Possible treatment for central sleep apnea
If you have Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) or know of someone who has it, then this thread may be of help.
A brief internet search on the causes of CSA will return things like; drug induced breathing problems, high altitude breathing problems, congestive heart failure, medically induced problems, complications from CPAP therapy, and another group of “still unknown” causes.
Unfortunately, that same research will show that there are precious few treatments currently available for CSA patients, such as; drugs, CPAP/APAP/Bi-level breathing machines, oxygen therapy, and other medical devices. One web site even stated that CSA sometimes goes away spontaneously.
I am neither a doctor nor a clinician. I am just curious.
This thread is intended to shed some new light on part of the group of “still unknown” causes and propose a possible (easy) treatment for it.
I have been using CPAP/APAP breathing machines for several years. I am 69 years old and a bit over my goal weight. I am not drug user, a smoker, or a diabetic. I haven’t had a stroke or a heart attack (that I know of). The only condition that I am aware of that is threatening my health is my age.
In early 2012, I realized that I have Central Sleep Apnea. I graphed the number of my CSA episodes using my Excel worksheet and found that there were significant variations from one day to the next. Over the graphed period, my apnea episodes ranged from a high of 33 to a low of 0. I wondered why they varied so much, and why some nights were better than others.
I don’t believe that medical conditions such as CSA simply go away for no reason. So, I started to record what I was doing just before I went to bed. Was I too tired, not tired enough? Did I eat too much, not enough? And so on.
Nothing seemed to make any sense until I was about 2 months into my study. That’s when I noticed that whenever I had fats for supper, my CSA episodes decreased significantly, often to zero. I had been using virgin coconut oil for breakfast because of an article that I had read about how it might help support brain functions, i.e., memory! So, I decided to see what would happen if I also used it before bedtime.
Since I started consuming that same virgin coconut oil before bedtime, my CSA episodes have decreased significantly. There isn’t a perfect correlation between my consumption of coconut oil and the absence of my CSA episodes, but the correlation is strong enough to indicate that I’m on the right track.
In short, it looks like whenever I eat certain fats (coconut oil, cheese pizza, …) before I go to bed, my recorded CSA episodes are reduced significantly.
Brief note on virgin coconut oil:
There is too much information on the benefits of coconut oil to detail them here. If you browse the internet for the benefits of virgin coconut oil, you will find a number of medical and health web sites that promote its use.
My findings are not as specific as they could be because my database is still too small. It needs to be expanded to better answer questions like:
1. How much coconut oil (or other fats) do I need to consume before bedtime?
2. Is there a minimum amount of fats that I need to consume?
3. How long does it take for the fats to get to, and sufficiently feed, my brain?
4. How long do the fats keep my brain from “forgetting” to tell my body to breathe?
5. When a CSA occurs, how many hours was it after I had the fats?
6. How close to bedtime do I have to eat these fats?
7. How much of a role does my weight play in the dosage of fats?
8. Are there better “fats” for me to consume?
(What else do I need to have in my database?)
A quick summary of my findings is that consuming protein and sugar will not reduce my CSA episodes, while consuming certain “fats” will. While it is only anecdotal evidence that my consumption of virgin coconut oil has helped my memory during the day, there is actual data that shows that it has reduced my CSA episodes at night. An unexpected finding from the project is that I feel more refreshed in the morning when my CSA episodes are few and far between.
I’m sure that there are CSA causes where it doesn’t make any sense to prescribe a special diet of fat. However, I’m also convinced that there are CSA causes where the brain simply needs to be fed in order for it to tell the body to breathe.
Hopefully, this finding will help someone who has significant CSA episodes.
If you try this approach and it helps, please let me know.