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Thought I had sleep apnea.....
So I recently went for an overnight sleep study. I went because all my life I have been dealing with fatigue, poor sleep, waking up constantly in the middle of the night, terrible nightmares where I am thrashing about and hitting my girlfriend...and after doing research on sleep apnea, I matched many of the symptoms associated with it: dry mouth in the morning, morning headaches, fatigue throughout the day, low energy and low concentration, frequent night time urination, high blood pressure, snoring. I was pretty sure I had at least moderate apnea.

I just got my results back today and I stopped breathing 5 times an hour, enough to be diagnosed with mild OSA but not enough to be treated with CPAP. I am actually a little dissapointed that now I am back to square one with no answer.

For the actual sleep study I didn't feel I got any deep sleep and woke up constantly. It turns out they had about 200 minutes of sleep data from the night. I really would like to do an overnight sleep study where I sleep more like I normally do. I am scheduled for a night and day study to test for narcolepsy. I am not sure this really fits me, but I was told there are varying degrees of narcolepsy that could cause such issues.

My question is has anyone on this forum been to an overnight sleep study and has been diagnosed with mild or no sleep apnea, and then had a second or third sleep study that showed they actually have moderate or severe apnea?

Also, if it's not apnea that is causing me the wake up multiple time in the middle of the night, what could it be? My "normal" sleep is something like this: go to sleep around 10:30, toss and turn until I fall asleep in a half hour to an hour, wake up around 2-3 (usually accompanied by a dream/nightmare), go back to sleep until 4, then wake up every thirty minutes until I wake up around 7 for work. Most of the dreams/nightmares involve something chasing or attacking me. I often wake up swinging wildly with my heart pounding. None of this sounds like normal sleep to me. Just curious. Thanks all.
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Hi DNM -- Do you have a copy of your sleep study report? If so, can you white out your personal i.d. and post it here?

Maybe you're not really back to square one. First, you know now that you do have at least mild sleep apnea. And "mild" just refers to how many apnea events per hour. If those events are long in duration and involve falling blood oxygen levels, then it's not benign. And many people diagnosed mild actually suffer a lot of symptoms before they get on treatment.

Second, "Not enough to be treated with CPAP" only means not enough for your insurance company to cover it. Your doc might be willing to write you a prescription for CPAP if you want to try it to see if it helps relieve your symptoms -- you wouldn't have insurance coverage but if you are able to pay for the machine/mask out of pocket there's no reason for your doc to say no. If not that doc, then be aware that any doctor, dentist, or even nurse practitioner can write a CPAP prescription -- generally they'd just need to see a copy of your sleep study report to confirm that you've been diagnosed. Something to file away if you have a good relationship with some of your other healthcare providers.

Third, what was your RDI (Respiratory Disturbance Index) -- sometimes it can be higher than your AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index). Some sleep centers still do not factor in or report the RDI but when it is high it suggest a different type of sleep-disordered breathing (Upper Airway Resistance) and CPAP is still the treatment. Does your sleep study report an RDI, or RERAs (respiratory effort related arousals)?

Fourth, as you mentioned you may not have slept as deeply during the test, so the reported AHI may be underestimating the severity of your sleep apnea. In fact, it probably is. You only got a little over 3 hours sleep at your sleep study.

*** Has REM behavior disorder been ruled out? This is important. Your description of the nightmares and "swinging wildly" raised this question for me. Definitely something to pursue if it hasn't already been ruled out. (REM disorder also sometimes coexists with sleep apnea.)

Just confirming -- was your sleep study done at a sleep center or was it a home sleep test?

If you want to treat your sleep apnea, while you may not be able to get insurance coverage with your low AHI, there are ways you might be able to obtain a PAP machine and do self-titration and self-treatment. People here can help. You could also consider doing a second sleep study -- if an inexpensive home sleep test yields a higher AHI then you might become eligible for insurance coverage of a PAP machine.

And of course you're going to get tested to rule out narcolepsy, so that's good too.

So, it's not square one. There are several avenues to pursue.
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Hi, I hope they find out what is going on and that isn't a normal sleep cycle. Where did you do the overnight? If you did it in a lab see if they can do it at home, I found I tested out better (actually severe sleep apnea) when I was hooked up at home because I relaxed more and actually thought I slept better than normal but the test came back as severe sleep apnea. I would see if they could do it where you take the test at home. They only had something clipped to a finger tip with the wires connecting it held with Velcro to my wrist so the clip didn't come off overnight.
Good luck
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Hi DNM13,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
I wish you much success with getting your sleep probmem straightened out.
Hang in there for more responses to your post.
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