Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a condition where you literally stop breathing. "Apnea" is a Greek word meaning "without breath".Those with apnea literally stop breathing in their sleep. Typically the soft tissue, in the rear of the throat, collapses and closes the airway so that victims of sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep; as frequently as a hundred times an hour and as little as five to seven times an hour. Snoring is a cardinal sign that Sleep Apnea may exist. Consequences of untreated sleep apnea include: Falling asleep during the day-at-work, driving a motor vehicle, etc; Morning headaches; Loss of energy; Trouble concentrating; Irritability, short temper; Forgetfulness; Mood or behavior changes; Anxiety or depression; Decreased interest in sex; Death. I am not trying to sound like a billboard for Sleep Apnea but before I was diagnosed I couldn't even pronounce Apnea let alone know what it meant. according to my Doc, what happens is you go to sleep and your tongue etc all relax and close off your throat. Your body sends a signal to your brain that you need air and it in turn fires up your adrenal gland which sends out adrenaline which wakes you up which unrelaxes your tongue, etc. and opens up your throat letting air flow. You are now awake but you won't remember it. Something like that happens anyway. My Dr. said that my sleep test showed me to be as high as 70 times per hour. He said I had a severe case of sleep apnea and CPAP therapy was necessary and had anyone ever told me that I was developing Cataracts. Just what I needed, something else wrong with me. What a day.

The photo is one that I got off the net and shows a typical mask and user. This should drive my wife away for sure. The thing is she has sleep apnea also and is taking her Sleep Test next week. We should look cute, in bed, with our matching masks. Intimacy might be a problem. She found out she had sleep apnea when she had her last breast surgery. The Surgeon didn't realize she had it and told her afterwards that they thought they were going to have to jump start her as they had just administered an anaesthetic to her and she stops breathing. Little bit of panic there.

My Dr. said I was pretty old for just being diagnosed and wanted to know how my Dr. figured it out. My Dr. is really a Physician's Assistant and during one of my appointments we were talking about dreams and I told him I often dreamed about drowning and being in a tunnel of sand and it was slowly collapsing. After that session he set me up for a sleep study. My Apnea Dr. said he did very good picking up on it. My PA also picked up on my heart problems when I came in for a shoulder injury because he thought that some of my pains were a little close to the chest and he made me go see a cardiologists. Good PA! I am just now getting treatment for the shoulder injury, but that is a different story.


bothenook said...

been there, doing that. doc told me that there was a better than even chance i'd croak some night from my heart going to condition II trying to get air. it's messed up my heart some, so now i can only climb tall buildings, not jump over them.

Ted said...

Your right Bo
People tend to to think this is just a way to get better sleep at night when you get old and fat. Its an attempt to stay alive and bypass that famous line, "Oh he just died in his sleep"