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Help! Just Diagnosed with Severe Sleep Apnea
#1
I am new to this forum and new to sleep apnea. I was recently diagnosed with severe sleep apnea after a sleep study during which I couldn't get to sleep for a long time. I take sleep medication, but it didn't help. I was just too nervous. The technician got enough data to confirm the severe diagnosis, but I have to do the test again for "titration." I also recently found I had heart problems and had pacemaker surgery six weeks ago. Atrial Fibrilation is one of my heart conditions, but I also have bradytachycardia. The sleep doctor tells me all this is related--heart issues and sleep apnea. I'm 63 years old, and I have high blood pressure. I'm trying to understand what's going on--the connection between heart, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. I have had a lot of fatigue the past couple of years, but I thought I was just getting older or working too much. I go back for my 2nd sleep study Dec. 12 when they will hook me up to a CPap machine to get a setting. I'm just all confused and surprised by everything going on. I didn't know I had so many health problems, all apparently caused by sleep problems. I'd appreciate any support. Thank you!Huhsign
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#2
Welcome. Sorry you needed to join us.

Read the links in my signature line for help in not getting screwed by your DME (CPAP seller) with the wrong machine. It's very important to get the right machine, especially one with full data capability so you can tell if your therapy is working.

There's lots of potential help here on this site as you start CPAP.

Sleep apnea can have many side effects and lead to a lot of medical problems. The problems may take a while to go away. Be careful to not blame everything on apnea, though. Us apneacs still suffer from all the problems that "normal" people do. Even doctors suffer from apnea "tunnel vision" much of the time and blame everything on apnea.
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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#3
Afib is often seen in people with cardiac changes due to high blood pressure (HBP). The left ventricle wall thickens and gets stiffer. Secondary to that, the left atrium enlarges because it has to precharge the stiff left ventricle. Afib can often be controlled with medication -- sometimes a beta blocker. You had to have a pacer likely because your heart was no longer firing in sequence as triggered by the sinus node.

So, you ask, how does sleep apnea contribute to this? Well, most apnea is caused by obstruction of the airway. When this happens, there is an adrenal release that raises blood pressure to try to keep tissues oxygenated. Along with its effect on the heart, each apnea causes an arousal from deep sleep -- so the quality of sleep is diminished. CPAP seeks to keep the airway open with a slight positive air pressure.

Did Sleep apnea cause HBP and the resulting cardiac changes? Possible; but likely not. Whatever the cause of the HBP and other heart problems, it now becomes important to treat them all.

Titration is about finding the pressure that brings your apnea index into acceptable numbers.

Please get copies of all reports; and when you get a prescription for a machine -- insist on a paper copy.
INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#4
Hi Esvee,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
You've come to the right place for lots of great and helpful information.
Best of luck to you as you start your CPAP journey and hang in there for more responces to your post.
trish6hundred
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#5
Think about it. When you are being choked, the body goes into a "fight or flight" mode.

The muscles in the throat are voluntary, like our arm muscles. We consciously control the swallowing and coughing and talking, and all that just as we do everything we do with our arm. And when we fall asleep, our throat relaxes the same as our arm does. For some people, our throat relaxes too much. Or there is not enough room due to small airway from fat or physical size or whatever. When those muscles relax, they take with it the tongue. All that falls down and blocks the airway. That blockage is called an obstructive apnea event (OA). Have 5 or more of those events per hour, and you get the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Every night, several times an hour, perhaps even once a minute, our airway closes. Our brain panics. It tries to wake us up. Our heart rate increases. Various chemicals are released. The oxygen level in our blood starts to drop. Cells start to react. Leg and arm muscles tense and our body jerks. We wake up enough to open the air way. We fall back asleep. Then it happens again. And again.

So yeah, untreated sleep apnea can cause all sorts of things to go wrong with the rest of the body. But it doesn't mean you are dying or you are going to croak in your sleep before your sleep test. It just means you did the right thing by following up with your doctor and by seeking help. Will treating sleep apnea reverse the damage? Eh, maybe. High blood pressure will lower. You'll get some energy back. You'll be getting sleep again which will really help the rest of the body. That alone is worth putting up with it!

Here's some stuff for you to read in the meantime:
http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php?title=Acronyms
http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php...efinitions
http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php...:Treatment
PaulaO2
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com


Breathe deeply and count to zen.

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.




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#6
Welcome to our home, and, your new home. The next month or two may be frustrating to you as you learn to sleep with a mask and hose. The key point here, is to *always* sleep with the mask, not just part of the time! In time, like most of us, you will come to a point that putting your mask on is a signal to sleep.

My CPAP life started many years ago, and while I did see a drastic change day one, the heart issues that led me to becoming a hosehead took close to ten years to get better. The hardest part is finding a mask to is both comfortable to you, and does not have too much leaks. Sadly it is normal to go through 3-12 different masks just to find one decent one.

We are all here to help, please don't be a stranger.
*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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#7
Nothing to be scared of. And yeah the SA likely caused the Afib HBP etc. At least it did with me. For years I battled uncontrolled HBP, PVCs Afib out of control bouts of tachycardia in and out of hospitals about every two weeks at the last.

I was put on every BP med combination of BP meds, beta blockers, anti arrhythmic meds, one which blew back after a couple of years and almost stopped my heart for 5 days.

Had ablation surgery for the Afib. No joy there either. Still had it. Thickened LV wall.

Relax get on the machine and watch stuff get better. Im 3 mos into Cpap. Three months ago I couldnt walk up a flight of stairs. I was able to walk a mile a day in two weeks after cpap with no trouble. Ive lost 42lbs since starting cpap and still losing.

Afib is gone after a about two weeks on the machine. PVCs gone, ultra sound shows my LV wall is thinning back slowly. Something called Ventricular after load that SA causes made it thicken.

MY BP is controlled with only two meds now to a level of 118 over 65. May have to drop another BP med if it goes any lower.

I had SA for years but didnt know what it was. Id never heard of it and never seen nor heard of a cpap machines until a year ago. Only then because a buddy visited that had one but didnt say much about it other than where could he hook it up. So I was untreated and like you thought I was just overworked and getting old. That feeling like a half dead person was normal.

Dont get all freaked out. Nothing to this, really. Once your used to sleeping with the thing youll wonder how you ever got by without it.

MAKE them give you an auto machine thats data capable. unless you need a Bipap or something. There is no reason to be given a straight cpap machine. Your insurance pays the DME the same amount if you get a no data plain cpap machine or a data capable auto machine that can be ran as a plain cpap or as an auto.

They will hang you with the cheapest machine you let them get by with cuz it makes more profit for the DME.
There will be others chime in that know more than me about the whole thing. But its worth it. Just count yourself lucky to have a doc that even considered having you tested for SA. Most never think of it.




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#8
Hi, I am new to this business as well. Although I have "moderate" sleep apnea (score 27), when I was on my back I scored 54, considered "severe" since it is above 30. While I was waiting for a machine (over 3 weeks), I slept only on my sides (and noticed the difference in wellness in about 5 days). You might have a discussion with your sleep doc on what you should do in the interim.

I don't credit my DME with the forethought necessary to maliciously match me with a cheapy machine. They have said there is no choosing of models, and that the one I got is what was prescribed. But, the one they did give me is rather new, is not incredibly noisy, and is data (removable SD card) capable.

I didn't wait patiently (haha pun) for someone else to read my data. I went right out into the web to find you all, and find a software that would show me what was on the card. Found the Freeware called Sleepyhead and it was very useful - thank you to jedimark.

Living "half dead" was starting to become normal to me as well. My wife says I have become "chatty" now that I am being treated. Rolleyes

   
Dedicated to QALity sleep.
You'll note I am listed as an Advisory Member. I am honored to be listed as such. See the fine print - Advisory Members as a group provide advice and suggestions to Apnea Board administrators and staff concerning Apnea Board operation and administrative policies. Membership in the Advisory Member group should not be understood as in any way implying medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.
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#9
(11-30-2014, 09:50 AM)quiescence at last Wrote: Hi, I am new to this business as well. Although I have "moderate" sleep apnea (score 27), when I was on my back I scored 54, considered "severe" since it is above 30. While I was waiting for a machine (over 3 weeks), I slept only on my sides (and noticed the difference in wellness in about 5 days). You might have a discussion with your sleep doc on what you should do in the interim.

I don't credit my DME with the forethought necessary to maliciously match me with a cheapy machine. They have said there is no choosing of models, and that the one I got is what was prescribed. But, the one they did give me is rather new, is not incredibly noisy, and is data (removable SD card) capable.

I didn't wait patiently (haha pun) for someone else to read my data. I went right out into the web to find you all, and find a software that would show me what was on the card. Found the Freeware called Sleepyhead and it was very useful - thank you to jedimark.

Living "half dead" was starting to become normal to me as well. My wife says I have become "chatty" now that I am being treated. Rolleyes
Hi quiescence at last,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
It's great to hear first, that you started treating your sleep apnea and then,, that you found us and took charge of your therapy right away.
Keep up the good work, much success to you as you continue your CPAP therapy journey.
trish6hundred
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#10
quiescence at last, Viewing your graph prompts me to make a suggestion. If you're still set on 4cm H2o minimum you could probably benefit from raising it some. The machine doesn't automatically raise the pressure fast enough to prevent some of your events since it often is starting from 4 cm H2o whereas if you had the minimum set somewhat higher it would have a head start on the pressure rise and likely reduce your AHI score significantly.
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