(03-16-2014 09:06 AM)WakeUpTime Wrote: That leads me to a few more questions:
(1) What they heck would have happened to us humans 30-100 years ago with severe sleep apnea? Did people just die a few years later of something of the heart/brain/lungs and the "root cause" was never really known?
The really severe cases where it seemed as though someone was truly at risk of dying in their sleep? Prior to CPAP, they were given tracheotomies. Serious---holes were cut into their throats so they could breath at night. The less serious cases? They were ignored. "It's just part of aging" or "It's normal for you" or "There's nothing much we can do for you" or "try sleeping with a ball sewn in your shirt to see if that keeps you off your back". Heck, it wasn't even really tested for prior to CPAP because there really wasn't much they could do to treat it.
As for dying? Yes, people with untreated OSA 30-100 years (or more) ago, simply died younger. They had strokes or congestive heart failure. Or they died "peacefully in their sleep" without anybody looking into what actually caused the person to die "peacefully in their sleep" at age 50 or 60 instead of living to 75 or 80.
Quote:(2) What the heck is really causing all of this? Maybe I've seen too many conspiracy shows, but is it filling in our teeth from 40 years ago that have been "leaking" for 30-40 years? Is it radiation in the air floating around from Japan or wherever? We know it's not a local issue because it seems to be a global issue. Of all the Sleep Apnea articles, none of them really looked into that. Is it something in our human diet that's changed in the past 30-50 years? Is it going from a meat/fruit/veg diet to a massive carb diet going it? The sleep clinics, distributors and manufacturers will surely never want to investigate that subject! Their business has mushroomed in the last 5-10 years.
A lot of it is just more awareness. And some of it is the fact that as PAP has become more comfortable, docs have been willing to test more people who are "borderline" in terms of symptoms. Thirty years or so ago, during the dawning of the CPAP age, only the people with the most serious OSA were put on PAP because the machines were large, clumbersome, noisy, and very uncomfortable. The risk/benefit analysis for folks with mild to moderate OSA went more like this: The cost of treatment probably outweighed the benefits since being on CPAP back then really did make things like traveling much more difficult and the masks really were much harder to adjust to.
Another factor is that for a variety of reasons, modern Americans are simply fatter
than they used to be. And for a large number of OSA sufferers, the weight really is a factor. They may have been borderline or moderate OSA before the weight gain, but with the weight, the OSA went from borderline to moderate or from moderate to severe.
And another factor has been an increasing understanding that for people who sucessfully adapt to PAP, there's a real increase in quality of life as well as some potential health benefits. For people with moderate or mild apnea, the quality of life issues are actually a better reason for PAPing than prevention of health complications---or at least that's what some long term studies indicate according to my sleep doc.
Quote:I can't believe the impact on memory, and perhaps "reasoning", as a result of the (possibly) years of sleep apnea. It's starting to explain a whole lot of things. Sadly, it makes me wonder what things would have been like for the past 20-30 years (for all of us) if it was diagnosed properly at that time. The future is surely brighter for humanity's future generations as a result of the diagnostic and treatments being perfected.
What would have happened with a diagnosis of OSA 20-30 years ago would have been determined by the severity---both in terms of AHI and the depths of the O2 desats. If your OSA is in the mild or moderate range, you probably would NOT have been put on PAP 20-30 years ago because PAP was seen as a unnecessary, but difficult therapy to adjust to if there were not real clear identifiable health risks. And at the time, moderate and mild OSA were not seen as "life threatening". If your OSA was severe, you'd probably be given a choice about whether you wanted to try a PAP machine, but unless your O2 levels were seriously low, you probably would not be pushed into doing PAP therapy the way docs push you into therapy now.
It's rather like high blood pressure as a health issue: Prior to the 70s, doctors just assumed that blood pressure would naturally rise with age and hence the blood pressure needed to diagnose HBP in a 50 year old was substantially higher than it was to diagnose HBP in a 30 year old. Large numbers of 40 adn 50 year olds were walking around with untreated or under treated HBP in the 50's and 60's and some of them were dying of all kinds of things that we now know are associated with HBP.