Forum · Is it dangerous

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[-] SleepingBeauty +0 points · 6 months ago

I had my initial consult and then did an overnight in the clinic. The found 11 incidents per hour, but on the night of my test my oxygen went down to 85% at its lowest point. That was a good night. Some nights I sleep fine. Other nights I wake up gasping for air because I stop breathing. They keep canceling and rescheduling my CPAP pressure test. In the meantime I'm afraid to go asleep and I'm walking around like a zombie. (1) Is this a dangerous condition, and (2) why doesn't anyone seem to care?

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[-] NorCalSleeper +0 points · 6 months ago

I just recently got my diagnosis so I don't pretend to be an expert, but from what I've read the dangers seem to be more over the long term (years) when your organs are deprived of oxygen. We've all had to wait those few extra days in the beginning when it seems like it's taking forever to start treatment. But I know how frustrating it is to get your diagnosis and not get help immediately. It took me about 8 months from the time I first complained about some of the symptoms to my doctor to finally getting my CPAP machine about a week and a half ago. That's a long time to wait, and once I saw my PulseOx numbers it was scary. I was dropping down into the 60% range several times a night! My overnight sleep test showed 47 events per hour. Every step took many weeks... the insurance had to approve the overnight PulseOx test; then had to approve the overnight sleep test (they denied the overnight at the clinic even though my PulseOx numbers were so bad); then they had to approve the CPAP machine. Each of those approvals took several weeks, after which I needed to make appointments at the sleep clinic and the respiratory therapist, which was several weeks each time. Happy to finally have all that behind me. It is frustrating though when the doctors tell you how serious the condition can be, yet the process to get help moves so slowly. Hang in there!

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[-] SleepingBeauty +0 points · 6 months ago

Thanks! I'm actually suffering panic attacks at the prospect of gasping for air for another month.

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · 6 months ago Sleep Enthusiast

I am not much for worrying on things and my gasping episodes at night didn't wake me so I was surprised that my SPO2 dropped into the low 70s many times during the night when I quit breathing. I suspect this had gone on for years and if you do some google research, this can lead to a number of bad things** OVER TIME**. I certainly am sure than low oxygen levels won't have a noticeable detrimental effect prior to you getting therapy started. I went through the same wait for a month for insurance, referrals, the DME to all align before I started therapy as almost everyone else did so just relax until then. I bought a home Pulse Oxymeter for about $100 that looks like a wristwatch and records through the night and am happy to say that my SPO2 never drops into the low 90s now that I have started PAP therapy. It will work the same for you.

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[-] Ruby +0 points · 6 months ago

There is no reason that you cannot contact your doctor and press for a quicker response. This is your life and you have a right to expect treatment on a timely basis. With that said, there is also no reason to panic. In all probability, this has been going on for awhile. I had the same problem with my oxygen levels and although there is no way of knowing for sure, I think that I had the problem for a long time before finding out what was going on. Yes, you need to be treated but if you can't get in for a couple of months, it will be fine. If it bothers you that much, push for quicker treatment.

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[-] BrightLilacDove4332 +0 points · 6 months ago

YES, it is dangerous. Beside the side effects of being tired while driving and performing poorly in your job, things are happening inside that can shorten your life. When you stop breathing and the oxygen level drops, your heart starts racing trying to get oxygen to the brain. Eventually, you get a jolt of adrenalin to make you gasp and start breathing again. Adrenalin irritates your arteries and your body's response to that is to lay down cholesterol. It is dangerous to have irritated arteries. When I picked up my newest CPAP machine two years ago, I was a told there is a 100% correlation between sleep apnea and hardening of the arteries or arteriosclerosis. I got my first machine in March of 2005 after a terrible few months at work where I had no creativity, no problems solving abilities, could not learn anything new and was forgetting how to do parts of my job. I had always relied on these attributes to do my job well. Over Christmas, I noticed how depressed I was and decided I better see my doctor because something was wrong. When I explained my symptoms, he told me I needed to do a sleep study. It took 2 1/2 months to get in. Afterwards they told me the reason I could not learn anything new was because I had no deep sleep and long term memories are only formed in deep sleep. The reason I was depressed was because I couldn't dream and the brain needs to go through 2 to 3 dream cycles a night to be healthy. I started using a CPAP machine they had calibrated for me and it only took me 3 nights to get used to wearing the nasal mask and keep in on all night. After that, I would wake up with a smile on my face because it felt so good to be rested. All my abilities came back, but I had already resigned and retired to avoid becoming an embarrassment at work with all my inabilities and forgetfulness. The following December, I was seeing a cardiologist to do an angiogram after doing poorly on a stress test. When they did that test, the told me I couldn't leave the hospital and they wanted to operate that afternoon to perform a quadruple by-pass operation due to my badly clogged arteries going into and out of my heart. I decided after that that I will not sleep without using my CPAP machine, even for naps. Who needs to be causing that kind of damage to themselves? I am in my 12th year using a CPAP machine and just did another stress test in January and they found no signs of any blockages to or from my heart. So far, so good. I had been taking good care of myself before all this, exercising, eating fairly carefully, maintaining a healthy weight. The damage to my arteries happened anyway. My wife's nephew had to have by-pass surgery at age 42 and during recovery, they found out he had sleep apnea, too, Same problem, same result. He was physically fit and athletic and doing healthy things, but it didn't stop the damage sleep apnea was causing. Good luck on your journey to a healthier and longer life.

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · 6 months ago Sleep Enthusiast

Dreaming and apnea is a subject that seems to vary per individual. Prior to therapy, I never got into deep REM sleep and had to get up every few hours to go to the bathroom. I probably didn't really have to go but since I was basically just dozing, when I started to wake a bit, it became a habit. During this time I would have dreams constantly seeing things around me that were happening and wanting to interact. My sleep was very shallow and when I woke it would take me a couple minutes to realize the cat wasn't walking across the dresser and knocking things off. In my dream, thats what I would see and would want to chase the cat off.

Once I started therapy, I immediately dropped into a much deeper sleep and don't remember having a single dream. Not sure about the memory angle either. I have been on therapy a number of years now and my memory didn't improve or get poorer near as I recall (joke).

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[-] SarahCummings +0 points · 6 months ago

Sleep apnea is a very serious disorder and it might lead to complications, but, as with every other disorder, you have to be strong and fight it. It may sound like a cliche and of course, easier said than done, but you have to be mentally strong and think positive. Otherwise, panicking can only make your condition become worse. I agree with the above mentioned, you should contact your doctor and try to explain how difficult it is for you to wait. Meanwhile, you should try to minimize your panicking as much as you can and if you're afraid to fall asleep try to read some motivating book or drink some calming tea, etc. As far as sleep apnea is concerned, I've found some tips in this article that might help you. I wish you all the best!

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