Saturday, August 01, 2020

To Breathe or Not To Breathe

For those of you who may be on the fence about using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, I, too struggled for an exceptionally long time knowing I needed to use my machine. It's not an easy task and I attempted it several times with no success because I looked at it as being intrusive instead of being helpful and necessary.

I was originally diagnosed with sleep apnea about 2002, but I never made myself use the CPAP I got. At that time, my insurance company didn't consider the humidifier part of the device as being necessary. Try using a CPAP without it. I would wake up after just a few hours and my nasal passage and throat felt like it was on fire. I discussed this with my doctor and the only suggestion she had was for me to coat the inside of my nose with KY jelly each night. I know it sounds gross, but I tried what the doctor suggested. I had the same reaction plus I had dried KY jelly flakes all over the inside of my nose which made me look like I had some dreadful disease. It was a wonderful picture and a joy to try to clean out each morning before work! Shortly thereafter I finally gave up trying to use the machine until about 2012 when my health was going downhill fast. My diabetes had gotten totally out of control. I was tired all the time throughout the day, I wasn't sleeping well at night and I was having trouble concentrating during the day. It was as if I was living in a fog all the time.

When I did sleep throughout the night, I would wake up struggling to breathe. Then in 2012, I received a new CPAP machine which I knew I needed to use. No more lame excuses! My latest sleep study revealed I stopped breathing 55.9 times per hour with apnea-related episodes. Wow! That meant I stopped breathing almost once every minute. That number kept resonating in my head repeatedly. My lowest oxygen level was 73%. Normal levels should be 95-100%.  Anything below 90% is considered being in respiratory distress. My doctor was amazed that I hadn't had a heart attack or a stroke in my sleep. He also was amazed that I could function during the day after having been deprived of oxygen all night long night after night. Is "functioning" what this is called? If he only knew how much I was struggling just to put one foot in front of the other!

When I received my new CPAP machine, I used the machine that night and every night since then...NO MORE EXCUSES! Those stats scared me enough to make me realize that I was asking for trouble and it wasn't the kind of trouble I wanted. Yes, this CPAP is equipped with a humidifier so it works without making my nasal passages feel like they're on fire.  I selected a mask that felt comfortable to me to wear.  I knew that was important. This machine isn't loud so it doesn't sound like a jack hammer next to my head. When I put the mask on that first night I actually told myself OUT LOUD that I was going to wear the mask ALL night long and that I wasn't going to take it off unless I has to get up to use the bathroom. When I woke up the next morning, my mask was still on and I felt like I had accomplished an amazing feat. It wasn't long before I noticed I started feeling better.  I had more energy and I wasn't tired all the time. From there on out whenever I would lay down whether it was to take a nap during the day or to watch television in the evening in my bedroom, I would put my CPAP on just in case I would fall asleep.

The moral of this story is if you're diagnosed with sleep apnea, take it seriously. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself get used to using your machine. And most important, be compliant and use your machine faithfully.  Sleep apnea does kill people. Don't be stupid and be one of those people who turn into a statistic.

Yes, I have a dog that does this to me. It's such a wonderful way to wake up from a sound sleep! She usually sleeps in her dog bed or upstairs with my son, but when she's gassy she likes to sleep on the floor next to my night stand and well, if you've ever had the pleasure of smelling a dog fart, then you can only imagine what one funneled directly into your nose while you're sound asleep would be like. I jump up using some really bad language and Libby heads upstairs quickly and then turns around at the top of the stairs and looks at me like as if to say, "you need to chill out, lady!"


29 comments:

  1. Not to mention how it makes one a good partner when they use the machine. Everyone gets a better nights sleep with the CPAP.

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    1. I'm sure that's the truth and no need for separate bedrooms unless one wants them.

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  2. dog farts - ew! cat farts are bad enough. my spouse has had a CPAP machine since 2003.

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    1. Another longtime user! Kudos to him for using his machine.

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    1. I had to be scared into it, but I'm here and I'll stay here.

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  4. A good night's sleep is a blessing. As is enough oxygen. Cat/dog farts are not.

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    1. Yes, a good night's sleep is a blessing and too many people go without a good night's sleep. I suffer from bouts of insomnia at times and it's horrible when I do. I think cat/dog farts should be kept to themselves and never shared with their owners!

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  5. Dog fasts are nasty.

    I can see why you quit using the first machine. Luckily you survived long enough to get a second decent machine.

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    1. I agree dog farts are nasty. They smell like something died and rotted for months.

      I'm like a Timex watch. I take a licking and keep on ticking.

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  6. Oh, dear. How awful and yet, to everyone else, how funny. Yes, i appreciate that it isn't funny to you when the dog does that.

    You are so right about using medical equipment when a doctor says to. So many people ignore it to their hurt.

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    1. Whenever Libby does that to me, I want to strangle her, but she's too quick! lol It's a shame that people ignore what their doctor tells them about many things and then they wonder why their health goes downhill. It really isn't a mystery. We just have to be kinder to our bodies.

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  7. Yup once you use it you don't ever want to go back to feeling half alive again!

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    1. Isn't that the truth? Now, that I've been using mine for years I often ask myself why I took so long to get on board. Initially the humidifier was an issue, but I'm not sure how long it stayed an issue before my insurance changed it's policy.

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  8. My sister has one. She says it's made a difference in her life.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that it's made a difference for your sister. You should give her a big hug for being a smart cookie!

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  9. Don't know too much about the machines. Never thought about a dog fart. Sounds both awful and funny. My sister's husband uses one and until talking to him I never thought about the problem of the power going out. Did you ever have that happen?

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    1. Yes, it intrusive when the power goes out and all one can do is hope that it comes back on shortly. Lucky people have a back-up generator, but I'm not one of those people. You'd think they'd come up with some short of short term fix for the problem similar to a battery in a laptop or something like that to keep it going for a few hours.

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  10. Most of my patients with a CPAPs on their faces at night are overweight … just saying … Love, cat.

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    1. This is by far the awesomnest list I ever saw !!! Love, c.

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    2. Well, thank you...I certainly aim to please!

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    3. Oops I deleted the list...I'll post it again. Sorry about that, cat.

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    4. Yes, overweight people by far put them at risk for sleep apnea, but not all people with sleep apnea are overweight. I included a list of all the risk factors below, so people can read what the risk factor are.

      Obstructive Sleep Apnea factors that increase the risk of this form of sleep apnea include:

      1. Excess weight. Obesity greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea. Fat deposits around your upper airway can obstruct your breathing.

      2. Neck circumference. People with thicker necks might have narrower airways.

      3. A narrowed airway. You might have inherited a narrow throat.

      4. Tonsils or adenoids also can enlarge and block the airway, particularly in children.

      5. Being male. Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than are women. However, women increase their risk if they're overweight, and their risk also appears to rise after menopause.

      6. Being older. Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in older adults.

      7. Family history. Having family members with sleep apnea might increase your risk.

      8. Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat, which can worsen obstructive sleep apnea.

      9. Smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who've never smoked. Smoking can increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.

      10. Nasal congestion. If you have difficulty breathing through your nose — whether from an anatomical problem or allergies — you're more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.

      11. Medical conditions. Congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease are some of the conditions that may increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Polycystic ovary syndrome, hormonal disorders, prior stroke and chronic lung diseases such as asthma also can increase risk.

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      Central Sleep Apnea risk factors for this form of sleep apnea include:

      1. Being older. Middle-aged and older people have a higher risk of central sleep apnea.

      2. Being male. Central sleep apnea is more common in men than it is in women.

      3. Heart disorders. Having congestive heart failure increases the risk.

      4. Using narcotic pain medications. Opioid medications, especially long-acting ones such as methadone, increase the risk of central sleep apnea.

      5. Stroke. Having had a stroke increases your risk of central sleep apnea or treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.

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  11. Glad you finally did as told. It's not easy doing that for people of our generation. Suck it, bitch. I mean air, if course.

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    1. I do as I'm told sometimes unlike some people who are told to bake pies and don't bake them!

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  12. all my patients complain about their CPAP it takes time to get up/running.
    In the end they nearly always report better sleep, more energy, and better mood.
    Nothing like oxygen to make one feel better.

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    1. Like anything else beneficial, all it takes is time and an honest effort to see the actual results to make a believer out of a person. I know with me, it took some good old scare tactics, but they worked. What I was being told was the truth and I knew it. My health was suffering. I felt horrible all the time and I barely had enough energy during the day to hold my head up. It's horrible being hard-headed!

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  13. Never posted here before, but looks easy enough so I'd just like to say CPAP changed my life. I used to have to get up and pee 3 or 4 times. Now I sleep all through the night.

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    1. First, I'd like to say thank you for stopping by and responding to this topic. For whatever reason I think if a person gives their CPAP an honest try, they will see some sort of positive results. I'm happy that you're able to sleep through the night now. that's important.

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