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Just found out I have Severe OSA
Just found out I have Severe OSA
Hello, I'm very glad to have found this place.

I just had a sleep study and found out I have severe OSA (AHI: 39). I cried when I found out. I have struggled with fatigue, brain fog, chest pressure, anxiety and more for years. Now I finally know what's wrong with me. I wish I had discovered this years ago when I was younger. 

While I'm waiting for my RX, I have some questions for anyone who is willing to help:

Chest pressure - often when I wake up, and sometimes during the day (like right now), I feel chest pressure. In the past I've gone to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack (I wasn't) or had Covid (I didn't). I usually have normal blood pressure, which made me confused. Now I'm thinking it has everything to do with my sleep apnea. Is chest pressure a common thing? 

Side sleeping - I read that sleeping on my back exacerbates it. Someone said to sleep on the right side, but I don't remember why or if that was legit. 

Allergies - how big of a role do allergies play into sleep apnea? Long story, but we have a ton of inherited clutter in our home along with pets, leading to dust everywhere no matter how many times we vaccum. Cleaning our main bedroom and the rest of our house is something that I've been working on slowly, but with my low energy I have barely made a dent. I am worried that all the dust will be bad for the CPAP. 

Someone was always trying to make me feel like a slacker. Now I know that there was a reason, and I can extend grace to myself. I am so ready to start feeling better. 

Thank you for letting me be a part of this group. I'm sure I'm in good company here.
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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
Welcome to the Board and the great help you will find here.

Others will come along with more information but here is a start: 

Chest Pressure: glad you had this checked out and it is not your heart. Before CPAP I often woke up feeling like I had run a marathon! You are not alone, this is real. Even after I started CPAP and was trying the find the best solution I still had chest pressure and also took myself to ED (actually my wife dragged me there). It is so important to absorb everything you can here and realise that just getting the xPAP machine is a good part of the solution, but this does need to be fine tuned. Hopefully you will one of those for whom you are up and running from day 1, but usually this can be a fascinating journey. 

Side Sleeping: yes, traditional advice is to avoid back sleeping but it is more complex than that. It depends on where your obstruction to your airways is: nasal passage, oropharyngeal (back of mouth/throat area) or excessive kinking of airways while asleep, either from neck flexion, side flexion or even rotation. You will see a lot of threads here about soft cervical collars and how this helps many people. I often wish my Sleep Doc had said, cool we know the cause of your problem, now while we wait to trial/order a machine get yourself a cheap foam soft cervical collar from the drugstore/pharmacy and see how you go.

Allergies: yes, yes and yes! House dust mite, dogs, cats, pollens, wheat, dairy, salicylates, amines, glutamines whatever blocks your nasal passages or airways can add to the problem. 1/2 hour after some dairy I feel my nasal passages congest and I know I need to take action. Don't worry about the CPAP, they generally all come with filters to protect the machine and you.

When you are ready with your machine make sure it has (or you can buy a cheap SD card), download OSCAR, and there will plenty of willing helpers here to pop in and guide you. You are in good company here who will be willing to extend even more grace to you!

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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
Welcome to the forum.

Your symptoms are common, Glad you git the chest pressure checked out as that is a prime symptom of heart attack, that NEEDED to be done. In Sleep Apnea I would interpet it as difficulty breathing which is very common.
Post a redacted copy of your full sleep study, including the charts and tables in addition to the summary. The type(s) of apnea you have is also very important and all that you have told us is that you have severe apnea.
Odds are a CPAP/APAP will be recommended no matter what type of apnea you have, even if it is inappropriate. Thus the need of your sleep study(s), make sure you keep a copy of these, as well as your prescriptions. . Also fill us in on your health, any other cardio or pulmonary issue strokes, seizures, CNS issues Neuro-Muscular issues? Why? because these may have an impact of your machine selection.
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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
One other suggestion - ask your doctor to prescribe you a Resmed pap machine.  These are the best machines, whichever type you need.  The folks here will be able to advise you on that once they have seen your sleep study.  Please post the study as soon as you can.

Welcome  You are not alone!
Machine:  ResMed AirCurve 10 Vauto
Mask:  Bleep DreamPort Sleep Solution
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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
As Deborah said, try to get a Resmed Airsense 10 or 11 Autoset CPAP machine. These are top notch machines with great comfort and full data to assess your therapy. With a shortage of machines due to the Philips Dreamstation recall last year, many suppliers are trying to issue second-tier machines from China like the Resvent iBreeze or BMC Luna. Do not accept these. Insist on the Resmed Autoset, or ask your doctor to specify Resmed Autoset in the prescription. It makes a big difference.

Other than that, you will need to choose a mask interface. I encourage you to start with nasal pillows. This is the lightest and smallest way to deliver CPAP pressure to your nose, and it won't leave marks on the bridge of your nose because nasal pillows only contact the bottom of your nose.
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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
A few additional thoughts in addition to all the great advice you've already received.

The chest discomfort might be muscular strain or could be cartilage pain from costochondritis:


Either could easily be related to the nightly efforts you must make in order to breathe.

In addition to the SD card, you will need a way to read it -- either a slot in your laptop or desktop computer, or a plug-in card reader. So pick up one of those if you need it.

An allergist could readily determine what, if anything, you're allergic to and could also prescribe medications and/or allergy shots to help reduce your symptoms. In the meantime, you can start using Flonase, an over-the-counter nasal spray. It takes a week or two to kick in, so be patient. To benefit your airway at night, use it in the evening.

I do want to repeat one piece of advice: please get a ResMed machine rather than a Phillips Respironics machine. The ResMed machines have an algorithm that is more nimble than the PR algorithm, meaning that people can often get good results with less pressure using ResMed vs PR. It also offers true pressure support (which it calls EPR, for expiratory pressure relief). PR has something called flex, but it isn't as good. I've also read posts from a fair number of people who find that EPR feels more natural than flex. I had a one-week loaner of a PR machine when I started, and I always felt hustled to take my next breath. The ResMed machine was a wonderful revelation.
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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
THANK YOU EVERYONE for your warm welcome. It's very comforting to know that you've gone before me and are so willing to share your knowledge, expertise, and encouragement. I can't tell you how thankful I am to be here. I'm taking notes and will research your suggestions.

I'm attaching the summary sheet which is all I have right now. I can upload more data once I get it. 

I don't have any other major health issues to my knowledge. No c
ardio or pulmonary issues, strokes, seizures, CNS issues, Neuro-Muscular issues. I don't drink (sober 25+ yrs) or smoke (quit 30+ yrs). There's a history of strokes (TIA's) on my mom's side, but I'm not sure if that is pertinent? Oh, and my cholesterol numbers came back a little high recently (265). My husband is getting a heart scan this week, so I've decided to get one too. 

I'm pretty sedentary and would like to lose 20-25 lbs. I have tried to lose weight with diet and walking/light workouts, but I could never sustain my losses long term because I didn't have the energy for maintenance. 

Before I posted, I spent time reading other posts and had already decided that I would get a Resmed 10 or 11, so thank you for confirming my gut feeling. I appreciate the mask recs also. I just need that prescription now so that I can set up an appt! 

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
Oh, you are going to feel SO much better once you get used to using your machine! You had significant O2 desaturations during the night of your test, and that is generally bad for your health and also leaves most people feeling bad during the day. You had a negligible number of central apneas, which is good to see. (They often need a more specialized kind of machine to treat.)

Bug your clinic or doctor's office for that prescription!
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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
Dsats. Ignore lows, the most they mean is to dig deeper. You have 37 minutes <=88%, that means that without CPAP, any flavor, you should be on nighttime supplemental oxygen, it is that significant. Any CPAP will likely raise that into "safe" territory. Because you have significant desats ( greater than 6 minutes at or below 88%) you should get a pulse oximeter that is compatible with OSCAR. That way you can verify that the CPAP has eliminated this concern.
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RE: Just found out I have Severe OSA
This place is great, most sleep doctors are lazy and setup titration too broadly for people, so please put an SD card in your machine, download Oscar and post your results once you have your machine.  The Resmed machines are good, but I could not dial in either of the ones I had when compared to the recalled Dreamstation machines I used.
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