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Obstructive apnea while awake
#1
I have obstructive sleep apnea. I know by definition sleep apnea can't happen when awake. What is the word for when the throat muscles relax while awake? What is the cause?
I know that for many people, they do not realize they are actually asleep. The reports in forums I've seen, those people do not realize they are snoring or whatever. In my situation, I am completely aware of the event.
If I relax - I gag on the tongue and soft tissues. Standing, sitting, laying down, in conversations, with other people or by myself, at any time if I relax - I gag on the tongue and soft tissues.
For example, I will tell someone about this and demonstrate relax/gag and then continue the conversation. I am fully aware of the choking. I voluntarily start relaxing, gag, and stop the process by consciously tensing my throat muscles and the other person confirms that I did not appear to be asleep.
The result is I never relax. I cannot take part in yoga/meditation/relaxation stuff because I start choking in the first few seconds. Again, I am completely aware of it starting and it is a conscious decision to keep relaxing and choking or to give up and tense up.
What I am most looking forward to with my CPAP machine is to use it to just relax; or sit in an easy chair and relax while I watch TV.
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#2
Yes, I know what you mean. Before I was diagnosed with OSA I thought it was my sinuses or allergies closing the passage right behind my nose. In fact it's how I got to the sleep doctor as I went to an allergist and he said I have no allergies what so ever, not even to poison oak.

When my cpap is on I feel that part or my airway open, and when I take it off I can feel it close and restrict my nose breathing.

What works for me is a nasal spray called "nasonex" when I can really feel it. All the other local steroid sprays do not work except nasonex.

It sucks man, I am not even overweight or in bad health any other way. My doctor just says it's "mechanical" and no surgery would help and get use to cpap for the rest of my life.*sigh*
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#3
In my case, this is why I had my flappy removed, as I was told it was too long when I relaxed...
*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional. My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."
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#4
Hi victor hegemony,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Hang in there for more responses to your post and best of luck.
trish6hundred
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#5
I did it too before CPAP...really bad.

It stopped after I started using CPAP at night and I can't hardly make it happen now. Now it is like I have to exert effort to make it happen.

I don't know if the problem was being so deprived of sleep before or if it had more to do with all of the soft tissue in my airway being so inflamed from several hours of nightly abuse (snoring, gasping etc.); but, whatever the reason, it is gone now and I'm glad to be rid of it.
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#6
It's the features of your airway anatomy. I thankfully don't have this problem throughout the day, but I have been told by my ENTs and dentists that my tongue is very large and keeping my teeth closed isn't very comfortable for me, because it pushes up against them quite a bit.
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#7
this is my first forum/board experience so please excuse if I violate any politeness customs of reply or posting protocols.

Thanks to you who have replied. I thought maybe it never happened to anyone else! It is very annoying to read over and over again that apnea only happens when asleep. That is not only falsified by my personal experience - it is an unscientific assertion. It would be proper to say waking apnea has not been documented in a peer review study or "I never heard of that before".

I read "Neuromechanical interaction in human snoring and upper airway obstruction" by Huang and Williams, J. Applied Physiology 1999.
After reading that I think a possible cause of waking apnea might be:
If the cause of the OSA is a failure of the CNS to automatically respond to stimulus, resulting in a failure of the dilator muscles to stiffen, there is no reason the CNS must respond automatically when awake.
If a separate system is at work during conscious breathing, then it may be possible to consciously relax to the point that the one system is no longer is "active" and the autonomic CNS system isn't there to pick up the ball.
just my opinion right now.
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#8
Those are all good points. You might want to try to improve the muscle tone in those dilator muscles by playing the didgeridoo.
Sleepster
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#9
Which makes me realize I should have given credit to the Singing for Snorers site for mentioning Huang's research.
Exercise does have research to back it up. If muscles aren't toned and that causes the apnea, then toning the muscles would stop the apnea. I wonder if the physical habits of exercise could still work while asleep or directly help CNS failure to respond to stimulus. Physical patterning has a direct neurological effect, maybe the CNS would develop ("kindling" ?) pathways that worked. Like teaching it what to do.
On the other hand, since there are more than one reason for Obstructive Apnea, it is possible that exercise would not help the obstructive apnea caused by failure of the CNS to respond to stimulus.
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#10
I too would gag when awake before CPAP, but I think my body was so tired it may have been trying to sleep. In my case I don't have to get into deep sleep for OA to occur. As soon as I go out I choke out. Good news is CPAP stops it all and works great for me. Now when relaxing or watching tv I don't start choking because I am more rested I think. Good luck.
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