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Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
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apibrgr Offline

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Post: #1
Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
Believe me, I'm trying to embrace the positive about using a CPAP machine: such as the fact that it could help with losing weight (I need to lose 20 pounds) & that I'm finding that I have less experience of night sweats during the night, possibly from the cool air which is blowing out from the mask (?)
But something is not making sense to me. Perhaps some experienced CPAP users can help me out: I took my sleep test at home for 2 nights while sleeping on my back, mainly because having the mask on my face made it almost impossible to sleep on my side, which is my preference. Well, of course, the results showed mild sleep apnea, so now I need to use a CPAP machine.
HOWEVER: everything that I've read says that if you sleep on your side (which I always do anyways, except for the time that I took the sleep test), that it is unlikely that you would experience the sleep apnea. Also, I've read that if you have sleep apnea, you get tired and sleepy during the day (which I never have)

Now that I have the CPAP, I am trying to sleep on my side with the hose coming out of my face, but it is a little more difficult to find that comfortable position, and I end up with a sore neck, sometimes a headache in the morning. I actually prefer sleeping on my side, slightly tilted on my stomach, but again: that hose thingie. I have tried the back sleeping, but wake up groggy.

So: I skipped the whole CPAP thing the other night (arrest me) & woke up feeling much better than I had the past week with it. Is there something wrong with me? Because that is the exact reverse of what I've been told about using the CPAP: "you'll feel so refreshed/so energetic".

The other thing (part 2): The nurse at my Dr.'s office said that I won't be tired or sleepy the next day, but I told her that I'm never tired or sleepy during the day anyways (she didn't seem to hear me). She also said I snore "per the sleep test", but I've been with the same sleep partner for 20 years who has told me he has never heard me snore (he snores-maybe his snoring, which wakes me up, drowns out my supposed snoring?....possibility, I guess). Anyways, could that non-snoring be because I sleep on my side?

So, I guess my bottom line thought/question is: why use a CPAP machine, when sleeping on your side resolves any potential sleep apnea? Is this realistic? Is it scientific?
11-17-2013 11:01 PM
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eviltim Offline

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Post: #2
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
My first thought is that the position we go to sleep in isn't necessarily the position we spend all, or even most of our time in bed in, though I agree that sleeping with lab equipment or a CPAP mask could influence it as well. The second is that sleeping on your side may improve apnea as you're no longer fighting gravity so much, but doesn't mean it isn't happening.

I encourage you to keep trying. I've been sleeping with the Swift FX for a few months, am a side sleeper and have no trouble getting to bed with it. I've also been losing weight Wink
(This post was last modified: 11-18-2013 12:41 AM by eviltim.)
11-18-2013 12:40 AM
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vsheline Online

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Post: #3
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
(11-17-2013 11:01 PM)apibrgr Wrote:  I took my sleep test at home for 2 nights while sleeping on my back, mainly because having the mask on my face made it almost impossible to sleep on my side, which is my preference. Well, of course, the results showed mild sleep apnea, so now I need to use a CPAP machine.
HOWEVER: everything that I've read says that if you sleep on your side (which I always do anyways, except for the time that I took the sleep test), that it is unlikely that you would experience the sleep apnea. Also, I've read that if you have sleep apnea, you get tired and sleepy during the day (which I never have)

So: I skipped the whole CPAP thing the other night (arrest me) & woke up feeling much better than I had the past week with it. Is there something wrong with me? Because that is the exact reverse of what I've been told about using the CPAP: "you'll feel so refreshed/so energetic".

Hi apibrgr,

I have mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea when sleeping on my side, which gets worse if sleeping on my back.

I suggest getting a wrist-mounted Pulse-Oximeter. Supplier #19 has a selection. (Link to Supplier List is given at top of every forum page.)

If oximeter shows you have low oxygen events during the night when not using CPAP, you could try the old (but very effective) trick of wearing a teeshirt with a tennis ball in a pocket sewn right between the shoulder blades, which will make sure you won't roll onto your back very long while asleep.

If your oximeter still shows low oxygen events when you know you are never on your back, then I would suggest persevering with CPAP.

Certainly, I encourage you to persevere with CPAP unless the oximeter shows you do not have a problem as long as you stay off your back.

If you do stop CPAP therapy, use oximeter to re-check from time to time, especially if you ever find you are getting poor memory, fatigue or waking up with racing heart or other signs of OSA.

Definitely keep your doctor informed of what you are doing (or not doing, as case may be).

(11-17-2013 11:01 PM)apibrgr Wrote:  The other thing (part 2): The nurse at my Dr.'s office … also said I snore "per the sleep test", but I've been with the same sleep partner for 20 years who has told me he has never heard me snore (he snores-maybe his snoring, which wakes me up, drowns out my supposed snoring?….possibility, I guess). Anyways, could that non-snoring be because I sleep on my side?

I would think yes, since snoring can be positional just like OSA, and may only happen when on our back.

Take care,
--- Vaughn

Added:

I see from your other link that your APAP machine is raising pressure to 9.

Unless you were sleeping on your back, the fact that the pressure adjusted itself to 9 is clear indication you need CPAP therapy. I suggest trying the tennis ball trick when using the machine, to see if the pressure still auto-adjusts above the minimum pressure even when you are sure you are never spending time on your back.

http://www.apneaboard.com/forums/Thread-...on-machine

Membership in the Advisory Member group should not be understood as in any way implying medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment. The Advisory Member group provides advice and suggestions to Apnea Board administrators and staff on matters concerning Apnea Board operation and administrative policies - not on matters concerning treatment for Sleep Apnea. I think it is now too late to change the name of the group but I think Voting Member group would perhaps have been a more descriptive name for the group.
(This post was last modified: 11-18-2013 02:21 AM by vsheline.)
11-18-2013 02:04 AM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
Sleeping on your side is not a cure for obstructive sleep apnea. It may decrease it slightly, but it won't make it go away. It certainly will not make it less enough to the point you would not need a CPAP. And you may think you are a side sleeper but you don't know what you do when asleep. Unless you record it or unless your partner sits and watches with at stop watch and log book, you don't know.

Losing weight is a good thing for your entire body and mind. Will it help your sleep apnea? Certainly. Will it make it go away? Maybe. If you have a lot of fat in your neck AND you lose that fat in your neck, yes, it will probably help your sleep apnea. But remember, skinny people have sleep apnea, too. There are a lot of causes of obstructive sleep apnea and weight is just one of them.

Getting used to a CPAP takes effort. Just as it takes effort to remember to take medication on time. And to remember to check blood sugar levels. Or to decrease salt intake. Or to watch our carb intake. Or whatever. And masks are far from one size fits all! If one does not work, try another. And another. Keep at it until you find one that works. Not all nasal masks are the same.

But we can give advice and all that but it's all just wasted time and effort if you aren't going to keep at it and take care of yourself. Only you can do this. You can keep coming up with excuses or you can take charge of your health.

PaulaO2
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com


Breathe deeply and count to zen.

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
11-18-2013 02:44 AM
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trish6hundred Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
Hi apibrgr,
I know CPAP therapy can take some getting used to but I encourage you to stick with it.
Don't be shy about asking to try different masks; sometimes it takes quite a few different ones 'till you find what will work for you.
Hang in there for more responses to your post.

trish6hundred
11-18-2013 07:53 AM
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apibrgr Offline

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Posts: 18
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Machine: REMstar Auto A-Flex
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Swift FX for her
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CPAP Pressure: 20cm-4cm (?)
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Other Comments: I am not sure what "XZero" means, but it is on one of the deilvery tickets for the equipment

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Post: #6
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
(11-18-2013 02:04 AM)vsheline Wrote:  
(11-17-2013 11:01 PM)apibrgr Wrote:  I took my sleep test at home for 2 nights while sleeping on my back, mainly because having the mask on my face made it almost impossible to sleep on my side, which is my preference. Well, of course, the results showed mild sleep apnea, so now I need to use a CPAP machine.
HOWEVER: everything that I've read says that if you sleep on your side (which I always do anyways, except for the time that I took the sleep test), that it is unlikely that you would experience the sleep apnea. Also, I've read that if you have sleep apnea, you get tired and sleepy during the day (which I never have)

So: I skipped the whole CPAP thing the other night (arrest me) & woke up feeling much better than I had the past week with it. Is there something wrong with me? Because that is the exact reverse of what I've been told about using the CPAP: "you'll feel so refreshed/so energetic".

Hi apibrgr,

I have mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea when sleeping on my side, which gets worse if sleeping on my back.

I suggest getting a wrist-mounted Pulse-Oximeter. Supplier #19 has a selection. (Link to Supplier List is given at top of every forum page.)

If oximeter shows you have low oxygen events during the night when not using CPAP, you could try the old (but very effective) trick of wearing a teeshirt with a tennis ball in a pocket sewn right between the shoulder blades, which will make sure you won't roll onto your back very long while asleep.

If your oximeter still shows low oxygen events when you know you are never on your back, then I would suggest persevering with CPAP.

Certainly, I encourage you to persevere with CPAP unless the oximeter shows you do not have a problem as long as you stay off your back.

If you do stop CPAP therapy, use oximeter to re-check from time to time, especially if you ever find you are getting poor memory, fatigue or waking up with racing heart or other signs of OSA.

Definitely keep your doctor informed of what you are doing (or not doing, as case may be).

(11-17-2013 11:01 PM)apibrgr Wrote:  The other thing (part 2): The nurse at my Dr.'s office … also said I snore "per the sleep test", but I've been with the same sleep partner for 20 years who has told me he has never heard me snore (he snores-maybe his snoring, which wakes me up, drowns out my supposed snoring?….possibility, I guess). Anyways, could that non-snoring be because I sleep on my side?

I would think yes, since snoring can be positional just like OSA, and may only happen when on our back.

Take care,
--- Vaughn

Added:

I see from your other link that your APAP machine is raising pressure to 9.

Unless you were sleeping on your back, the fact that the pressure adjusted itself to 9 is clear indication you need CPAP therapy. I suggest trying the tennis ball trick when using the machine, to see if the pressure still auto-adjusts above the minimum pressure even when you are sure you are never spending time on your back.

http://www.apneaboard.com/forums/Thread-...on-machine

It is interesting that you mentioned the 9 pressure: that is the night I decided to sleep entirely on my back. Since then, I've been sleeping on my side. It's been 7.9, 7.6, 7.3 & last night 6.9. I sleep with a lot of pillows & one is always behind me, which actually keeps me from sleeping on my back. Thanx for your input. I need all the education I can get.
11-18-2013 09:07 AM
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PollCat Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
I agree with what Paula and trish have said. Getting used to the therapy is a matter of setting your mind to the idea that the alternative (not using the machine) will shorten your life-span. Once you fully believe you need the machine, you'll never be able to sleep without it.

Also, you really need to find the appropriate mask for yourself. I have finally found one that allows me to sleep on my back, side, or stomach without any significant leakage issues.


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA.
INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
11-18-2013 09:17 AM
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TheDuke Offline

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Post: #8
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
I have a comment regarding side sleeping and apneas. I am a life-long "side sleeper", and before beginning CPAP I was tested with about 60 apneas per hour, and that was sleeping on my side as usual. I do believe that "back sleeping" accentuates the number of apneas, and is definitely a bit harder to breathe that way.

For several years (7 or so) I have been using the old-style ResMed Activa mask and I find that it has worked excellently in just about any position other than face down. My present machine reports leaks, AHI, etc. and in a years time I have experienced only one leak episode, and then I found that a mask/hose connection was loose.
11-18-2013 04:19 PM
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sir_sleeps_alot Offline

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Post: #9
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
It is neither realistic nor scientific to think that side sleeping is a cure for sleep apnea. If this were the case, the primary treatment for sleep apnea would be back umpers and tennis balls, not $1,000 cpap set ups.

Some people find that their sleep apnea improves on their side compared to their back, but improvement is not guaranteed. I actually do worse on my side than my back.

As far as snoring goes... you don't have to snore to have sleep apnea. My dx is severe obstructive sleep apnea but I'm not a snorer. I only snored for 7 minutes out of my entire sleep study.

It's possible that side sleeping *may* reduce your apnea to within normal limits, however, going to sleep on your side and even waking up on your side, doesn't mean that you stay that way all night. The only way to know whether or not your sleep apnea resolves on your side is to have another sleep study.

It sounds as though you don't believe you have sleep apnea, at least when you sleep on your side. Given that you don't snore (per your report) and that you aren't tired or sleepy during the day, what prompted you to have a sleep study in the first place? Are you still having those symptoms?

I can't offer any tips on how to make cpap easier as I'm only on my fourth night. I can, however, tell you that there are a ton of different masks available. You may have to try a couple different masks, but it is very likely that you will be able to find one that will allow you to sleep on your side.

Hang in there and good luck!



(11-17-2013 11:01 PM)apibrgr Wrote:  Believe me, I'm trying to embrace the positive about using a CPAP machine: such as the fact that it could help with losing weight (I need to lose 20 pounds) & that I'm finding that I have less experience of night sweats during the night, possibly from the cool air which is blowing out from the mask (?)
But something is not making sense to me. Perhaps some experienced CPAP users can help me out: I took my sleep test at home for 2 nights while sleeping on my back, mainly because having the mask on my face made it almost impossible to sleep on my side, which is my preference. Well, of course, the results showed mild sleep apnea, so now I need to use a CPAP machine.
HOWEVER: everything that I've read says that if you sleep on your side (which I always do anyways, except for the time that I took the sleep test), that it is unlikely that you would experience the sleep apnea. Also, I've read that if you have sleep apnea, you get tired and sleepy during the day (which I never have)

Now that I have the CPAP, I am trying to sleep on my side with the hose coming out of my face, but it is a little more difficult to find that comfortable position, and I end up with a sore neck, sometimes a headache in the morning. I actually prefer sleeping on my side, slightly tilted on my stomach, but again: that hose thingie. I have tried the back sleeping, but wake up groggy.

So: I skipped the whole CPAP thing the other night (arrest me) & woke up feeling much better than I had the past week with it. Is there something wrong with me? Because that is the exact reverse of what I've been told about using the CPAP: "you'll feel so refreshed/so energetic".

The other thing (part 2): The nurse at my Dr.'s office said that I won't be tired or sleepy the next day, but I told her that I'm never tired or sleepy during the day anyways (she didn't seem to hear me). She also said I snore "per the sleep test", but I've been with the same sleep partner for 20 years who has told me he has never heard me snore (he snores-maybe his snoring, which wakes me up, drowns out my supposed snoring?....possibility, I guess). Anyways, could that non-snoring be because I sleep on my side?

So, I guess my bottom line thought/question is: why use a CPAP machine, when sleeping on your side resolves any potential sleep apnea? Is this realistic? Is it scientific?
11-19-2013 01:45 AM
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Peter_C Offline

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Post: #10
RE: Curious about using cpap: is it necessary?
Going way back in time (been on my machine for 12+ years), I learned to sleep on my stomach (yes, even as a fat person), as that was how I got my best sleep. If I slept on my side I'd be 'ok', but if I went to my back, I would wake up choking. I was labeled years ago with 'severe life-threatening sleep apnea'.

It really comes down to the 'degree of apnea' that *you* have. Many people go through life with OSA that remains untreated. Some early deaths can now be pointed at long-term untreated OSA.

Some folks adapt to the machine and stuff easily, others fight it and fight it for months before they get used to it. You may currently sleep better without it simply because that is what you are used to doing. The tennis ball trick works, and I would try it if I were you, and the same for the Oximeter.

The end-goal here, is both better more restful sleep, and keeping your O2 stats at a decent level all night. If that goal can be (proven) achieved simply by side-sleeping then you're in like flynn. But verify and prove it. My heart issues were caused by OSA, and my life will be shorter because of it. - But again, I am not you, and in my case OSA was looked at because of the heart issues.

*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional. My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."
11-20-2013 01:57 PM
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