Do I really need this?
I'm struggling with whether to continue with the CPAP treatment. Here is my history.
I'd been waking with some numbness around the mouth, which could be related to other things, but wanted to check out the sleep patterns so had the overnight test.
The test was uncomfortable, as I'm not used to sleeping on my back, and the be was very hard (I have a waterbed at home). I was told after the test that I had an APNEA of 30 incidents per hour, most of which were hypopnea in nature, but my oxygen was lowering during these events. The lowest oxygen was 87, during one event, but mostly it lowered to around 90.
I've struggled getting the CPAP correct. Mostly it was waking me from too much pressure, but that got changed and I did finally get used to it. But I wanted to see how I was breathing during the day, so I bought an oxymeter and tested my oxygen levels during the day off and on.
I discovered that most of the time my oxygen level was around 92-93. I'm not a very active person, due to other physical problems - muscular damage from old radiation treatments. Since most of my events during the test were related to shallow breathing, I wanted to ask my sleep specialist about that.
When I talked to him, he shrugged off the daytime values, told me it was normal to have lower oxygen levels when at rest, and not to worry about it, then gave me another pep talk about the CPAP and how I needed it.
Okay, so, then we came into a hot spell. I couldn't stand the mask, and decided to take a break from it. I also exchanged my oxymeter for a wrist model for overnight checking.
I checked my oxygen rates for low oxygen events. I realize this is not the same as apnea events, but it was what I was concerned about. I discovered that while sleeping on my back I averaged about 5 events per hour where oxygen dropped - the measure being a drop in 4% for over 10 seconds. Also, the average time of an event was over a minute of low oxygen before recuperating. There were 13 events during the whole period that dropped below 90.
Sleeping on my stomach or side, my preferred position, resulted in an average of 2 events per hour - again, close to a minute in duration, but significantly fewer than when sleeping on my back. The ovenight average of incidents where oxygen dropped below 90 was around 3 per night.
I know this board is full of people who see the value of the CPAP, and I agree it can be necessary for many people. I plan to do some controls of oxygen levels during CPAP, but until today I really haven't had the courage to try it again. I sleep better on my stomach, and the mask won't work that way. But I do want to see how much difference it makes in the oxygen levels.
The thing is, if it's perfectly normal for oxygen levels to be as low as 92 during inactive periods in daytime, then why is it so important that I use a mask when my oxygen only falls below 90 2 or 3 times during the night?
As long as I continue to sleep on my stomach, it should be fine, right? My insurance is paying for this, so money is not the issue, but why use this if I don't really need it?