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Anyone have sleep apnea experience?

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elrohwen

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FI and I think he may have sleep apnea
I often wake up to hear him breathe in, hold his breath for maybe 5-10 seconds, then breath out loudly and back in again. I''d say it happens at least 3-4 nights a week, and I might be sleeping through it the other times. He doesn''t have any symptoms such as being tired during the day and he would never know about it if I didn''t wake up to hear it.

I think his doctor doesn''t quite believe he has it, because he has absolutely none of the common risk factors (not overweight, not a smoker, etc). She wanted to see if he does it on his back and on his side, which I confirmed that he did. So now he''s working with her to set up a sleep study and then we''ll know for sure.

Does anyone have experience with sleep apnea and possible treatments? It would be so wonderful if he could get some simple surgery to fix the problem. He''s very nervous about having to wear a breathing apparatus for the rest of his life.

I''m very worried about him because I know it can have all sorts of negative consequences on the health of your heart. He''s so healthy otherwise and so active that this is all kind of scary.
 

neatfreak

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Big hugs girl! It can be treated but I hate to tell you that sometimes the only way to do it is by wearing an oxygen mask. My dad has it too - and also no risk factors - but he REFUSES to wear the oxygen mask even though his docs have determine that it''s the best way for him to help. My mom and I are so mad at him because he is just too stubborn to do it.

Hope your FI can get an easy fix!
 

Clio

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My husband has sleep apnea. Like your FI, he has none of the risk factors, but his sleep apnea is pretty bad.

He uses a CPAP machine at night. It''s really not so bad once you get used to it, and there are lots of different mask styles, so he can probably find one he can tolerate.

As I understand, the surgery is often not effective (I am not a doctor, however). It''s only anecdotal, but one of my colleagues had the surgery about a decade ago. He had a very difficult recovery, and he still has sleep apnea.

I would encourage your FI to have a sleep study.
 

elrohwen

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Thanks NF and Clio. It''s discouraging to hear that treatments other than the CPAP don''t work very well
NF, that''s too bad that your dad won''t wear the mask. I hope if FI''s doctor recommends it he''ll actually use it.

Clio, when you say that your husband''s apnea is bad, can you describe what you mean by bad? I kind of assume FI''s isn''t too bad because he doesn''t seem to have the secondary side effects (like being tired all the time), but I don''t really know what "bad" is in this case.

I can tell he''s really upset that something is wrong with him ... he''s so used to being very healthy. It''s also affecting my sleep, because when he wakes me up in the morning, I find it hard to get back to sleep again when I know I have to wake up in an hour or so.
 

melz

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There is also a mouth guard you can get that pushes the lower jaw out just a bit which for some reason helps some people.
 

elrohwen

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Melanie, have you had any success with the mouth guard (or know anyone who has)? That sounds like a great option if it''s effective.
 

meresal

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I'm so sorry you're encountering this. It is so scary, especially when you're the one that wakes up in the middle of the night, because you can't hear your SO breathing. I don't know how it happens, but I woke up every single time. C had no idea he was doing it, but there were nights when I was scared to fall asleep, worried that I wouldn't wake up to help him.

He had sleep apnea when we first started dating. He was probably about 15 lbs overweight at the time. I had to physically wake him up on one or two occassions
, but other than that after about 5-10 seconds he would start again. This was when we lived in separate cities, but it happened once or twice when we met up on the weekends.

C started running every day about 2 yrs ago, dropped about 20 lbs. I have only heard it once or twice since then, and that is when he is flat out exhausted. It could be contributed to the weight loss, but he has since put about 15 of it back on, and no sleep apnea.

Does your FI workout regularly?
 

elrohwen

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Mer, thanks for sharing your story. It is really scary! I actually wake him up every time I get woken up because I can''t lie there and listen to it. He just keeps repeating the not breathing thing and it freaks me out way too much. Thank goodness it''s only 5-10 seconds of not breathing; I read online that some people stop for up to a minute. That would be so scary to wake up and find him not breathing for such a long period of time.

FI is one of the skinniest people I know and he works out at least 5 times a week (mostly running or playing basketball with intramural teams). If he doesn''t lift weights at least twice a week he actually loses weight, despite eating huge quantities of food
I wish I had that problem. So unfortunately, he definitely can''t lose any weight; there''s not an ounce of fat on him! The only thing I can think of is that we often have a beer with dinner. Now, I don''t see how one beer at 7pm can affect your sleep at 5am, but you never know I guess. That will be the first thing we try to cut out.
 

PugLover

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Date: 3/24/2009 4:39:27 PM
Author: elrohwen
Melanie, have you had any success with the mouth guard (or know anyone who has)? That sounds like a great option if it''s effective.

I work at a dental office and we have recently started making these appliances for patients. The one that we make is called the TAP3 (Thornton adjustable positioner). There are other "brands" out there and this is just one of them but the way it works is there are two mouth guards (top and bottom), they fit together with a little latch which is set up to protrude your mandible forward just a bit so that your airway is more open when lying down. We haven''t been offering them to patients for very long so I can''t say anything about how effective it is, but I do know of one patient who doesn''t have sleep apnea but she both snores and grinds her teeth at night and using this device her teeth are protected from grinding and she finds that she needs less sleep and wakes up feeling more refreshed.

You''re on the right track though, the best thing right now I think is to get that sleep study done and get some answers. Hope his issues get resolved quickly!
 

elrohwen

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Thanks for posting that Puglover! I had read a little about the mouth guards, but couldn''t find a picture anywhere. That''ll be really helpful to show his doctor in case she doesn''t know what we''re talking about
 

melz

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Melanie, have you had any success with the mouth guard (or know anyone who has)? That sounds like a great option if it''s effective.


~Elrohwen

Elrohwen - Nothing works for my boyfriend, he''s had the surgery where they take a lot of stuff out, not sure exactly what .... uses the C-Pap machine and also the mouth guard, and of course multiple sleep studies. Poor guy. Anyway, I think he likes the mouth guard okay, better than the machine but he uses that too.

He''s an extreme case. Most people I hear about (including my stepfather) use the breathing machine and it''s like a miracle, suddenly they wake up feeling refreshed.

Good luck to you guys. It doesn''t sound like he''s bad off so I''m sure you''ll find a solution.
 

Clio

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Date: 3/24/2009 11:00:32 AM
Author: elrohwen

Clio, when you say that your husband''s apnea is bad, can you describe what you mean by bad? I kind of assume FI''s isn''t too bad because he doesn''t seem to have the secondary side effects (like being tired all the time), but I don''t really know what ''bad'' is in this case.
When he went in for his sleep study, they found that his breathing was stopping quite a lot in the night (I don''t remember how often, but it was a scary high number) and put him on a CPAP in the middle of the study. He noticed a big difference in how he felt during the day after using the CPAP. He doesn''t really like it, but he tolerates it because of the difference it has made.

On a side note, the CPAP machine has helped my sleep so much. Not only does it take care of his snoring, but it generates a very soothing white noise.
 

dragonfly411

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My grandfather has sleep apnea. Does your husband snore? Does he ever get dizzy in the mornings?
 

elrohwen

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Melanie and Clio, thank you for coming back and responding! Melanie, I really hope that FI isn''t too bad. I''m so sorry your BF has such trouble finding relief! And Clio, I''m curious to know how many times his breathing is actually stopping. I only wake up once or twice a night (between 4 and 6am) so if that''s it, it''s probably not too bad. But for all I know, he could be doing it all night long


Dragonfly, he snores a very tiny bit and only when he''s sleeping on his back (and usually right as he''s falling asleep). I just make him roll on his side and it stops. The apnea appears to happen on his side or his back though. And no, he''s not dizzy and doesn''t have any other side effects during the day. If I were a more sound sleeper and didn''t wake up to it, we''d never know it was an issue.

This morning he did it again and I decided to wait and see how long it would go on instad of waking him up immediately. Luckily, he only did it 2-3 times before snapping out of it and breathing normally again. I''m going to continue to let it go on and see how long he keeps it up because this is probably a good indicator of how serious it is. It is hard to lie there and let it go on though. If he did it for longer than 5-10 seconds I wouldn''t be able to stand it.

I read online that there are two types of sleep apnea: in one case, something physically blocks your breathing (this is obviously easier to fix with surgery or mouth guards); in the other type, the brain just stops you from breathing for some reason. It''s this second type that scares us because it seems so much less fixable than the first.
 

Pandora II

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A very good friend of mine had surgery for this a couple of years ago. I''m not sure that ''simple'' would be a good way of describing it. He was in considerable pain and it took a fairly long time to recover from - he was off work for over a month.

However it was very successful - he''d done the sleep studies and had masks at night and it still wasn''t helping, hence having the surgery.
 

elrohwen

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Wow, Pandora, off work for a month!
From what I read online it seemed about as simple as havig your tonsils removed. So maybe there are different kinds or maybe what I read was understating it by a lot.

I''m glad the surgery was successful for your friend!
 

Pandora II

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Date: 3/25/2009 1:20:53 PM
Author: elrohwen
Wow, Pandora, off work for a month!
From what I read online it seemed about as simple as havig your tonsils removed. So maybe there are different kinds or maybe what I read was understating it by a lot.

I''m glad the surgery was successful for your friend!
He was in hospital for over a week...

Just wanted to say that they rarely recommend having your tonsils removed as an adult - it is a much less painful and stressful operation as a child. I''ve no idea why - any ENT surgeons lurking here?
 

elrohwen

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Date: 3/25/2009 1:41:59 PM
Author: Pandora II

Date: 3/25/2009 1:20:53 PM
Author: elrohwen
Wow, Pandora, off work for a month!
From what I read online it seemed about as simple as havig your tonsils removed. So maybe there are different kinds or maybe what I read was understating it by a lot.

I''m glad the surgery was successful for your friend!
He was in hospital for over a week...

Just wanted to say that they rarely recommend having your tonsils removed as an adult - it is a much less painful and stressful operation as a child. I''ve no idea why - any ENT surgeons lurking here?
I''m seeing my ENT tomorrow. I''ll have to ask!
 

HeartingDiamonds

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Hubby too was diagnosed with sleep apnea many years but the cause for his? Get this, an "abnormally large tongue" (bring on the jokes, folks
, I couldn''t stop giggling myself when I read the report). Yup, that''s mah man...

So, no surgery for him - only a CPAP machine works and I have to say, its worked really well for him.

Good luck with your boyfriend!
 

strmrdr

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don''t have classic sleep apnea but my o2 bombs at night from obstruction but I don''t stop breathing.
o2 at night helps a lot.

Sorta Like HeartingDiamonds'' hubby it is partially a tongue problem but a different cause.
Only fix is a total reconstruction of my lower jaw.
A dentist when I was a kid tried to fix my jaw with an appliance He didn''t know what he was doing and made it worse.
 

elrohwen

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HeartingDiamonds, lol at the abnormally large tongue. I''m waiting for them to say something similar about FI. Did it take your husband long to adjust to the CPAP machine? FI is very scared of using one ... I think he''s nervous that it''ll just be such a huge change and a burden. What are your DH''s feelings on it?

Strm, sorry to hear that your dentist made your problem worse! It''s such a shame when doctors/dentists do things without having all the knowledge about it first.
 

Tacori E-ring

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My mom had it (they confirmed it by her doing a sleep study) and had to have surgery.
 

HeartingDiamonds

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Elrohwen,

He adjusted to it within a few days. We had the giggles the first night (yanno, the "Luke, I am your faduh" jokes) but even I got used to the white noise after the first night. It was certainly better than trying to listen for his breathing and rousing him to change positions, etc.

Also, while your BF may not feel it as yet because of his age, he may actually not be getting enough sleep and rest because of his condition! Hubby wakes up refreshed, completely rested and happy from sound, uninterrupted sleep now.

The newer machines are compact, lightweight and pretty easy to use. Please tell him the condition is much more common than people would think.

And the abnormally large tongue is just a bonus now.
 

atroop711

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my dad has sleep apnea. Your FI can be diagnosed by going to a sleep clinic for an overnight stay. They will have him hooked up and watched to see if he stops breathing and how often. Then if he does, he will be given a CPAP mask. This has to be worn during his sleep. It stands for CONTINUOUS POSITIVE AIR PRESSURE. IT's like sleeping with DARTH VADOR (lol..not so bad).

If your FI is concerned, I would go to a specialist and get it checked out. The best thing they could say is NOPE he doesn't have it. GL

BTW my nephew had sleep apnea (he's 4). They removed his tonsils and adenoids (sp?) and he's sleeping so peacefully now. Not sure if they do this or if it's warranted with adults.
 

kama_s

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Aww, Elrohwen, we are going through the exact same problem right now. So nice to read suggestions from everyone. I have a very strong suspicion that Mr. Kama has sleep apnea, but he doesn''t have any of the other symptoms, such as being tired the next day etc. He''s also not overweight (super lanky, infact), has NEVER smoked, relatively active. I''ve recorded him sleeping on my phone, just so he can hear what he sounds like when he''s asleep. His dad is on the machine for years for severe apnea, so I wonder if there''s a genetic component.

I suggested going to a sleep clinic. I suppose our family MD has to refer us to one? It''s great you guys have started looking into treatment options, you''re totally my inspiration right now.

I''m worried about him, as I''m sure you are for Mr. Elrohwen
 

elrohwen

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Kama, I''m so glad that I could start a thread that would help someone else in my position, but I''m very sorry you have to go through this too
I remember the picture of Mr Kama from your wedding and his build is a lot like my FI''s. Definitely not the "type" that usually has sleep apnea, which makes it all the more frustrating. I know FI is scared that it will affect his heart and with all of the sports he plays that would be his worst nightmare.

I believe FI''s doctor has to refer him to a sleep study. FI''s kind of slow in calling her back (he had his physical a week or two ago and she said to call her back about setting up the sleep study). FSIL actually worked in a sleep lab for a year, so I''m hoping she can give him some perspective of what to expect and how important it is to go through with it. If she has any great information or advice I''ll post it here.

That''s a good idea to record his breathing. I was trying to think of how to go about it, but it never occurred to me to use my phone.

(((hugs))) Kama. It''s nice to know that others are in the same boat and that this is not so uncommon, even for people who don''t fit the stereotype.
 
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