Archive for April, 2011

Sleep Apnea

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Well, if it weren’t enough that I have to deal with Cerebral Palsy, I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea:

Sleep apnea (or sleep apnoea in British English; English pronunciation: /æpˈniːə/) is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

1) obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
The it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

2) central sleep apnea (CSA)
Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.

And a combination of Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea

3) Mixed or Combination Sleep Apnea

And not just any sleep apnea, but the most rare of the 3 types.
*Information about Sleep Apnea was taken from WebMD (http://

In looking at the symptoms of Sleep Apnea, I wonder how I never came across this diagnosis before, as I experience more than one of these symptoms!

Common sleep apnea symptoms include:

    Waking up with a very sore and/or dry throat
    Loud snoring
    Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
    Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
    Sleepiness while driving (I don’t drive, but I have fallen asleep RIDING in a car)
    Morning headaches
    Restless sleep
    Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
    Recurrent awakenings or insomnia

The treatment for sleep apnea can range from life style changes such as losing weight to machines that alllow for a continuous airflow, called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP. There is a level above CPAP, BiPAP, for BiLevel Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and I’m actually on Assisted BiPAP. Basically it’s all controlled by a computer, The computer monitors my breathing and adjusts the flow accordingly. Ain’t that just special?

Sorry, sarcasm isn’t going to to change the facts. Basically, I have had a major shock to my life, and now I have been told to deal with it. And to deal with it, I’m going to be strapped to a machine at night for the rest of my life.

So, my memory problems haven’t been from been overmedicated, they’ve been from the sleep apnea! Sheesh! I can’t wait to tell one of my doctors this and see what his response is! Maybe he won’t be trying to get me off all the pain drugs, which is basically putting me through hell.

All of my symptoms that he’s attributed to overmedicating are also symptoms of sleep apnea!

I am still feeling my way with the system. I lost a small piece of the mask a few days ago. Hopefully, I get that replaced tonight and I’ll get it woring. Without that small piece ther was a lot of gaps so it wasn’t sealing the mask correctly, so it wasn’t doing much. So I didn’t wear it for 2 days. I hope tonight that will change.