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[Diagnosis] New here
#1
Hi everyone, 
so I just found out I have sleep apnea, I was told I was going to need a machine, test came back severe I don't understand what is severe. I was told by my family physician that I wake up I don't know if that means I stop breathing or do I actually wake up 73 times in an hour. Can anybody give me any more insight please.
thank you 
Bill
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#2
Welcome Bill and good job finding this forum. You'll find it to be a treasure trove of information giving you a tool to inform yourself as to your condition and what you can do to manage it best is one of the best investments in time you can make towards bettering your own health. Do not rely on the DME (Durable Medical Equipment supplier) or even your doctor to give you the complete picture. My advice is to read, read, read as much as you can on these forums and read all the informational articles.

I have a number of links in my signature you will find useful. Please make sure you don't get a "brick" or a machine that is not data capable. You need a machine that will provide usable data on your sleeping so that you can see what is going on and how effective the machine settings are for your needs. Read the "CPAP Machine Choices - read this before you accept a new machine" article at the top of this main forum before you accept any machine from your DME.

Then, download Sleepyhead Software and arrange the graphs as shown in the relevant links below so that you can post your nightly results for the experienced folks around here to give you tips on where to make improvements, if needed. Your DME and Doctor only care that you are using it for enough hours a night and that your AHI (Apnea Health Index) is below 5. They don't care how comfortable the therapy is for you or how you are sleeping in general. Thanks to the help of the kind people around here my AHI number has dropped to below 1 consistently each night. If you get a decent machine there are a lot of settings that can be changed by you, once you know what you are doing and based on advice you can get here on how to improve your comfort and efficacy of treatment.

Be happy that you have been diagnosed and this was found out for you, try not to get down about it. Life with Sleep Apnea causes many very bad things to occur with your health and can really affect your quality of life during the day. Most everyone around here will tell you that their sleeps and subsequent health and well being is much improved after using our CPAP machines and we wouldn't want to go back to life without them! In fact, I wish I would have been diagnosed sooner than at 47 years old since I have had sleep apnea for quite a few years before this, I am quite certain.

Also, please make sure to read Bonjour's Mask Primer (link below in my signature) about the various mask types and how to fit them. Getting the right mask for you and getting it to fit right will be one of the most important aspects of your treatment. Don't just settle for the first mask they give you. Try some different ones out to se what works best for you and your facial structure as well as comfort level.

Anyhow, welcome again and look forward to better sleeps down the road and an improvement in your health and well being. We are here to help you down that road!
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#3
Hi Bill, welcome to the forum. It sounds like your doctors have told you as much about sleep apnea as my doctors told me about chronic kidney disease, or sleep apnea.

So lets start at the beginning: the average person breathes about 15 to 20 times a minute while sleeping; that's 900 to 1200 times an hour. Your doctor has told you that you had 73 apneas (on average) each hour that you were asleep. This means that your breathing either paused or significantly diminished for at least ten seconds 73 times each hour. So you missed out on (roughly) 150 to 200 (or more) breathes each hour. Maybe 10 to 15 per cent doesn't sound like a lot, but it's enough to disturb your sleep, and give you a jolt of adrenaline that make your heart beat faster and your kidneys work harder - over time that causes damage to other organs as well. And even partial wake-ups make you sleepy the next day.

Now, what can cause you to pause your breathing? There are two causes, in general. An obstruction may cause the airway (nose, mouth, throat) to close up, preventing airflow; or the nerve signals that tell the chest and abdomen to expand may not get sent from the brain (stem?). The first is called an 'obstructive apnea', the second is called a 'central apnea' or 'clear airway apnea'. The first kind is more common, and more easily treated; the second can require a fancier and more expensive machine.

There are two aspects to treatment of sleep apnea, the machine and the mask, and you will find lots of excellent advice here in the forum. 

One thing about the machine that doesn't get mentioned very often is that it can move what seems to be a lot of air, but only at very low pressure. To be exact, if you take a straw and hold it in a glass of water with about two or three inches under water, and then blow 'just hard enough' to create a gentle stream of bubbles, you will have about the pressure a lot of people use in their CPAP machines. If you have a very long straw, and can dunk it 8 inches into the water, the pressure required for that gentle stream of bubbles is the maximum most people's machines can create. That gentle pressure is enough to keep our airway expanded and open, allowing us to breathe. Now the reason for that 'high flow'? We don't want to re-breathe our exhaled, CO2-rich,  air - it would kill us. So the machine provides lots of extra air, and the mask has lots of tiny holes to allow the extra air to dilute and pull out our exhaled air.

And that long-winded explanation is the basics of sleep apnea and its treatment with a CPAP machine. Feel free to ask more questions. others will chime in. I'm tired of typing.
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#4
That's just an excellent explanation pholynyk! I've never heard it explained that way. Thanks for taking the time.
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#5
Hi Wjmuncie,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
You came to the right place for help with your CPAP therapy.
Good luck to you on your journey and feel free to ask questions here.
trish6hundred
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#6
(04-07-2017, 04:35 PM)pholynyk Wrote: Hi Bill, welcome to the forum. It sounds like your doctors have told you as much about sleep apnea as my doctors told me about chronic kidney disease, or sleep apnea.

So lets start at the beginning: the average person breathes about 15 to 20 times a minute while sleeping; that's 900 to 1200 times an hour. Your doctor has told you that you had 73 apneas (on average) each hour that you were asleep. This means that your breathing either paused or significantly diminished for at least ten seconds 73 times each hour. So you missed out on (roughly) 150 to 200 (or more) breathes each hour. Maybe 10 to 15 per cent doesn't sound like a lot, but it's enough to disturb your sleep, and give you a jolt of adrenaline that make your heart beat faster and your kidneys work harder - over time that causes damage to other organs as well. And even partial wake-ups make you sleepy the next day.

Now, what can cause you to pause your breathing? There are two causes, in general. An obstruction may cause the airway (nose, mouth, throat) to close up, preventing airflow; or the nerve signals that tell the chest and abdomen to expand may not get sent from the brain (stem?). The first is called an 'obstructive apnea', the second is called a 'central apnea' or 'clear airway apnea'. The first kind is more common, and more easily treated; the second can require a fancier and more expensive machine.

There are two aspects to treatment of sleep apnea, the machine and the mask, and you will find lots of excellent advice here in the forum. 

One thing about the machine that doesn't get mentioned very often is that it can move what seems to be a lot of air, but only at very low pressure. To be exact, if you take a straw and hold it in a glass of water with about two or three inches under water, and then blow 'just hard enough' to create a gentle stream of bubbles, you will have about the pressure a lot of people use in their CPAP machines. If you have a very long straw, and can dunk it 8 inches into the water, the pressure required for that gentle stream of bubbles is the maximum most people's machines can create. That gentle pressure is enough to keep our airway expanded and open, allowing us to breathe. Now the reason for that 'high flow'? We don't want to re-breathe our exhaled, CO2-rich,  air - it would kill us. So the machine provides lots of extra air, and the mask has lots of tiny holes to allow the extra air to dilute and pull out our exhaled air.

And that long-winded explanation is the basics of sleep apnea and its treatment with a CPAP machine. Feel free to ask more questions. others will chime in. I'm tired of typing.

Note to Self: wiki article.  Title OSA treatment description for Layman

Or something like that.

Nicely done 

Fred
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#7
Thanks Fred. Feel free to adapt and expand it. Although I was trying to keep it fairly simple, links to expanded articles would probably be in order.

Pholy
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#8
It's that it is simple is what makes it very good.  This is a great article for anyone coming into pap to initially read.
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#9
Understanding_sleep_apnea

guess what, the wiki article is live.
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#10
Good work!

Rich
Apnea Board Member RobySue has posted a Beginners Guide to Sleepyhead Software here:  http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php...SleepyHead

Download Sleepyhead
Organize your Sleepyhead Charts
Post from Imgur


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