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Higher Altitudes and AHI
#1
Higher Altitudes and AHI
Just a question - I have noticed in my AHI tracking, that my best two nights (not contiguous) over the last 90 days have both been when I visited a higher altitude location (mountains of NC).

Anyone else notice a relationship like that?
A33  Coffee
The Pharaoh Who Unified Upper and Lower Apnea
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#2
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
Your machine will handle from 0 to I think around 10,000 ft. It adjusts itself accordingly.

Your body is a different matter. I live here in the mountains of NC and I experience the opposite. I have a higher AHI when I go visit my brother in NJ. It is doubtful that the elevation changes really make that much of a difference but your brain MAY notice it. Then add in the stress of traveling, different bed, different environment, night time habits are changed, etc. They probably contribute more than the elevation does.
PaulaO

Take a deep breath and count to zen.




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#3
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
Part of my diagnosis is High Altitude Sleep Apnea. I get a lot more central apneas at elevations above 7000 ft.
Began APAP 11/28/17
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#4
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
I live in an altitude of only 370 or so feet, but I have traveled extensively in the Western Mountains and in Austria and Switzerland Alps. I was initially concerned, but found that my machine  has worked fine wherever I went. The automatic altitude compensation seemed to take care of the various elevations quite well. The highest elevation I have used  CPAP was about 11,000. feet and had no problem . I always had the impression that my machine had to work a bit harder in the higher altitudes, but apparently the machines do a good job of compensating. I realize that really extreme altitude may pose a problem, but I don't have any expectation of sleeping at 14,000 or more. actually, I have found that my body doesn't tolerate those genuine extremes very well anyway.

TheDuke
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#5
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
Yep. My AHI has varied noticeably (but not wildly) when I've slept in higher/lower altitudes.
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#6
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
I live in a high desert valley in western CO - about 5000 ft. My sleep doctor told me that higher altitudes are associated with more centrals.
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#7
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
Purely anecdotal, I have snored terribly pretty much my entire life, from sea level (Jacksonville FL and Houston Tx) to moderate elevations (Santa Paula CA and Dallas TX) to my current 6600 ft elevation (where I have lived for the past 20+ years). I was not formally diagnosed with sleep apnea until 6 months ago because I never had money or time for a sleep study but all my doctors assumed I had it because of my symptoms. It did not get subjectively better or worse when I moved to 6600 ft elevation.
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#8
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
Given all the feedback on altitude not really being a factor in apnea - or the fact that most machines now take that into account anyway - I am wondering, the only other difference regarding the two nights in the mountains is that I slept on hotel beds - flat, hard and thin pillows....

Perhaps that is it.
A33  Coffee
The Pharaoh Who Unified Upper and Lower Apnea
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#9
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
A friend of mine lives at an elevation of 7200 feet and was diagnosed with Apnea early this year.  Sleep test showed AHI of 43 and O2 desaturation to 68%.  She got on CPAP and very quickly felt the benefits of therapy with her AHI dropping to between 1 and 3.  Quite the improvement. However, subsequent tesst showed her O2 still dropping to the 70's even with such a low AHI.  She is now on O2 with CPAP and she can't believe how much better she feels.  She has been tested for other causes for her drops in O2 and nothing has been found.  Dr attributes it to high altitude. She will eventually head to lower elevation and test that theory.  Point is low AHI at high altitude doesn't mean everything is fine.
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#10
RE: Higher Altitudes and AHI
(07-11-2018, 03:00 AM)Akhenaten33 Wrote: Given all the feedback on altitude not really being a factor in apnea - or the fact that most machines now take that into account anyway - I am wondering, the only other difference regarding the two nights in the mountains is that I slept on hotel beds - flat, hard and thin pillows....

Perhaps that is it.

One of the bigger differences with being in the mountains is the low humidity which can affect your airway, and of course lower partial pressure of oxygen which becomes a lot more of a factor above 6000 feet, and a lot more above 8000 feet.  People not adapted to altitude can find themselves in severe distress, with the most severe being High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE, generally above 8000 feet) which requires reducing altitude immediately. High altitude can bring a host of problems to treated and untreated people, so the best advise is stay hydrated and give yourself time to adapt to higher altitude.
Sleeprider
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