Sleep apnea? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-18-2007, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone here have any experience with sleep apnea in adults?

I have gone in for 2 sleep studies now, and have been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea (apparently I stop breathing in my sleep over 50 times in an hour! ). The second one they hooked up a CPAP machine to me, and yes, the mask was hard to adjust to, but man, it was so much easier to breathe! It makes sense now also why I seem to be so tired all the time too. I am also a mouth breather at night, so I may have to use a chin strap with my mask. Other than using a CPAP machine (which I am definitely going to do), anyone have any good natural tips to do in addition?

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#2 of 6 Old 07-07-2007, 05:47 PM
 
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Hi, I'm with you!

Is yours the obstructive or the other type that had to do with brain signals?

I haven't had a sleep study yet, but am trying to get in. Sleep apnea runs in my family, and I know I have it. I'm always tired and have a headache. I fall asleep while driving too.....bleh. NO fun!

I'd be interested in any natural treatments as well. I'm just curious as to what really causes it? I know many times it is because something blocks the airway, but I'm wondering why? In my case, I'm not overweight or anything.

Mom to two boys, ages 8 and 11, and one blessing due May 8th.

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#3 of 6 Old 07-07-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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There are some genetic causes of sleep apnea that can't really be helped based on life style changes. A short neck, a large uvula, some sort of structural variation that nothing you do will really help.

Some things are "easily" changed--lose weight, quit smoking.

Some things can be addressed with medical or nutritional intervention. For example, if enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids are a contributing factor, you can have them surgically removed. You can also have other surgical interventions where they go in and remove/remodel some of the obstructive soft tissue--uvula, posterior oropharynx. If you have seasonal or food allergies that cause swelling in your upper airways, avoiding those foods and using some sort of anti-allergy medication can help.

So, Heldt, it could be that you have some sort of enlarged structure in your airway--tonsils, adenoids, uvula, excessive tissue in the oropharyngeal area can all be culprits. Allergies could also be causing swelling in these areas that results in sleep apnea.

For "natural" methods of helping eliminate or minimize sleep apnea--quit smoking, lose weight, sleep in a more upright position, or one your side. Some people find that eliminating dairy helps open up their airways significantly, and decreases some of their environmental allergies. Gargling with warm, slightly salty water twice a day and using a saline nasal wash daily ( google neti pot or saline nasal irrigation) can help decrease upper airway swelling that is caused by chronic irritation from allergies or infections.

That's all I can think of right now. Good luck! It's amazing how much better you feel after a couple of nights of that CPAP machine, huh?
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#4 of 6 Old 07-07-2007, 09:15 PM
 
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Wow, that's some great info, thanks!

Oh, I can't wait to try the CPAP machine! The sleep center up here wouldn't take any new patients, so I have to go through a general practitioner...hopefully he can get me in so I can get some insurance to cover it!

On surgery, my mom had that done. She had adnoids removed, I think. It didn't really help and she can't use the machine.

Hmmm, interesting....I hadn't heard that allergies contributed to apnea. I'm allergic to dust, mold, pollen, etc....

I am not even close to being overweight, do not smoke, and sleep on my side for the most part.

What about chiropractic?? Anyone heard if that helps or not?

Jill - is the machine still working well for you?? I've heard that sometimes it can be irritating??

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#5 of 6 Old 07-10-2007, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies!

I have the obstructive sleep apnea. I am definitely overweight, but not obese (170 lb at 5'4"), but I think that is probably one factor related to it for me. I have snored and gasped in my sleep since I was very young (and much thinner) though, so I don't think the weight is entirely the cause. I have read that having a recessed jaw can make you more prone to it and I definitely have that as well as environmental allergies (especially mold). I have heard mixed things about surgery...that removing tonsils/adenoids works well to help correct sleep apnea in children, but not so much in adults. In fact, for some adults surgery can worsen the apnea.

I got my CPAP machine with heated humidifier 10 days ago, and though it is taking some getting used to sleeping with a mask on my face, I am definitely sleeping more deeply, having dreams (REM sleep), whereas in my first sleep study I only hit 3 minutes of REM sleep, so I am feeling way more rested during the day. One cool thing about the CPAP with the humidifier, is that if you are getting a bit congested at night, it really helps open up your airways so you breathe better too.

I already sleep on my side (part of the difficulty in adjusting to the mask...I am sometimes getting air leaks from it pushing on my pillow), and use a couple of pillows to prop myself up. They make a pillow just for CPAP users called a Papillow, but it is expensive, like $60 or more. The mask has velcro straps to adjust it, and it took a few nights to get it just right. I also use a chin strap to help keep my mouth shut as I otherwise tend to sleep with it open and breathe through my mouth.

I highly recommend getting a sleep study and treating the apnea if you suspect that you or a loved one has it. Scary thing is it can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, as well as was making my depression worse (no sleep = not very nice or happy mom).

Jill stillheart.gif Chris (7/96), mommy to 3 sweet redheads: jumpers.gif Matthew autismribbon.gif (12/02), Michelle (8/05) and Marissa (1/10). Nursing since 2002.
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#6 of 6 Old 02-08-2014, 01:35 PM
 
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I know this is an old thread, but thought I'd try bumping it before starting a new one!

 

How did it work out for those of you on the thread?  I realize it's been like 7 years!!  :)

 

I was just dx'd with sleep apnea and it's taken a lot of getting used to, physically and emotionally.  Glad to have a dx that has something to be done about it, but upset about the treatment and what it involves!  And knowing that I have something so potentially scary!

 

I am not overweight at all and have none of the risk factors except that it runs in the family.  I do have environmental allergies (pollen, mold, etc).  I've been gluten free for over a month now, and cut out nearly all alcohol and caffeine.  I know I probably need to go dairy free, too, but all of this has already been so hard and depressing that the thought of no dairy on top of all of this almost makes life not worth living!!

 

It's been a few days on the CPAP and so far I feel much worse.  The first day I just felt tired.  The second day I was sleeping so deeply I slept through my alarm and was totally groggy and felt awful all day.  Today I'm just incredibly tired again.  I can tell I'm having a lot more dreams, and I am happily surprised that I can actually sleep with this ridiculous thing on my face!

 

My whole head/face/body is sore from having the mask on and sleeping in a different posture.  I usually sleep on my side, but as pp mentioned, that pushes the mask aside and it leaks!  So I'm flat on my back almost all night.  

 

Anyway, just wanted to see how other people's adjustment phase went, how long it took to actually feel better, and how things are going months/years after starting the CPAP.

 

Thanks!

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