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Is it possible to feel throat obstruction while awake?

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velacook +0 points · 2 months ago Original Poster

Hi everyone,

I've been searching around but this puzzles me. Does it count as Sleep apnea if when lying down awake, you can already feel the throat collapsing ? Is there something else medically that this falls under or is it regarded as sleep apnea?

Long story short, I've been suffering this since April and it's getting worse. Been to two ENTs and they were so quick to jump to sleep apnea. I've been tested and it shows I have a AHI of 19. That's fine, I am not surprised I have sleep apnea for a while now. I do fit the bill as I am overweight and have a large neck but I don't suffer greatly from other sleep apnea symptoms (slight daytime tiredness, no awakenings in the middle of the night, no headaches etc).

However, it's becoming more apparent that my air passage way is getting more restricted when I am just lying down on my back. Just today I went for a massage and found that I had to unnaturally move my tongue further forward to breathe better while lying down. I even suffered this breathing difficulty while trying to sleep on a plane.

I've been on CPAP for a week and it does help but I can't help but wonder if there's something more serious at play here as the onset of the issue was very sudden.

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Sierra +0 points · 2 months ago Sleep Innovater

I am not a medical professional, but my thoughts also would be that it is the same issue as apnea. Essentially that is when the tongue relaxes back and blocks the airway. It is typically more of an issue when sleeping on your back, simply due to the force of gravity. I would think if you have been to 2 ents that there is nothing physically abnormal about it, beyond the issues that cause sleep apnea.

There are dental appliances that move the jaw forward and reduce obstructive apnea. With an AHI of 19 that may be an option, and it certainly would be easier to use on a plane.

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velacook +0 points · 2 months ago Original Poster

You would think that after going to two ENTs that it would be alright but they didn't even scope down the throat, they scoped the nasal passage way only. They were adamant I'd just go get the sleep test done which did prove sleep apnea. After that if CPAP doesn't work, come back and lets talk about surgery. That's the summed up message they gave me. That's why I am here, can't help but wonder if there's something else contributing to the apnea. From being totally fine one day and now having a lot of discomfort trying to breathe while getting a massage.

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kd15 +0 points · 2 months ago

This used to happen to me all the time, starting about a year ago. I didn't really have other symptoms of apnea that I noticed except occasionally waking up gasping for air. Since I've been on CPAP, about 3 weeks, the waking obstructive events entirely stopped, although I don't know why (strengthened throat muscles because of the constant air pressure? The air pressure forcing a widening of the air passages?). I question if it's true apnea, because since you're awake and can consciously breathe to overcome it your breathing never actually stops, which you don't do when you're asleep, but the events seem highly related: if it's happening when you're awake, it's probably happening when you're asleep, but even more severely.

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velacook +0 points · 2 months ago Original Poster

Yup I don't doubt that there's actual sleep apnea. The tested showed it and I fit the bill physically. I am wondering if something is making it worse to the point that there's obstruction while I am awake. However it's also not constant, there are times when lying down and I am totally fine but like yesterday my wife got me a massage for father's day and while lying down, it felt like i was breathing out of a straw. It's almost like some painless inflammation or something.

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