How to Sleep Easier With Your CPAP Machine By John Donovan (WEB MD) Part Three

Learning to Appreciate CPAP

Continued

For most people, these devices are the best way to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The challenge for doctors and sleep specialists is to convince the wary that they’re better off with one than without it.

Aside from poor Zzz’s, though, people who don’t get treatment for the problem face a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and other health problems.

But most of the time, Rapoport says he tells his patients they can’t knock CPAP until they’ve tried it.

“I would tell people, ‘Try it. Use it part of the time. Let’s get you to the point where you see the benefits. You don’t have to believe me. You’ll see it,’” he says.

Parthasarathy says many of the people he points toward CPAP do see the benefits, some more quickly than they imagined.

 

“I had a patient tell me that he felt like he walked across a desert and finally found water,” he says. “I get comments like, ‘This is the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long, long time.’ Or, ‘I have dreams now. And it’s been a long time since I remember having a dream.’”

Advertisements

How to Sleep Easier With Your CPAP Machine By John Donovan (WEB MD) Part Two

CONTINUED

Your doctor and sleep specialist can help you make sure everything works and fits as it should.“It’s like wearing shoes. You buy a new pair of shoes, they’re initially going to chafe or hurt you. Or a new pair of glasses — you become very conscious of them,” says Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at the University of Arizona. “But after a while, it becomes second nature. You put it on without thinking.”

Noise: In the old days, CPAP machines were clunky and loud. Instead of a whoosh, it was more of a WHOOSH. Some made metallic, clicking sounds.

But that was then. Machines today are smaller, quieter, and much less noticeable. Many brands are near-silent. That’s a bonus not only to CPAP users, but to their bed partners too.

Pressure: Machines have different air pressure settings. Some of them vary it depending on whether you’re inhaling or exhaling. Your doctor will help you figure out the level that’s comfortable for you and helps you the most.

Dryness: Some CPAP users say all that forced air dries out the nose and mouth. Many machines have humidifiers to fix that. Some even heat the moist air.

Trouble breathing through your nose: If you feel stuffed up from allergies, sinus problems, or a physical issue with your nose, you may have trouble using a CPAP machine. But the problem usually goes away when you treat your congestion, whether with medicine, allergy treatments, or sometimes surgery.

“A lot of people have nasal obstruction or congestion and they don’t even know it.” Parthasarathy says. Treatment for those problems makes CPAP work much better for them.

 
 

How to Sleep Easier With Your CPAP Machine By John Donovan (WEB MD) Part One

I want to share the following article written by John Donovan and published on Web MD. I have found that using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine has honestly improved my quality of life. My hope is that this article will help my fellow Sleep Apnea victims to better adapt to CPAP Therapy.

Your doctor wants you on a CPAP machine to help your sleep apnea. You might worry you’ll be tied to a noisy gadget all night with tubes there, a mask here, and straps going every which way.

It can seem overwhelming, says David Rapoport, MD, the director of research at the NYU Sleep Disorders Center. 

“We work very hard to try to get people to be more open to the idea,” he says. “What’s remarkable is, when they try it, they often say, ‘That’s not so bad.’”

There may be some hurdles at first, but they don’t have to be deal-breakers. Once you know what to do, you can sleep well with a CPAP machine.

Get to Know Your Gear

When you have sleep apnea, you can stop breathing, briefly, up to 30 times or more an hour when your airways close or get blocked. CPAP, short for continuous positive airway pressure, pushes air into them to keep them open. 

The machine has a pump that controls the airflow, a tube that carries the air from the machine to you, and a mask that goes over your mouth, nose, or both.

Some things about it may take some getting used to:

Masks and straps: If you’ve never slept with something on your face, it’ll probably take some time for you to wear the CPAP mask without thinking about it.

Most modern ones fall in one of three groups:

  • A nasal mask that goes over your nose
  • A “nasal pillow mask” that fits under your nose
  • A full mask, which covers your mouth and nose 

Among those three main types, there are kinds including:

  • Full-face masks that go over your eyes as well
  • Nose masks with prongs that go into your nose

As long as the mask is sealed enough so that the air pressure from the tube stays constant, the CPAP will do its job. It’s up to you to find out which type is most comfortable on your face, and which straps are best to hold it in place. You may have to try a few different types before you find one you like.

 

Sleep Apnea (Part Two of Three Parts)

When I told Dr. Washburn that I was sleeping well at night, he explained to me that my apneas (breathing stops) would cause my brain to shout, “Wake up, wake up and breathe” I would start breathing and be right back to sleep without even realizing that I woke up. There were times that I probably woke up without realizing why and thought I had to use the potty explaining why I would go up to 10 times a night.

Having the apnea documented in order for insurance to pay for the therapy is a hoop jumping process. I went through a regimen of tests which included x-rays and blood tests to rule out everything else, a home sleep study, a lab sleep study and four pulse Oximetry’s.

The first test was pulse oximetry I had that showed a significant drop in heart rate when I slept. I don’t recall the numbers but the pulmonologist explained that I woke up 94 times. I was in denial because I certainly didn’t remember waking that many times. He explained that when my heart rate dropped or I stopped breathing, my brain would alert me to wake up and start breathing. He said I wouldn’t be conscious of being awake for the periods of time it took to start breathing again because they were very short. A technician also explained to me that we can be awake without being conscious of it which explains my being awake for two hours without it seeming like it. As if that wasn’t scary enough, I did a home sleep study that showed that I stopped breathing 699 times in about 6 hours.

I was put on a trial 30 day CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) therapy. The CPAP provider monitors my sleep and breathing activity by transmissions from my machine directly to them and the provider keeps the Pulmonologist apprised.

I had to have an in-lab sleep study done after the 30 day trial period to show that the therapy was working. My apneas were greatly reduced though my heart rate still drops enough that the pulmonologist wanted to add oxygen titration to my machine. The study showed that it wasn’t much under the satisfactory minimum so Medicare said no. Heck, I was just happy to have them pay for the machine and supplies. I had been fortunate in that I had turned 65 right before the therapy was prescribed so I had to go on Medicare in addition to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Medicare has less stringent requirements than Blue Cross. I am sure I would have qualified even for Blue Cross since my tests showed the Sleep Apnea to be severe.

 

Denial

Up until I had a hysterectomy and got happy (yes at the same time), I was tiny, bitty.

11979633-young-business-women-arguingPeople would criticize and comment and ridicule and I would try to gain weight to the point of making myself sick. Be careful what you wish for because now people are “worried” because I am overweight and I have no idea what they say behind my back.

18465933-fish-dish--fried-fish-fillet-french-fries-with-vegetablesI don’t think I gained all this weight overnight and I’m sure eating whatever I wanted had something to do with it. You see, I had developed that habit when I was thin so it was a part of me. My mother tried to tell me when I was younger that I was developing bad eating habits that would catch up with me. To be fair, I was and am a vegetable eater though not exclusively. As the weight was added, I would tell myself that a little weight wouldn’t hurt and I avoided the mirror like the plague. I was happy to be able to buy adult clothes and liked my face being a little fuller.

3487178-dos-muchachas-j-venes-intimidaci-n-otra-ni-a-al-aire-libreThen I started to worry that people wouldn’t want to be around me or like me
because I’m fat. There were actually articles as I was growing up on not hanging out with the “fat” or “ugly” chick in order to be seen as successful. Have you ever noticed that almost any magazine you pick up has an article on weight loss? While I agree that it is important to stay healthy, some people’s body types can handle a little added weight, mine isn’t one of them.

16686055-female-skier-looking-at-the-camera-after-falling-down-on-mountain-slopeNot only does the weight make me look unbalanced, it has affected my health. Being 4’11” my BMI is ridiculous and I now have to take blood pressure medicine, reflux medication even after having reflux surgery, medicine for high cholesterol… Having moved to high altitude country, I am constantly out of breath and because I have all my weight in the lower front, I fear falling over when I do outdoor activities. I can get up but I fear that someday I won’t be able to.

Family conflictWhen I recently took a trip to Texas, my mother made comments about my weight that she tried to backtrack by telling me that to her I would always be beautiful. My family have no filters so I tried to dismiss it. When I got back home, I wrote mom a letter telling her to stop worrying about my weight and making all these bold excuses and explanations. Being the child of an alcoholic, I know denial when I see it and that letter was complete and utter denial.

Weight loss surgery had been suggested by a previous doctor but I am fearful about A_Black_and_White_Cartoon_Two_Children_Walking_To_School_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100713-145833-444053something that will change my life forever. I did my research, made an appointment with my new doctor and requested that my husband accompany me. I feel like whatever decision I make is going to affect both of us and also he knows medication. Another fear I have is becoming addicted to weight loss medication.

Danny and I had already discussed a new medication that has been successful in 9319250-two-young-business-people-talking-and-discussingaiding weight loss. He was familiar with it and knew that it had been helpful in weight loss with little to no side affects. It was decided in my doctor’s appointment that we would start with this medication called Contrave and go from there. The doctor said that her patients who had tried it had experienced success in losing and keeping it off. Thoughweight loss surgery would see faster results, getting insurance companies to pay for it is tricky. Even though I have most if not all the conditions that they take into account, they will still balk at paying. So we made a plan that I would come in monthly to be weighed and check in with her so we will have documentation to present to the insurance company as well as monitoring my progress.

I would like to tell you that I have seen huge changes at least in my eating habits but I 9052883-a-shopping-cart-full-of-fresh-colorful-products-illustrationtend to be a lightweight when it comes to some medications. The drug makes me extremely drowsy so I am only taking half doses at this time. I still have to surrender to the drowsiness but it’s manageable. I am noticing a small change in my eating but some of it is knowing that I can’t just rely on medication. Fake it till you make it!

Gaining and losing WeightMy take on dieting is that unless you keep it up for the rest of your life,
it becomes the yo-yo effect. I lose inches fairly easy but as soon as I get the compliments and see the results, I’m right back to where I started. Some people eat to live and I live to eat. I do use common sense when I cook and mostly when I eat though binging is not unheard of. Yes, I will have to add exercise to my regimen. I do like walking so I just need to get started.

I am hopeful that this journey will take me to better health and increased self acceptance. It’s time.

images.duckduckgo.com