Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a throat thing. The muscles of our throat (the ones we use to swallow and speak) are considered voluntary. Meaning we consciously use them the same as we raise our arm to get our hand up so we can scratch our nose. And just like that arm relaxes, when we go to sleep, the throat muscles relax. Except these muscles (and the tissue covering them) also have air going back and forth over them as we breathe. Sometimes, they start to vibrate in the breeze - that's a snore. That vibration and/or the relaxed state can cause the throat to collapse (the tissue falls back and covers airway) and we stop breathing. Our bodies and brain then try to wake us up so we open the airway on our own and breathe again. Sometimes we simply open our mouths and, depending on our position, that is enough. For a while. If that doesn't happen or doesn't work, then our brain starts to make us twitch. Arms, legs, chest, sometimes we are jerking fairly hard as the body and brain are noticing the lack of oxygen and the build up of CO2.
Normally, folks notice they are tired during the day or that they are quite good at cat napping. Sometimes we don't even know we are doing it because it is habits just like we don't notice how often we scratch our nose during the day. We just do it.
It could be you are tired and showing symptoms but don't realize it. If you use the CPAP, you may find out!
The first thing you need to do is obtain a copy of your sleep study. Don't let them tell you it is umpteen pages long and you'd never understand it. Tell them you want the report version. Then once you get that, you can figure out what kind of events you had, how often, did you twitch, was it positional, etcetera etcetera.
The second thing you need to do is forget about it being hereditary. It's really not. In some ways, it kinda is if it is body type related. Men with thick necks just like their dads. Men and women who, like their parents, have more weight all over vs just around the middle (the fat in the neck area adds weight to those relaxed throat muscles/tissues). But just because no one else in your family has been diagnosed does not rule it out for you. And it is not something we are born with and we can get it at any age. I was in my early 40s. My brother's best friend was in his mid 30s. We had a member come here to ask for advice for his 4yr old.
And the third thing is you need to realize that CPAP treatment is not a cookie cutter. Each of us are different. You take four people with an AHI of 63 and I can almost guarantee that they will all 4 have different pressures, different masks, and different sleep patterns. We are all different in real life, why not in our CPAP treatment?
And fourth, there's a lot of reasons folks don't succeed with CPAP treatment. The most common is, in my opinion, they just gave up. Didn't want to be hassled. Didn't want to be tied down. To them I say Read This
. The second most common is mask issues. Sometimes you find the right mask the first time because the person fitting you actually listened to you and selected a mask to fit you and your sleeping style. Then there are those of us who go through a LOT of masks before finding the right one. Each type of mask is different and even each mask within each type can be different. As the supplier (DME) what they mask policy is. How long do you get to try one out before you can turn it in and try another? Most of them have this kind of thing.
Here's some stuff for you to read:
an idea of what kind of machine to look for: http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php...ne_Choices
mask types: http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php?title=CPAP_mask
images of real people using their masks: http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php?title=Mask_types