- This topic has 22 replies, 16 voices, and was last updated August 30, 2012 at 2:22 am by .
- February 15, 2009 at 1:07 pm #270586
Two years ago I had been having chest pains, pretty bad but didnt want to worry my husband. It was so hard to breathe and the only way I could get any relief was to bend over. It felt as thought my heart was tryng to come out of my chest from the front and the back.
It was lasting over two weeks and I knew that it was about time to see a doctor. I had waited a little to long though. Four days before my appointment the pain became too much.
That night I was “trying” to sleep but it was useless and by 2 AM the pain was more than I could bare. I tried to wake my husband but he is such a sound sleeper that I just couldnt wake him. I didnt want to bother anyone else so I managed to get my cloths on and drive myself to the hospital.
Thank goodness that the University of Virginia Hospital is only 20 minutes away. I walked into the hospital bent over just so that I could breathe. Lucky me – it wasnt busy!!
The nurse took me right back to take my vitals. I have always had excellent blood pressure and always been in good health. My heart rate was excessively high along with my blood pressure that was so hight that the nurse said that I needed to go right back – she was afraid that a heart attack was emminent.
All I wanted was for the pain to stop!! After 5 hours of treatment I was told that I had Pericarditis. (The heart is contained in a sac called the pericardium.
Just like in pleurisy, this sac can become inflamed and cause pain. As opposed to angina, this pain tends to be sharp and is due to the inflamed sac rubbing against the outer layers of the heart.) I was giving an something for the inflammation and pain then had to have a needle inserted in my heat to remove the fluid. This was scarey but needed to be done.
Mind you by this time my husband still didnt know where I was. They let me call him and he rushed right to me just in time for the drainage procedure. (he felt so guilty too – but I made him aware that it was fine 🙂 ) Well to make a long story short – everything went fine and I seemed to get better!!
My general doctor checked me out and sent me to a sleep specialist. I underwent a sleep study – I have sleep apnea!! i would stop breathing over 60 times an hour for over 30 seconds!! Now this being said – sleep apnea had caused my heart issue.
I now have chronic Pericarditis (I was told for the rest of my life) which I have to take medicine for. I wear a “contraption” (cpap) everynight.
the reason i am telling you this – is because this all could have been prevented it i had watched the signs by body was given to me long before my eventful visit to the hospital!!
so please take care of yourself!!!
sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. each episode, called apneas, lasts long enough so that one or more breaths are missed, and occurs repeatedly throughout sleep. the standard definition of any apneic event includes a minimum of 10 second interval between breaths, with either a neurological arousal (a three-second or greater shift in EEG frequency, measured at C3, C4, O1 or O2), a blood oxygen desaturation of 3-4% or greater, or both arousal and desaturation.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram.Clinically significant levels of sleep apnea are defined as five or more episodes per hour of any type of apnea (from the polysomnogram).
There are three distinct forms of sleep apnea: central, obstructive and complex (complex is a combination of central and obstructive), made up of 0.4%, 84% and 15% of cases respectively. Breathing is interrupted by the lack of effort in central sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow despite effort.
In mixed sleep apnea, there is a transition from central to obstructive features during the events themselves.
Treatment of Sleep Apnea
cpap. the most common and arguably the most consistently effective treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (cpap) device, that ‘splints’ the patient’s airway open during sleep by means of a flow of pressurized air into the throat. in addition to cpap, a dentist specializing in sleep disorders can prescribe oral appliance therapy (oat) as well.
the oral appliance is a custom-made mouthpiece that shifts the lower jaw forward, opening up the airway. oat is usually successful in patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. oat is a relatively new treatment option for sleep apnea in the united states, but it’s more common in canada and europe.
unfortunately, cpap and oat are effective only for obstructive sleep apnea, not for central or mixed cases.
go lateral. for unknown reasons, possibly due to changes in pulmonary oxygen stores, sleeping in the lateral position has been found to be helpful for central sleep apnea with cheyne stokes respiration (csa-csr), where respiratory control instability plays a major pathophysiological role.
medications. acetazolamide and other types of medication lower blood ph and encourage respiration. low doses of oxygen are also used as a treatment for hypoxia but are discouraged due to side effects.
didgeridoo. a 2005 study in the British Medical Journal found that learning and practicing the didgeridoo helped reduce snoring and sleep apnea, as well as daytime sleepiness. This appears to work by strengthening muscles in the upper airway, reducing their tendency to collapse during sleep.
Drugs to Avoid. Many drugs and agents used during surgery to relieve pain and to depress consciousness remain in the body at low amounts for hours or even days afterwards. In an individual with either central, obstructive or mixed sleep apnea, these low doses may be enough to cause life-threatening irregularities in breathing.
Use of analgesics and sedatives in these patients postoperatively should be minimized or avoided.
Green Tea. Compounds found in green tea may help ward off the neurological damage that can come with the breathing disorder sleep apnea, a recent animal study hints. Researchers found that when they added green tea antioxidants to the rats’ drinking water, it appeared to protect the animals’ brains during bouts of oxygen deprivation designed to mimic the effects of obstructive sleep apnea (osa).
the findings suggest that green tea compounds should be further studied as a potential osa therapy, the researchers report in the american journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. osa is a common disorder in which soft tissues in the throat temporarily collapse and block the airway during sleep, causing repeated stops and starts in breathing throughout the night.
lifestyle changes. some treatments involve lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol or muscle relaxants, losing weight and quitting smoking. many people benefit from sleeping at a 30 degree elevation of the upper body or higher, as if in a recliner.
Doing so helps prevent the gravitational collapse of the airway.
Lateral positions (sleeping on one side), as opposed to supine positions (sleeping on the back), are also recommended as a treatment for sleep apnea, largely because the gravitational component is smaller than in the lateral position.
Other options. Another option is wearing an oral appliance designed to keep your throat open. cpap is more effective than oral appliances, but oral appliances may be easier for you to use.
some are designed to open your throat by bringing your jaw forward, that can sometimes relieve both snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.
a number of devices are available from your dentist. you may need to try different devices before finding one that works for you. once you find the right fit, you’ll still need to follow up with your dentist at least every six months during the first year and then at least once a year after that to ensure that the fit is still good and to reassess your signs and symptoms.
undergo surgery. surgery on the mouth and throat, as well as other dental procedures can result in postoperative swelling of the lining of the mouth and other areas that affect the airway. the surgical procedure is designed to improve the airway, such as tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy or tongue reduction.
swelling may negate some of the effects in the immediate postoperative period. individuals with sleep apnea generally require more intensive monitoring after surgery for these reasons.
the goal of surgery for sleep apnea is to remove excess tissue from your nose or throat that may be vibrating and causing you to snore. you may be blocking your upper air passages and causing sleep apnea. surgical options may include:
during this procedure, your doctor removes tissue from the rear of your mouth and top of your throat. your tonsils and adenoids are usually removed as well. this type of surgery may be successful in stopping throat structures from vibrating and causing snoring; however, it may be less successful in treating sleep apnea because tissue farther down your throat may still block your air passage.
uppp is usually performed in a hospital and requires a general anesthetic.
maxillomandibular advancement. in this procedure, the upper and lower part of your jaw is moved forward from the remainder of your face bones. this enlarges the space behind the tongue and soft palate, making obstruction less likely.
this procedure may require the cooperation of an oral surgeon and an orthodontist, and at times may be combined with another procedure to improve the likelihood of success.
tracheostomy. you may need this form of surgery if other treatments have failed and you have severe, life-threatening sleep apnea. in this procedure, your surgeon makes an opening in your neck and inserts a metal or plastic tube through which you breathe.
you keep the opening covered during the day. but at night you uncover it to allow air to pass in and out of your lungs, bypassing the blocked air passage in your throat.
removing tissues in the back of your throat with a laser (laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty) or with radiofrequency energy (radiofrequency ablation) are procedures that doctors sometimes use to treat snoring. although sometimes these procedures are combined with others, they aren’t usually recommended as sole treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.
along with these treatments, you may read or hear about different treatments for sleep apnea, such as implants. although a number of medical devices and procedures have received food and drug administration clearance, there’s limited published research regarding how useful they are, and they aren’t generally recommended as sole therapies.
causes of sleep apnea
generally, drugs that are central respiratory depressants also have sedative effects, so the individual taking a toxic dose of such a drug is likely to be asleep, or at least be in an altered state of consciousness when breathing becomes irregular. alcohol is considered a central respiratory depressant in large doses, and so are opiates, barbiturates, benzodiazepines and many other tranquilizers.
some individuals have abnormalities that predispose them to central sleep apnea. the treatment for the condition depends on its specific cause. similarly, in any person who has some form of sleep apnea (including obstructive sleep apnea), breathing irregularities during sleep can be dangerously aggravated by taking one of these drugs.
quantities that are normally considered safe may cause the person with chronic sleep apnea to stop breathing altogether. should these individuals have general anesthesia, for example, they require prolonged monitoring after initial recovery, compared to a person with no history of sleep apnea, because apnea is likely to occur with even low levels of the drugs in their system.
treatment for sleep apnea is aimed at restoring regular nighttime breathing and relieving symptoms such as loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. sleep apnea treatments also help with associated medical problems such as high blood pressure and reduce the patient’s risk of heart attack and stroke. as such, armed with all this knowledge, be assured that you’ve already won half the battle against this tricky respiratory condition.
- February 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm #414890
My sister’s “sorta” boyfriend has this. And he’s claimed he’s tried everything, but surgery. Which actually stumps me as to why he’d hesitate most on that option since he’s an anesthesiologist. But I don’t think he’s tried the didgeridoo yet.
So, what were the warning signs if I may ask? You mentioned it was preventable but you really didn’t mention what the signs were.
- February 15, 2009 at 1:41 pm #414895
I was tired all the time!! i would fall alseep in the middle of conversations, on the phone at my desk doing work. i would actually “space-out” when trying to concentrate on work.
my memory was getting pretty bad!! i would be getting dressed for work..then start to freak-out cause i would be looking at the time and realize that i hadnt taken the kids to school yet….then i would run down the hall to wake them up and then realize that i had already taken them!!! this is bad though – i had even gotten to the point where i was forgetting the names of my family members!!!
i just thought it was an aging process but it wasnt. my mood swings and the headaches that i had never had before that were really bad.
not to mention that i would wake up with a constant sore throat.
i hope this helps 🙂
- February 15, 2009 at 1:47 pm #414896
I am constantly kicking my husband to make him breathe at night. Thank you for the post. Did you know you can use your vaccume cleaner hose (clean it first) as a didgideroo? thank again.
I’m am making him read this one!
- February 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm #414913
So you going to try the surgery Lynn?? I didnt think you were but you forgot to tell me 🙂
- February 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm #414916
Thank you so much for the information, I’m going to relay it to my sister so she can tell her sorta boyfriend
- February 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm #414917
I hope he see’s a doctor….sleep apnea can lead to alot of health issues!! 🙂
- February 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm #414920
Him being an anesthesiologist makes him feel like he knows all though healthwise so its kinda hard for him TO see a doctor
- February 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm #414921
My sister suffered from sleep apnea so badly that she needed the machine to help her breathe. When she lost over 100 lbs, then she no longer had it.
- February 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm #414929
Thanks for a very informative post. Much more info than my doctor ever shared with me when I was diagnosed with sleep apnea 5 years ago.Lynn, I’m sorry yours went so long that it did irreversable damage and the the pain and scare you had to go through. I sleep with a CPAP at night and know I should use it even when I lay down for a short nap, but sometimes it just feels so good to get comfy without the machine in the way.
I think I have 2 types, where I stop breathing for 15 seconds or so numerous times during an hour but also stop breathing for over 2 minutes several times an hour and my oxygen level drops to the 50’s.
I never had the symthoms Lynn had and would never have known about my apnea or the dangerous drop of oxygen if it weren’t for my husband noticing that I stopped breathing for such long periods of time.
He would poke me and that would make me start breathing again. I also snored a lot. The machine you use has different settings and you do need to have a sleep study done for it to be set correctly.
It takes awhile to get used to sleeping with that contraption over your face but since I don’t want to have a heart attack or a stroke I use it.
fosterfamily5 – please make your hubby see a doctor, his problem sounds like mine.
Thanks again Lynn for the very informative post. I learned that I need to be careful of medications and also let my doctors know in case I need surgery. My sleep apnea doctor never told me these things.
- February 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm #414944
Thanks for educating others about this very serious condition. I too was just diagnosed with sleep apnea. I have found that it does help in my sleep but I have a hard time keeping it on because I am a stomach sleeper and so I have tried many different approaches to make sure that I continue to sleep on my back or side.
One thing did your husband ever come to get you? Take Care ~beth:038:
- February 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm #414951
i have it too….. and altho i didn’t see one of my… um perk……i have a kind that is so weird..
it feels as if i’m dying i can see but can’t move and the pain is so great once i can move even if it’s just a toe.. it breaks the spell and i can move the first time it happened i really thought i was going to die.. and hubby was right next to me but i couldn’t speak or move to tell him my doc sent me to a sleep clinic the first time they just had me sleep they didn’t give me the cpap that night….
they then had me come back and did a two day study…. the first night i could go to sleep when i wanted to and sleep as long as i wanted to… they also gave me the mask (cpap) when i woke up in the morning i was allowed to eat and wash up then the fun part started….
i was up an hour then slept 20 min then slept an hour and up for 20 min… they did this all day…..i told them i could do this forever but i really just wanted to sleep…. they said the longest it took me to fall asleep was 3 minutes…..
mostly i was asleep before my head hit the pillow… i too was tired all the time, but i also have narcolespy (sp)… people who are over weight are more likely to have this (sleep apnea) and don’t think just because you have a cpap that all is done and going good…it just like any other machine needs to be checked and so do you..
- February 16, 2009 at 9:57 am #415012
I would have thought my husband would have notice my breathing pattern – but he is such a deep sleeper, plus he snores. I worry that he may have it as well. I am working on lossing the weight too because the doctor told me that weight is a big factor too with sleep apnea.
Arron is working on the weight loss too. Its really tough too but I have been working on the weight loss for two years and I have lost over 20 pounds in the two years. I dont feel like I am on a diet because of the time factor either.
I am glad that you got to the doctor in time as well Niddi! I was lucky enough to find a doctor who is wonderful and who has kept me informed 🙂
- February 18, 2009 at 2:34 am #415237
My BIL has been diagnosed with this too.
- February 18, 2009 at 9:27 am #415253
I have found that sleep apnea is more common than we all know!!
- March 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm #417305
i sometimes wonder if i have this.. it’s hard for me to sleep and sometimes i wake up coughing like i haven’t breathed. i snore sometimes but not much..
and my coughing doesn’t happen all the time, but sometimes.. maybe 3 out of 10 times.. i’m gonna go talk to a doctor soon about this.
thanks for the info!!!
- June 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm #422775
I have lucked out. When dh and i first started liveing togather he got verry worried about my sleep aptnia. i had been told what it was by a friend who was a ex dr. he had urged me to get away from my traveling job whear it was imposable to get diagnosed and treat and go home to have it taken care of.
i just was not able sooner. dh dident like the idea i could stop breathing for good. then my memory started to get really bad.
we were worried and never thought to link it to the sleep apnia. i could make dinner, eat , do the dishes and then sit on the couch with dh and turn to him a bit later and ask ” so what do you want for dinner?” i honestly dident remember eating.
after this instance i called my mom and aksed about history of mental illness in our family. she said there was none. dh started insisting i go in and check it out.
so, i finally broke down and went. the test was expensive but i feel better now. the dr said they only realised in recent years that children and babys can have sleep aptnia.
i have had sleep apnia scence i was born. i have also had anima most of my life and till my first pregnacy so i was thin . the added waight i have gaind scence i got married dose not help.
still the drs say besides my breathing problems (cronic sinus itus and azsma) i am superiseingly fit. i say i lucked out because i could have easily had a problem like faxonfive. instead i just cant think half of the time and get worn out easily.
my bi-pap is at the max preasure it can go and i am not letting them do surgery on me as its not even 50% on weather it will help and costs more than my house. The machine is scary but its worth it.
- June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm #422834
Sounds like it could be asthma. That’s the way I did before diagnosed with it. Good luck!
- July 23, 2009 at 11:57 pm #423790
@faxonfive 107756 wrote:
Didgeridoo. A 2005 study in the British Medical Journal found that learning and practicing the didgeridoo helped reduce snoring and sleep apnea, as well as daytime sleepiness. This appears to work by strengthening muscles in the upper airway, reducing their tendency to collapse during sleep.
In Keeping with the theme of the site (You know, saving people money, lol) here’s a link for making your own didgeridoo for less than $10.
- September 15, 2010 at 10:56 am #428833
One of my friend was having same kind of problem. He was very upset due to this sleep disorder problem.But natural survival medicine having best solution for this.He continously it for few months and very well now. Melissa Officinalis(Lemon Balm) a member of the mint family and is used to help in treatment of sleep disorders when brewed as a tea.
The most useful application of lemon balm in the realm of the home is that oils from the lemon plant are a natural mosquito repellant.
- September 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm #428837
Thanks for the reminder that I need to use my CPAP every night! Sometimes, I get tired of wearing it and go days without it. I tend to forget that it’s not just for daytime sleepiness, but needed for my heart!
- October 3, 2010 at 2:43 am #428969
Well I have lost over 100 pounds…..and I have tons more energy. No surgery yet and none planned ….but I continue to religiously use my CPAP….I hope you all are too!! God Bless!!
- December 2, 2010 at 3:58 pm #429314
hello, so sad to hear about your problem. My friend was suffering from same problem Sleep Apnea. He tried health care medicines for that.
He is very well now. I think you must also try that it will decrease stress.
- August 30, 2012 at 2:22 am #432613
I have sleep aptnia and celiacs . Between the two im exhausted a lot. getting off the glutens has helped but I am about at max on the machine.
DR says that when I max it out im out of luck. Why not surgery? Honestly its extremely expensive.
More than paying off my house. Most insurances wont pay for it and for good reason. It has a low success rate.
Plus it is very painfull. No , ill pass. Ill share a trick though.
If you are new to the machine and cant take the humid hot air. The heat makes me feel like im drowning. Fill your water tank with ice.
It will melt for the humidity but stay cool long enough to fall asleep. For budget fixes…. If you get a hole in your tubeing ( I have cats that think its fun to attack my tube) use electrical tape to fix it.
It helps! Be sure to soak your tubeing in a sink of water and a cap of bleach at least once a month too.
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