General chatter - Anyone Have Sleep Apnea?

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10-12-2007, 12:37 AM
Hi Everyone,
I had a colonoscopy today and that part was fine. However during the procedure which they put you to sleep for, they had to hold my airway open for me to breathe. Glad it wasn't a long procedure. They said I needed to get a sleep study ASAP and get treated for sleep apnea.

If any of you know anything about this, please let me know what you had to do for the test and what treatment you are getting.

They also said I would feel SO much better and be able to lose weight easier and faster. That part I definitely don't get.

They said something about a mask while you sleep. I am a back, side and stomach sleeper. I change positions every hour or so through the night. Not sure how I would even keep the mask on! :shrug:

Thanks for any help!

10-12-2007, 12:48 AM
No personal experiences, but here are some resources for you to research:

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (

American Sleep Apnea Association (

American Academy of Family Physicians ( article on Sleep Apnea and Weight (

10-12-2007, 12:52 AM
Thanks Mandalinn!
I'll check all those resources out!

10-12-2007, 01:30 AM
I had sleep apnea 40 lbs ago. The sleep test isn't a big deal. They put tiny wires on your head and sometimes your arms and legs and chest, and then you just go to sleep. Sometimes they'll ask if you want to take ambien to help you sleep if you can't fall asleep during the test.

I am a big tosser and turner, and didn't realize it, but also had periodic limb movement (sort of extra intense restless leg syndrome, I'd actually flail around in my sleep - hubby said I often kicked and hit him). The CPAP mask is really weird to sleep at first, but stick with it, you will get used to it, and it makes a HUGE difference.

The doctors also told me that it would be easier to lose weight also. I don't remember the whole explanation, but they said the body just overall works better when you get good rest. After losing 40 lbs (it wasn't easy, but I guess it was easier than any attempts I'd made before getting the CPAP) the sleep apnea disappeared and I don't need the CPAP mask anymore.

10-12-2007, 05:37 PM
Ditto what Colleen said.

I don't have it but DH does and he does sleep with the CPAP. He hates it but as many times as he was/does stop breathing thru the night he needs it! He had surgery on his nose which didn't help and did the sleep test...spent two or three nights at the sleep center.

10-12-2007, 05:44 PM
Thanks Colleen and Christina!
I'm definitely getting the study. Anything to expedite the weight loss sounds good to me. I wake up LOTS during the night and used to think it was our pug dog waking me up (she sleeps in the bed), but I think I wake her up!! :dizzy: Anyway, it sounds good to me to be rested during the day. I get up with the kids at 6:30 to get them off to school and fall asleep after they leave at 7:00. This is sitting up in a chair with coffee! :shrug:
So, off to the sleep center I go!!

10-12-2007, 06:12 PM
Hi I don't have this problem but Dh does, and has one of these so called crap machines.(And he hates it) he did the test some time ago where he just went to the sleep centre and stayed over nite. He would stop breathing on and off all nite, for up to 30 secs to a minute, then his body would wake it self up to get him breathing again,did this about 50 times a nite. this is what makes you so tired, the constant waking. And belive me it's no fun sleeping with him, where I constanly poke him and am saying breath, breath. Until I get up and get his machine running and swear at him to use the flippin thing. When he does use it he will sleep all nite on his back, and sleeps so quitely I wonder if he is breathing at all.
And he is just so much nicer to live with the next day lol.
He has not lost a lot of weight, but finds that having a walk in the afternoon helps.
You will be able to lose weight a bit faster, and easier, because you will have more engery in the day to help burn it off, and you will find that you will not toss and turn with the mask because you are not waking yourself up.
Ok, I must admit it's not the sexiest thing to wear to bed.
Hubby puts it on when the lights are out.
Try it, it will make such a differece in your life.
Good Luck

10-12-2007, 08:21 PM
I've always had a problem sleeping, even as a kid, thought it was just stress.
When I got married my husband figured out that I quit breathing in my sleep, we didn't know what it meant at first. I hadn't really heard of sleep apnea before then! I thought if I could lose the weight then the sleep apnea would go away, like the acid reflux did. I never thought about this mask helping out with weight lose! I've been avoiding going in and getting a real diagnosis, mainly cause I don't know if I can handle wearing that mask!

Plus I usually get up twice in the night to go to the bathroom! How am I going to get tested if I have to get up to go to the bathroom?

10-12-2007, 11:28 PM
I took about 3 bathroom breaks during my test. You just hit the call button and the technician comes in to help you.

It's kind of hard to explain, because they don't unhook the wires completely, they just unplug them from the machine, gather them up and you drape them over one arm, and then go use the restroom. Then the technician comes back a few minutes later and plugs you back in.

There are different masks available. Mine was the "nose pillow" mask. Instead of looking like an oxygen mask, it was like a headband that held the hose. It ran over my head like a "mohawk" and a "nose pillow" fit into each nostril. It was really soft, and surprisingly comfortable. Usually as part of the study (if they find apnea) there will be a trial run of the mask. Also, you don't have to buy the machine, you can rent it, and decide whether to buy it later, and insurance usually covers most of it (I paid $8 per month).

The hardest thing for me to get used to wasn't the mask, but the wooshing noise it makes. Once I did get used to it though, it actually worked to drown out noises (such as my husband's snoring) that would wake me up or keep me awake. It was like "white noise." When I didn't need it anymore, I actually found it hard to get to sleep because every little noise (and my husband's snoring) kept me awake.

The doctor told me the secret to getting used to the mask quickly is to avoid the temptation to take it off. He had me start it on a friday night, so I had a couple nights I could afford to lose a little sleep. I also took benedryl (the doctor would have prescribed ambien if I needed it, but the benedryl worked fine) the first few nights to help me fall asleep. I usually fall asleep within 20 minutes of laying down, and I would guess that it took about an hour the first few nights, and in about 2 weeks, it was so natural I fell asleep right away.

My doctor told me that everyone is afraid they won't get used to the mask, but he said the first 3 days are actually the biggest hurdle, and it's all downhill from there.

10-13-2007, 01:30 PM
THANK YOU for all the info! That really helps, now it doesn't seem so daunting:dizzy:
I need to go see the doc anyway, might just be time to get this all straightened out:)
Thanks again!

10-13-2007, 10:00 PM
DH had a similar experience. When he completed colonoscopy, the Dr. told me he needed to get checked for sleep apnea. He lost weight rather than do sleep study and stopped snoring. Gradually he regained weight and started sleep apnea again. He lost his vision in one eye which was later found to be because the apnea had robbed his optic nerve of oxygen. Don't mess around with sleep apnea. For any of you who have spouses with apnea, it is much more than an annoyance. The optic neurologist said he is seeing more cases of this.

10-13-2007, 10:16 PM
My doctors also said that sleep apnea can damage the heart.

10-13-2007, 11:46 PM
Wow! Thank you all so much! It's amazing how much it can affect isn't it?
Hopefully I'll get used to the mask without too much trouble. I sleep on my back, side AND stomach all night long, but that just may be that every time I wake up (due to the apnea) I just change positions.

WeighToGo: I'm so sorry about your dh optic nerve! I would have never thought of that!
Thanks again for all your thoughts.

10-14-2007, 03:09 PM
You shouldn't have to worry too much about changing positions. Although I tossed and turned less with the CPAP, I still changed positions often during the night. I couldn't sleep on my back at all before the CPAP, so I would lay on my left side until I woke up in pain and pins and needles and I'd flop on the right side until I woke and had to repeat the process. With the CPAP, I was able to sleep on my sides, but also my back and even my stomache. You have to adjust the hose to suit the position, but it's not really much different than adjusting a sheet or nighttgown, you just move it to the comfortable position and you're set to go.

10-14-2007, 06:50 PM
Thanks, Colleen!

That's good to know! I was worried I'd have to sleep on my back forever!

10-15-2007, 03:47 PM
It was a "freak-out" for me too. I was lucky because my father-in-law was already using a CPAP when I had to go in for my sleep-study, so he was able to answer my questions about the machine and the sleep study itself.

By the way, if you can only sleep on "your" pillow, bring it with you to the sleep study. I've had two sleep studies and it was definitely easier falling asleep when I had "my" pillow.