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Harvard Health Blog
Snored to death: The symptoms and dangers of untreated sleep apnea
- By Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS, Contributor
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Last November, 2016, after two sleep studies, I was diagnosed with severe “brain central” OSA-Sleep Apnea. I am 75. Since December 15, I have been using a cpap mask with a ResMed AirCurve V10 auto (BiPap) machine.
I average nightly 8 hours of sleep. I started out with 47.5/hour AHI (apneas and hypopneas incidents per hour). After several increases in my pressure from 12/25 -almost no help, to 18/25, for past 2-months, my AHI is at my goal of 2-5 AHI per hour. The good news is that my blood oxygen levels went from as low as 84% to a normal 95% and above.
I am personally disappointed. After 3-months, I am still just as tired when I get up as before and I still have to take afternoon naps ( over an hour each day). I know technically the cpap machine is helping me. However, I do feel any better than before I started on the machine December 15th! I never miss using the machine daily
I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in 2014 & have real problems sleeping & physically exhausted due to only sleeping 30 to 60 minutes at a time xx. This has got worse since doctor reduced my sedative mess for ptsd & flashbacks . I also have tumours in my thyroid which may cause obstruction ?? Not happy not having my sedative meds that helped . Would an oral appliance help me ? What is an oral appliance & how does it work with cpap ?? I get up t toilet every 30 to 60 minutes too xx. Have lots of mucous that blocks my airways & is really painful to cough up to clear airways & with cpap I panic to get mask off choking with mucous .. is there anything that helps this or makes more barable .. ? My consultant thinks I have a condition called Bronchiectasis linked to having whooping cough & pneumonia & passive smoking from my dads pub from age of 7 which we lived above & was so smoky we had to gasp for air when smoke was extremely bad when busy . Would a bi pap be better suited to me
If you snore you may have sleep apnea. Most people have never heard of sleep apnea. Well it’s a real entity. It’s when a person frequently stops breathing during sleep. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and a multitude of other health issues. If you’re tired all day, doze at the wheel of your car, feel like you can’t get enough sleep, then tell your physician or dentist. A sleep study can be ordered to see if you have obstructive sleep apnea.
Don’t risk your life , ask your spouse or significant other if they hear you snore or see you struggling to breath while sleeping.
This article is very useful and educative.
Thank you to the editor. Great job.
I shared this article with my Parents. They have difficulty in releasing oxygen to their brains during sleep.
I suffer from Sleep apnea and have suffered for many man years without knowing it.. finally had the test done and it was pretty serious results.. now I’m on the CPAP machine and can’t live without it.. life changer for sure..
Its very nice to read such articles which is very helpful.
But remedy is also necessary.
Regarding snoring,can u pls give remedy for the same for females aged after 45 yrs
If you suspect you have a sleep breathing disorder, you should consult a physician with expertise in sleep medicine.
I want to know if taking Sleeping pill or valium or other pills is a bad idea – because you don’t get the right kind of sleep…?
Sleep medications can be helpful, but can also mask an underlying diagnosis. If sleep apnea is suspected, a sleep study should be performed prior to initiating sleep medications.
I fail to see the relationship between sleep apnea and letting pets sleep on one’s bed. Was this paragraph one that escaped from another article?
Pets in the bed tend to cause sleep disruptions, which can cause similar symptoms as sleep apnea.
sleep apnea is actually own played in sub saharan west africa. i am very convinced its clearly unidentified ,undiagnosed and untreated in most cases
given the attendant risks i believe medical personnel may need to probe into any one with excessive day time sleepiness
i must however say that even when pockets of clinicians make the diagnosis, treatment options are not available
Hello, thank you for the alarming info.. now, how do I treat night apneas on my 10 yr old whose dustmite allergy keeps his turbinates chronically swollen and the only alleviating treatment has been living by the sea? We do not live by the sea anymore and I have been advised to do daily multi nose cleanses with hypertonic sea water spray, and that’s what I have been doing for the past 9 yrs…together with other natural and less natural sprays, and homeopathic remedies. But there must be a better cure!! Doctor can you help us?
He may benefit from an ENT surgical evaluation.
I was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea in 2014. Have been using a cpap ever since. I am still incompliance, but it’s very frustrating because still get up at night. Tried sleeping without the cpap once and found I couldn’t nod off. Is is possible to get addicted to cpap? lol As for pets, I find if I don’t let my cat sleep with me she gets quite upset. So she sleeps at the foot of the bed. So far no problems.
An excellent article. I’ve had periods of sleep problems, and periods of generally good sleep. I seem to have benefited from using melatonin. 5 mg.
I awaken 2 times per night to urinate. I can’t go back to sleep unless I go to the bathroom. I often can’t return to sleep for an hour after this. I restrict my fluids all evening. I also awaken a few other times, but can go back to sleep. Isn’t this disruptive sleep due to having to urinate? I may have a small bladder. I started Detrol, but it doesn’t work to eliminate nighttime urination. What can I do?
I’ve been using a bipap for a year.
I have both kinds of sleep apnea stopping breathing 40 to 50 times per hour have not had a refreshed sleep since my teenage years (67 now)
I have a CPAP machine now that aids in my breathing occurances are down to 2 to 15 per hour each night is different
This could save your life
At least I got this one covered! Ruled out sleep apnea with a sleep study a few years ago. Super important, and my mom is having an in-home one next week. I will share this article with her. Thank you so much!
I have APNEA (diagnosed in a sleep study). I have slept using a CPAP for nearly 20 years. Lately (I am 67) I have noticed that when I do wake up at night (and I do in the last couple of years) I cannot get back to sleep while using the CPAP. I have taken to leaving it off after that first get up (usually 4-6 hours). Of course I don’t need as much sleep as I did when I was young but still find 7.5 to be best. I know that I snored terribly before I used the machine. Not now (when I have it on). No one there to tell if I snore after I leave it off. One thing however is that the condition of the uvula improves when using the machine so it should be less for those few hours.
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