get a referral for sleep dr or study that it will be covered... I am not sure. Local healthcare is pretty backed up so it will be a while before I get to find out.
This community is helpful though. I appreciate you all.
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