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How to gather more data?

I am a beginner just learning what sleep apnea means. I started my search because I often wake up drowsy and have woken up a few times in the night while holding my breath.

I took some oximeter data from a portable oximeter while sleeping at home, but I have no idea what to make of it! It has some evil-looking spikes downward during all the nights that I recorded, though.

Would this be the right forum to post a link to the screen captures of this data? I was hoping that someone more experienced than I could perhaps take a look and let me know if those spikes meant anything. Rest assured that I would keep digging, so your saying one thing or another wouldn't make you liable for the state of my health.

Thanks for your time and attention,

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Hi stonesleeper,
weLCOME! to the forum.!
Hang in there for answers to your question.
Best of luck to you.
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(02-07-2013, 01:30 PM)stonesleeper Wrote: Hello,

I am a beginner just learning what sleep apnea means. I started my search because I often wake up drowsy and have woken up a few times in the night while holding my breath.
Thanks for your time and attention,

cannot help you with the oximeter
you need sleep study to confirm the diagnosis of sleep apnea or/and other sleep disorder

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It's hard to know with just "spikes downward". How much of a drop in percentage of O2 saturation are we talking about? Significant desaturations while sleeping need to be checked out by a doctor. Desaturations and daytime sleepiness are symptoms of apnea, but they are symptoms of other things too. Can't rule apnea out, but can't self diagnose it either. Take your oximetry data to your doctor.

As Zonk said, you'll have to have a sleep study for a medical diagnosis of apnea. You might be able to take a home sleep study - but that will be between you and your doc.
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if those downward spikes are to 0% for a second, then it is just noise from the device, nothing to be concerned - if you see desaturations that last longer and they hit, say, 85% or below and hang on for three or four seconds or more (but NOT 0% - that means you are dead and it takes a relatively long time for the blood to desaturate to that level, in terms that are for us here relevant) then you are experiencing real blood oxygen desaturation and it must be looked at but a medical professional. Soooo...get the to thy physician, my friend.
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Welcome stonesleeper. Does your oximeter give % numbers as well as a graph? If so, could you post them, please? Daytime sleepiness can result from any number of conditions. Waking up holding your breath is not apnea. Since you've been researching you know that an apnea is an obstruction to for more than 10 seconds caused usually (in obstructive sleep apnea) caused by collapse of soft tissue in the throat and the tongue. The advice to get to the doctor is good advice. You can also google Epworth Sleepiness Scale as a test for apnea. It is not diagnostic, but a clue in your search for reasons for your daytime sleepiness. Good luck.
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Thanks for all the replies. For what it's worth, the spikes downward are very few, maybe 0.8 per hour, but they are nearly vertical and go down to about 78%-88% and seem very brief. The software I use (Sleepyhead) also detects about 8 heart events per hour of sudden rhythm spikes.

Has anyone tried the SleepStrip? I was thinking of purchasing that for 70 dollars instead of going for a sleep study, because they say that the results are comparable. Any thoughts?
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By all means try the SleepStrip. It will give you important information. What it can't do is strap a mask on you and determine the type of apnea and needed pressure to decrease your apneas. A sleep test involves many channels of data- an eeg, an ekg, sensors to check for restless leg syndrome, accurate O2 saturations in all sleeping positions, many more measurments and a qualified person to read and interpret all the data and if needed to prescribe a machine and mask. The SleepStrip would certainly get you a referral to a sleep center from your GP or in the door at a sleep center if you don't need a referral. I don't know anyone who has tried the Sleep Strip. I would be interested in how you like it and your results. I think we all would.
I hope you have insurance. Though a person can self diagnose by symptoms and the sleep strip, finding the correct pressure can be difficult and getting new supplies impossible except on "the black market" like Craigs list, yard sales, the classifides. This method will not diagnose other conditions which may cause your drowsiness and breath holding. Keep us posted.
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Ok, great. I will order it and get started that way. As an aside, I have never been diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, but I'm pretty sure I have it (but probably mild). Sometimes before sleep I get that irresistible urge to tense up one leg or the other. That is going to be the next thing I work on after I address the breath holding.

Thanks, and I will report back after I get the strip results.
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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) happens during the day, mostly during the evening right before bed (which has led them to think it is connected somehow to the circadian rhythm). It *can* happen during sleep but isn't as common. The movements are considered voluntary. The research I've done on it says there has not been enough study to determine if it happens often enough at night to say it impacts sleep. Because the movements are voluntary, when we are asleep, we aren't aware of the need to move them. RLS, as the name implies, involves just the legs.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) happens exclusively during sleep. Since it is directly observable, studies to link it to daytime sleepiness are more common. PLMD has been seen in patients with a wide array of sleep disorders and others, such as Parkinson's. It is so common in those of us with sleep apnea that it is part of each sleep study report. The movement can be any or all of them limbs. The jerks can be quite violent or mild twitching.

They are not the same but anyone can have both. For those of us with sleep disorders, the symptoms usually go away during CPAP use.

For me, watching my potassium intake helps with the RLS and my PLMD decreased a lot after I started using CPAP. Prior to that, I was kinda dangerous to be near while I slept. I once kicked so hard, I kicked my 85lb Rottweiler up and over the foot board. She was very angry with me. Since starting using the APAP, the jerks are almost all gone. I think I've had just a handful since November.
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