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Electric Muscle Stimulation?
Hi, I'm a newbie on the board, and feel like I'm suffering from apnea, since my sleep is frequently interrupted by my airway passages closing (I'm quite obese).

I've started reading up on the whole apnea phenomenon, and since it seems to be caused by airways collapsing during sleep relaxation (doesn't seem to happen to me while I'm awake), then I wanted to know if any kind of electrical muscle stimulation would be capable of keeping the airway muscles from going slack and collapsing.

You know, just like with those gimmicky electrical-muscle-stimulation weight-loss devices, could it be possible to keep the relevant muscles stimulated and firmed up during sleep, to keep airways from collapsing?
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Hi there and welcome to the board.

I have learned they that they call it "sleep apnea" because it only effects us while we're asleep.

I've also learned most of the gimmicks are unproven and don't work.

CPAP works.
If everyone thinks alike, then someone isn't thinking.
Everyone knows something, together we could know everything.
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Welcome to the board. I learned of my OSA at a weight of 409 - not too fat, just too short~! Anyhow, and bouncing around 318 or so now, and my apnea isn't any better - just thought I would share that. While many 'fat' people have OSA, there are more non-obese people that have it. So while being overweight can increase the risk, it is not known as a cause.

Losing weight once your apnea is under control becomes easier as you are not so tired all the time, so there is some hope.
*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."
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Gee, thanks for your enlightening responses.

Tell me, then - is there any way that this problem can be cured by some convenient surgery? I dunno - I was imagining liposuction of the nasal/throat region, or something like that. Does nothing at all work to permanently cure this problem? Gee, I'd really be surprised and disappointed to hear otherwise since it really bothers the heck out of me, ruins my sleep, and according to what I've read, it affects a lot of people.

Is this thing related to heredity then? Does it run in families?
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Currently, there is no 'cure'. Docs will tell you that throat surgery *can* cure you - but it's more of a case of just lowering your needed pressure. I had both nose and then throat surgery - and I am currently eight weeks post-op from my second knee replacement. I'd rather have a knee replacement before having the throat surgery again - not fun.

Go the CPAP route first, give it six months to see what it does, then, and only then would I possibly consider the throat surgery. Nose surgery is great~! FYI
*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."
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What about laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP)?

I was just reading about this a few minutes ago, and it's said to be less stressful than other surgical procedures. Gee, I figure if some of my flesh is in my way, then it needs to be removed.

What is the anatomical/physiological difference between people who do suffer from sleep apnea and those who don't? Do some of us have slacker muscles in some places, or just more fatty folds of tissue in some places, or what?

Furthermore, I'm 44, and have been suffering from this for the past couple of years now. Why is it happening now, when I've never had the problem before? I assume it's because I'm getting ever fatter as I get older -- is that a reasonable conclusion to make?
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welcome manofsan

It doesn't sound like you have been through a sleep study yet. perhaps you should go that route first and find out if you have OSA or not. You might have another medical condition or you could have OSA and other medical conditions or you could have a few medical conditions and OSA isn't one of them. So, it might be a good idea to find out what is causing your symptoms, etc. and then move forward from there. I would suggest not to wait too long because the problems that come from untreated medical conditions can be serious and some of them can cause you to wake up dead.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or in the medical profession. I am simply stating my opinion and thoughts.
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There are some experimental electrical stimulation techniques. They show some promise, but wait till there's more data.

Right now, apnea surgery is a bad idea.

Many people have bad, permanent side effects. CPAP is reversible by just stopping using it.
The success rates are low.
Many surgeons claim "success" if they reduce the patient's apnea numbers, but the patient isn't cured and may still need CPAP.
The surgery may make it more difficult to use CPAP.
If the surgery is a success now, you'll often still need CPAP later.
There are a lot of chop happy surgeons with delusions of grandeur and visions of dollars dancing in their heads.

I'm optimistic that we'll eventually get some sort of really effective treatment involving mechanical and electrical implants, surgery, etc. I would pass on all the current options unless you really can't do CPAP.

If you go out and get one of the current surgeries, you may find that you can't get the new and improved treatment when they find a technique that really works.
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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Before considering any surgery, please be thoroughly tested and have a positive diagnosis returned as to not only that you have sleep apnoea but what the cause is. Surgical procedures will only work for SOME types of apnoea, and even then the success rate is rather spotty and the after effects can be deeply uncomfortable.

Electromuscle stimulation won't work, because a)the cause of OSA types of apnoea usually are not affected by external muscle tone and there are no methods to stimulate internal throat muscle tone as of yet and b) you really don't want to be hooking up electrodes to your neck, full of critical veins, arteries and nerves and start shocking them. In fact, it would be incredibly dumb, and I have had more than a few people pass through my ER having done just that. At the least, you will have made yourself a case for a good osteopath, at the worst, well, let's just say it is plain dumb and leave it at that.

Because some forms of OSA are caused by internal throat tone, learning to play the digeridoo seems to help in some cases.

First find out what the cause of your problem is, then see if there are non-invasive ways to treat it before going for a more radical route.You will be a much happier person for not hacking your body up, and with the exception of life threatening conditions where there is no alternative, cutting parts of your body up is really a method of last resort, and even then the results are rarely 100% satisfactory. If it is just that you want a quick fix and not be bothered, then CPAP is the quickest fix and the least bother. Oh, and of course, change your lifestyle, diet, exercise and lose weight. Even standing for most of the day instead of sitting will make a difference.
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Hi manofsan,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
CPAP therapy is the best way to treat Sleep apnea, the surgeries don't have a really good track record from all I have read. Good luck to you on your decision.
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