We use cookies and other tools to enhance your experience on our website and to analyze our web traffic.
For more information about these cookies and the data collected, please refer to our Privacy Policy.

Symptoms Pre-Diangnosis

1 post
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
ExuberantYellowReindeer9186 +0 points · about 7 years ago Original Poster

I underwent a sleep study about 3 years ago due to complaints of daytime tiredness; however, my primary concern at the time was my inability to fall asleep before 3 am. This was due to my having Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD). I did the study without having corrected the DSPD and it took me, predictably, over an hour to fall asleep. The results came back that I had an AHI index of 5.1 and this qualified me for treatment via CPAP. I used the CPAP, but with little success because my primary problem was not being able to fall asleep before 3 am. While researching online, I stumbled across Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder and its treatment. Since then I have pretty much corrected the DSPD. I returned the CPAP machine to the office since I was convinced that my problem was fixed. After struggling with DSPD for several years, the sleep quality after fixing it was relatively superb at the time.

Fast-forward three years later and I am having issues with staying awake throughout the day and getting up in the morning. A typical day for me now is as follows. I go to bed around 9:30 or 10:00 pm (this would have been impossible before fixing the DSPD). I fall asleep within 15 or so minutes. Work starts at 8 but I struggle immensely to get out of bed when my alarm goes off at six. I finally force myself out of bed at 7, rush to get a shower (if I'm lucky), and head off to work. The first half of the morning is not so bad. After lunch I feel like I need to hide in a bathroom stall and go to sleep. After I make it past 3 pm, I know that I can make it the rest of the way. When I get off work at 5 I barely have enough energy to do anything at home, so I watch tv and go to bed to repeat the same process.

I became increasingly skeptical about my original sleep study. The report itself was poorly written. It had very basic grammatical errors. It was also just inaccurate in some places. For example, it said that I was a 40 year old male on the report, but I was only 22 when I took that test. I realize that these mistakes could just be those of a careless lab technician and that this doesn't necessarily reflect on the doctor's diagnosis. At the same time, however, these lab technicians are the same ones who were wiring me up that night of the study as well as monitoring the results and performing the pressure titration the following night.

Because of this, I decided to see a different sleep physician. He was very kind and seemed well-informed about sleep issues. He too, was skeptical, although in a professional tone, about the practices of the doctor whom I had seen before. He said that the AHI score of 5.1 was very curious and that if that 5.1 was truly accurate, then the physical effects of it should be negligible as far as daytime tiredness goes. So for the time being, he prescribed me Provigil. Since technically I qualified for the OSA diagnosis from the previous report, he was able to prescribe it to me without having to jump through any hoops. We discussed other possibilities for later on after I had some time to experience what the medicine could do for me. During the work week, I noticed that it made me extremely anxious when talking to people one-on-one. I felt like I was being interrogated. This frightened me and I did not take it on Friday after having taken it the whole week. Friday was horrible and I barely made it through. I made an appointment to see the doctor again the following week to discuss getting an additional sleep study to see if maybe I really do have obstructive sleep apnea. My doctor really seemed to believe that narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia were possibilities, which is terrifying because of the limited treatment options for these condition (and I used to think a CPAP mask was bad). I just feel so strange identifying as a narcoleptic, since I have never, to my knowledge, fallen asleep at an inappropriate time; I always seem to barely push through. Okay, in high school I fell asleep in a couple classes, but who didn't.

To finally get to the point, I am writing to ask you all what your experience was like before getting treated for sleep apnea.

My biggest problems are the following.

Waking up is extremely difficult.- I have to set alarm clocks in the kitchen to make sure that I don't sleep through them. And even when I do get up to turn them off, I consciously determine that I feel so awful that I would rather go back to bed to scrounge for two more hours of sleep even if it means that I barely have time to get to work.

No matter how much sleep i get, I still feel tired. I can sleep for 10 or more hours on the weekends and still feel bad throughout the day.

I do wake up off-and -on throughout the night, but I barely remember doing so. I do dream but inconsistently, either too much or not at all.

Thank you for your responses.

944 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
wiredgeorge +0 points · about 7 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Pre treatment symptoms for apnea sufferers vary widely based on my observations here. Some common ones are day time nodding off but also snoring at night as well as frequent potty breaks. The potty breaks are one of the reasons for the day time sleepiness as your sleep never gets and stays in the deeper stages. If you stop breathing for extneded periods, this also contributes to the tiredness as blood oxygen levels go low and stay there for quite awhile during apnea incidents in some cases.

I only can comment on my own symptoms. I nodded off while driving and operating power tools frequently. I definitely nodded off while being still. I felt a bit tired but not overly so. I slept about 4.5 to 6 hours every night but got up to hit the potty at least 3 or more times a night (probably didn't really have to go so much as it was an impulse as sleep got real shallow). I had no trouible getting up in the morning nor falling asleep at night.

After a sleep study, I was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea and found my O2 levels were in the low 70s quite a few times. Once on therapy, I still get the same 4.5 - 6 hours of sleep but NEVER wake and don't remember dreaming (I did have a lot of dreams prior to therapy. I don't fall asleep during the day and have not had to get off my motorcycle while riding because I was nodding off. I have not had an energy drink or eaten a sugar pill to keep awake. I don't feel particularly perky or the like when waking but I do breathe VERY EASILY because the pressure keeps my nose clear at night regardless whether I have a stuffy nose or not. I look forward to putting the mask on to sleep.

Please be advised that these posts may contain sensitive material or unsolicited medical advice. MyApnea does not endorse the content of these posts. The information provided on this site is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for advice from a health care professional who has evaluated you.