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Just learned I have sleep apnea, waiting to hear full results of sleep study
I'm 28 years old, and I have had (diagnosed) high blood pressure since the spring. My PCP sent me to a pulmonologist, who ordered a sleep study, thinking I might have sleep apnea causing my high blood pressure.

I just did the study last night, pretty sure it was a waste of time. However, the technician (without really giving me my results as I am sure they are not allowed to) indicated I did indeed have some events during the study. I never reached REM sleep, and didn't think I had slept at all, but I apparently did! I'm now waiting for my results to be sent to my pulmonologist and for him to tell me what to do next.

I can't seem to decide if I'm relieved that a cure for my high blood pressure may be in sight, or terrified that I now know I have a life threatening condition. I'm afraid to go to sleep, which I suspect is common upon learning you might just die in your sleep.

One thing that I'm now assuming is connected, but somehow didn't consider before this: Starting a couple months ago, some nights I just cannot seem to fall asleep. On these nights, it feels like every time I almost do, I jolt awake and feel my blood pounding in my head, and hear it "whooshing" in my left ear. I feel a feeling of panic when this happens. Every time I almost fall asleep, this repeats. Now I am wondering if I actually AM falling asleep briefly but then jolting awake due to an apnea event. And speak of the devil, it's been happening tonight and I'm still awake. It's currently almost 4 am. Does my assessment sound accurate? Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing? Or have many people experienced it, even? I don't have much frame of reference beyond my readings online tonight.

I should also add that I have asthma, and at the beginning of July had a cold turned upper respiratory infection turned bronchitis. This led to weeks of feeling like I was suffocating all day and night, and was very scary. I've never had such extreme problems with my asthma before. Thankfully this was around the time I first saw the pulmonologist, and he put me on Prednisone, a symbicort inhaler, and a spiriva inhaler. My breathing isn't perfect but it is much improved and I don't feel like I'm suffocating all day. I also had a couple of steroid shots from other doctors before the pulmonologist appointment. I have so many steroidy things in my system, which comes with its own set of issues. At this point, I don't know what is causing what and what to think about it all.

Sorry for the long post, and I actually have more questions beyond this stuff, but mainly I wanted to try to relate the most important details of my health and see if my "falling asleep but not" issue is normal. I don't know who else I can ask, and I am currently so scared I don't think I'll sleep at all tonight. Thanks for reading.
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Yes, it's very normal. You are more than likely having apnea events, where your airway starts to
collapse, then when that happens your body reacts and you wake up. This can occur several times an hour, hundreds of times during the night.

I was wondering if they told your what your AHI was? The AHI number is how many times an hour you stop breathing.

I can relate to how you feel....I was afraid to let myself fall asleep too, but trust me...you will be fine.

Until you see your doctor, try to stay off your back when sleeping. Sleep on your side or slightly elevated if able.

In the meantime, educate yourself on Sleep Apnea by reading our many threads.

Also, a useful link to help you chose the right Cpap machine and which ones to avoid.


Be sure your doctor writes a script for a fully data capable auto machine, and get a copy of the script for your records.
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Thanks for the response! Hearing that this is normal really helps, thanks much. Since jolting awake again tonight I've just been sitting in bed afraid to try to sleep anymore.

They did not tell me what my AHI was, but I'm hoping I'll find out when I meet with my pulmonologist.

I'm currently propped up on my side with... Ahem 5 pillows. Basically I'm sitting up lol.

I have been reading threads on here for the past few hours, and will continue to do so, thanks for the link. My aunt was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and I know she is using one of the dental things because she really didn't want to try a CPAP. From what I've read so far though, it sounds like that's the best way to go for results? Either way would be a huge adjustment so I'd rather just go with the most effective option. I've always wanted to be Darth Vader...

Oh one other thing making it hard to fall asleep: it feels like my throat is really tight or swollen, and it feels kind of funny to swallow. This seems to come and go throughout the day. According to my googling this is likely caused by stress, so that adds up. It was really bad when I went in for the sleep study. It seems like it gets worse when I lay down , but I'm not sure if that's real or in my head...
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It could be your asthma and some of the meds your on are causing you to feel the way you do.
Be sure to follow your doctor's orders and discuss with Pulmonologist about your throat feeling swollen. Maybe if you call and express your concerns, they can get you in to see the doc sooner.

Can't help you with the dental appliance, but I guess that may depend on the severity of your apnea.

I know it's hard, but try to stay calm. Anyway, look what you have to look forward to.....pretending to be Darth Vader! Too-funny
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Still can't sleep, due to jolting awake over and over. If I can't sleep at all and have to wait until tonight is that OK? I've read that not sleeping can worsen sleep apnea, and I don't want to perpetuate some vicious cycle, but I just cannot call asleep (at least not asleep enough that I can tell I slept). Any other tips for falling asleep with this nonsense going on?
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Do you have a recliner? I know it's not the most comfy way to sleep, but relaxing in a recliner would help simply because you are not laying flat.
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I don't have a recliner, but back when I was sickest recently I slept several nights on my couch with some extra pillows because that seemed to work better. I may give that a shot, perhaps I was at a better angle that way.

As far as I know (according to my wife) I almost never snore. From what I've been reading that might indicate a rarer and scarier version of sleep apnea where your brain just doesn't tell you to breathe. Can you have obstructive sleep apnea without snoring much or at all? I'm terrible about fearing I have things I read about, and now I'm off reading about congestive heart failure. I probably shouldn't be trusted with a computer...
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If you can't sleep because of the added stress, do something about the stress. Take a long walk, nap when you can, do whatever you need to relax. Think about how you finally know what's going on and can take control of it, instead of it taking control of you.

Give your doc some time to review the results, and give the treatment time to "take". Until then, keep telling yourself that you are the one in control now.
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Sleepless, the sensation you describe of feeling your throat close as you relax and fall to sleep sounds very familiar to me. I don't think any of us liked the image of using a mask at night, but once I had used CPAP, I never went without it. Now I am even reluctant to doze in a chair without it. It makes a world of difference, and for me is as good as taking a sleep aid. It used to take me a long time to fall to sleep, but now, just add air, and sleep well.

Not to get too far ahead, but you will soon be deciding what type of mask or machine you will get. It's possible that your doctor may recommend a titration study to determine your pressure needs. It seems you were not very tolerant of the clinical environment for sleeping. I don't know your financial or insurance situation, but keep in mind that a titration study can cost thousands, and is completely unnecessary if you opt for an auto-titrating machine and manage your own therapy. Try to push for an auto machine to self-titrate. With the right attitude, and data, you can probably do better than any lab study, and it keeps you involved as a participant in you OSA therapy, not an observer.

Since you've been reading, you know that the auto CPAP machines by Philips and Resmed are by far preferable to non-auto choices. Having used both, I'd give the edge to Resmed Airsense 10 Autoset due to its faster response and better implementation of exhale pressure relief. For a mask, you want as minimal as you can get, and the Resmed Airfit P10 pillows is just that. As long as you can train yourself to avoid loosing pressure through your mouth, a nasal pillows mask is much more comfortable, resists leaking and skin irritation, and you may even find you can talk and interact with the mask on and under pressure.

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Hi SleeplessInOklahoma,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
I know it's easier said than done, but try really hard to find a way to relax.
Hang in there for more responses to your post and good luck to you as you start your CPAP journey.
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