(12-17-2014 10:38 PM)metallikat36 Wrote: I've noticed my grandfather has some kind of apnea but I need to learn more in order to be able to discuss it with him in a way that he will be receptive to. I don't understand if his problem has to do with the sinuses, the tongue, or both. He's the kind of person you may only get one shot with in explaining something, so I want to be as helpful as I can. Here are two scenarios I have observed while watching him:
1. He is lying on his back. His mouth is slightly open. He is breathing and then kind of chokes and wakes up. I think in this case it obviously must mean his tongue is completely blocking breathing through both the mouth and the nostrils. Is this a correct assumption?
Not exactly, it is generally the the tongue and the rest of the soft palate that tends to block the airway when some people relax fully and fall asleep. To be considered serious enough to warrant treatment, a person must have that breathing difficulty at least five times per hour. That may not be much consolation but it is the criteria any doctor will apply.
2. He is lying on his back. His mouth is totally closed. He inhales through his nose. Then when he exhales, the air dose not go out of his nose. Rather his cheeks inflate and this pressure then bursts through his closed lips, allowing the air out. Then his lips close again. This cycle repeats. This is what confuses me. If the cheeks are inflating, to me that means the air is not getting out of the nostrils. And yet the nostrils are the route in which the air came in successfully. So here I am having trouble understanding if the problem has to do with the nostrils, the tongue, or both?
This can happen in some people that have a certain mouth structure that when the jaw is held in a certain position, the lips form a one-way valve that closes against their teeth when inhaling and opens during exhaling. It also is dependent on a certain amount of nasal restriction. Some people just naturally do that for no particular reason but generally nasal restriction is a part of it.
I was thinking of suggesting some more conservative measures to him as I know he will simply not go for CPAP and probably won't ever submit to any kind of sleep study. To this end I have come across two interesting options:
1. Tongue suction type of appliances: These suction the tongue, and then the lip on the appliance goes over the front of your teeth, effectively pulling your tongue forward while you sleep. There are several brands available for this, as well as some knock-offs on Ebay.
These devices are not generally successful and would be my least desirable method since it will be uncomfortable and cause drooling.
2. Neurocranial restructuring is a lesser known chiropractic adjustment that opens up the sinuses by precisely inflating some balloons in your sinuses and allows one to breath easily through them. They claim it works well for many cases of apnea, but not all, and hence a need for me to understand more about what my granddads specific problem is.
This would be out of the question since the proponents of it make such radical claims that you would be foolish to trust them.
Thanks for any insight!
You have your work cut out for you and the first step is to convince him that he has a problem that is serious enough that it requires attention and that fixing it will make him feel better and enjoy life much more. Then you need to tell him that he is lucky that there are several things that he can try that may help him.
Don't go for cpap therapy right away but suggest he try the nasal expander devices that you can get at your local drug store. They are called Sleep Right and I get mine at Walgreen's although I first got them from Amazon. They are soft and comfortable and work very well to open up the nasal passages, especially if there is a deviated septum problem, which I have. They might be all he needs.
With that as a first step, if it doesn't work then you will at least have gotten him into a dialog about his possible
problem. I don't envy you the job of selling him on cpap therapy, so good luck with that. It will depend on whether he feels this is causing him any problems other than making you uncomfortable.