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Newbie With A Few Questions
#1
Question 
Hello all,

I am a new user to these boards and I was hoping to ask a few questions. As background I was just diagnosed as having "an apnea" by the doctors at the Kaiser Permanente Sleep Lab a few weeks ago. They determined this after sending me home with an oxygen measuring devise attached to 2 fingers hooked up to a wristwatch type computer.

I have suspected that I had SA for about ten or more years now. My father has SA pretty bad and was diagnosed in the mid 1990's. A botched diagnosis based on a failed sleep study back in the year 2000 (I was only able to fall asleep for the last half-hour of the study) meant that I went undiagnosed for years. I have had doctors run blood tests and other things and everything always came out perfect, right down the middle of every test range. At one point a doctor told me it was stress and tried to put me on anti-depressants which I thankfully passed on.

I think I convinced myself that I probably didn't have it because I don't snore. None of my girlfriends or my current wife have ever noticed any episodes where I didn't take a breath for an extended period of time. Is that common with most SA cases?

For the past 10-15 years or so my level of daytime sleepiness and lack of concentration have increased to where it had become almost unbearable. I thought it was just me getting old but in the back of my mind I knew something just wasn't right.

A few weeks ago it finally came to a head. I was exhausted, weak, and lightheaded standing up and didn't even have the energy to leave the house. I just got healthcare from my new employer and so that episode was the first thing I told my new doctor.

I have an appointment coming up next Friday where I am supposed to try out a CPAP machine and see how I feel. I am really anxious about this because my Dad has SA as well. He hated his machine so much that he refused to use it after a year or so. It was as loud as a Honda generator and there was no way anyone could sleep through the noise that the motor put out.

I am hoping that technology has improved since his generation of CPAP machine (late 1990's).

My 2 main questions are these:

1) Is there anything that I should know or request when being fitted for my CPAP?

2) Will I notice an improvement in my level of energy and ability to concentrate? How long will that take?
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#2
Welcome to the Apnea Board Forum! Welcome

Your questions are not easy to answer because there is so much individual variation. But let me give it a shot.

1) Is there anything that I should know or request when being fitted for my CPAP?

It sounds like they're going to use the machine for titrating your needs. That means that they will have to give you one of the new class of machines that adjust the pressure as necessary while you sleep. That's the best kind of machine, so probably you are fine with what they give you. More important is getting the right mask and getting it adjusted properly. If you search the forums you will find that masks are one of the most frequently discussed subjects.

2) Will I notice an improvement in my level of energy and ability to concentrate? How long will that take?

This is where individual differences make it really hard to predict. Sleep apnea causes a lot of symptoms, although not every patient presents the same profile, and some symptoms improve more quickly than others. And some people respond more quickly too. It also depends on how effective the therapy is. It usually takes a beginner a couple months to get the right mask and get the machine settings adjusted optimally. On the other hand, you'll probably notice some changes by the end of the first week.
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#3
Even if you don't "feel" better after your c-pap you are taking care of your health and it is so important to use your machine. Eventually, if not right away, you should notice a big difference.
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#4
CPAP is the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea but its not a miracle cure it require patience, patience and more patience to make it work. Your concern are normal and I join JJJ and SBT in saying that by using your PAP, you,re taking control of your health and making a positive choice for your well being. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and its linked to serious problems such as diabetes and heart disease. I recommend to try several types of mask till you find the right one as the mask is the most important part of the treatment. Next comes the machine, you need data capable machine such as S9 Autoset which imo is a good choice for a newbie to start the journey. Read, read and read as much as you can, the more you find out about this debilitating condition the more you want to do something about it.
http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/portal/
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#5
Welcome, Jim; you've got quite an avatar; (love the glasses). As an add-on to what other board members have already mentioned, I believe you will find that the current machine technology has definitely improved from the days of the Honda generator noise level variety. My ResMed S9 machine is hard to hear at all, and I've read others with similar reports. At first, as others have written, it's a matter of patience with the equipment and your own mindset. The transition of going from feeling it's "normal" to sleep without mask, hose or machine to feeling it's not normal to sleep without them is what the transition is about. The two most often found machine brand names are ResMed and Philips Respironics, and each has several machine models, only a couple of which are fully data capable, meaning they record and keep detailed records of your sleep which you can access yourself via your computer. There's lots of info on this topic here on Apneaboard, so as others said, it's important to read as much as you can and BEFORE you get a machine in particular.
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#6
Welcome. I think the most important issues with getting a CPAP is getting a data capable machine- one that will give you AHI, leak, and other information. With software you can expand on the info you get from the machine. Thje mask is the next most important thing. It can take work and trial and error to get the right mask.

How long it will take to feel better varies from one day to six months or more. Sometimes you need to try different types of machine to find the one that works best for you (CPAP, Bilevel, AUTO, or ASV).
You also will want to work on sleep hygiene. If you use the machine religiously, but don't get quality restful sleep you may not feel better.
Good luck, keep us posted.
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#7
(06-16-2012, 10:57 PM)Grim Jim Wrote: Hello all,

For the past 10-15 years or so my level of daytime sleepiness and lack of concentration have increased to where it had become almost unbearable. I thought it was just me getting old but in the back of my mind I knew something just wasn't right.

2) Will I notice an improvement in my level of energy and ability to concentrate? How long will that take?

I felt the same way I could not concentrate on tasks nor could I finish anything. As to how long, I have been doing it for 18 nights now. The first few nights I slept well had low AHI numbers but felt funny the next day. I was better in the early to mid-day but very tired in the afternoon. By the fourth day I was feeling better for longer in the day. I still feel like I'm not back to 100% but I am WAY better and getting my energy back and can already see an improvement at work.

I have had no real problems with the "transition" but I think it's because I really wanted to do it, because I felt so poorly during the day. One thing I can say is definitely different is I used to get up to pee 3-4 times per night. Since beginning CPAP therapy I have never gotten up more than twice and in the last week I have gotten up once 3 times and not gotten up at all 4 times. It sounds silly but it is a really big deal as far as sleep quality goes.

Wanting to get better and using the therapy is VERY important to it's success is my belief!

Scott
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#8
Hi therre Grim Jim,First of all, Welcome! to the forum.! Your determination to do CPAP therapy is a good start. Like everyone on this forum says, it will take patience and possibly lots of it.  Yes the newer machines are much quieter than your Dad's earlier machine, great comfort, I'm sure, (Ha-Ha.) It sounds to me like you should have gone back for yet another study when the first one didn't work for you. I had to go back twice because I couldn't get to sleep in time for them to try a machine or the different masks on me so I had to go back again to get fitted in the second study. Good luck on your therapy and don't be afraid to ask questions.
trish6hundred
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#9
Sounds to me like symptoms also indicating Atrial Fibrillation; I would seek a referal to a qualified cardiologist/electrophysiologist with substantial experience in aFib. OSA and aFib are related. Each begets the other and symptoms mimic; a GOOD ECG (or holter monitor for 48 hours at least) are needed for any hope of a solid diagnosis, but lightheadedness to me would raise a red flag, as would shortness of breath and fatigue. As would low SpO2 readings through the day. In the earlier stages it is sometimes difficult to diagnose... you need to advocate and insist on being THOROUGHLY checked for aFib. Far more serious than apnea but they go hand in hand and left untreated they WILL kill you as sure as the sun rises in the East.



(06-16-2012, 10:57 PM)Grim Jim Wrote: Hello all,

I am a new user to these boards and I was hoping to ask a few questions. As background I was just diagnosed as having "an apnea" by the doctors at the Kaiser Permanente Sleep Lab a few weeks ago. They determined this after sending me home with an oxygen measuring devise attached to 2 fingers hooked up to a wristwatch type computer.

I have suspected that I had SA for about ten or more years now. My father has SA pretty bad and was diagnosed in the mid 1990's. A botched diagnosis based on a failed sleep study back in the year 2000 (I was only able to fall asleep for the last half-hour of the study) meant that I went undiagnosed for years. I have had doctors run blood tests and other things and everything always came out perfect, right down the middle of every test range. At one point a doctor told me it was stress and tried to put me on anti-depressants which I thankfully passed on.

I think I convinced myself that I probably didn't have it because I don't snore. None of my girlfriends or my current wife have ever noticed any episodes where I didn't take a breath for an extended period of time. Is that common with most SA cases?

For the past 10-15 years or so my level of daytime sleepiness and lack of concentration have increased to where it had become almost unbearable. I thought it was just me getting old but in the back of my mind I knew something just wasn't right.

A few weeks ago it finally came to a head. I was exhausted, weak, and lightheaded standing up and didn't even have the energy to leave the house. I just got healthcare from my new employer and so that episode was the first thing I told my new doctor.

I have an appointment coming up next Friday where I am supposed to try out a CPAP machine and see how I feel. I am really anxious about this because my Dad has SA as well. He hated his machine so much that he refused to use it after a year or so. It was as loud as a Honda generator and there was no way anyone could sleep through the noise that the motor put out.

I am hoping that technology has improved since his generation of CPAP machine (late 1990's).

My 2 main questions are these:

1) Is there anything that I should know or request when being fitted for my CPAP?

2) Will I notice an improvement in my level of energy and ability to concentrate? How long will that take?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Educate, Advocate, Contemplate.
Herein lies personal opinion, no professional advice, which ALL are well advised to seek.



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#10
Thanks for all the advice everyone. My CPAP has helped over the course of the first six months (June-December or January). My energy levels were increasing and my concentration was up. However since about February I have noticed a slow tapering off of my energy and with it slow return of the associated side effects.

TorontoCPAPGuy: I researched AF and from what I understand it is common amongst sufferers of Central Sleep Apnea but is not common with those who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea like myself. I could be wrong and if I am please correct me.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what is going on? Do machines ever need tune-ups or a readjustment?

Thanks!
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