Sleep Study: Results

Okay, so I snore. 😉

The problem is, it’s more than just snoring. Apparently I’ve been diagnosed with moderate to high Sleep Apnea (pauses in breathing) with periods of Hypopnea (abnormally shallow breathing), both of which cause a disruption in the levels of blood oxygen. I also have periods of “mysterious” (unexplained) lowering of blood oxygen that are not specifically correlated with the above two conditions. I’ve linked to Wikipedia for anyone wanting more technical info.

Here’s a lovely little graphic, I just know you’re going to appreciate. 😉  Basically, what is happening, is that my breathing  sometimes becomes obstructed (the snoring part) when the back of the tongue and soft palate relax too much against the airway, thus closing it off.  Eventually, the brain decides it needs oxygen and begins to insist a bit and forces an intake of air, that then will rattle against the throat and cause the snoring sound.

Keep in mind that while apnea is often accompanied by snoring, snoring does not necessarily mean that there is apnea. There are many other causes of snoring. In my case, some, but not all of the apnea “events” are related to snoring, or obstruction. The others are related to shallow breathing.

I’ve been aware of the shallow breathing for awhile now – it happens during the day, too. When I’m concentrated on something, like typing this post, my breathing can slow down to be almost imperceptible. It’s shallow, slow, and sometimes simply pauses, even though I’m awake. I can be doing something and become vaguely aware that I’m not breathing, or breathing very shallowly, at which point I will take a deep breath and continue on with whatever I was doing.

That’s why I wanted to do the sleep study, because I figure if I’m doing that during the day, what might be happening at night? Well, now I know.

My oxygen levels are de-saturating  during the night. I have the report with all the charts and levels, and a pattern becomes visible, shallow respiration, oxygen goes down, heart rate increases and at some point, the depth of sleep is interrupted, it rises toward waking, and I start breathing more deeply and oxygen goes back up.

Apparently, though, this is happening too often and the oxygen is remaining too low and the increases in heart rate are not good for the heart, and the lack of oxygen isn’t good for the brain, and the disrupted sleep is not good for anything.

Lol, that’s a lot of “not good”s in there, huh?  But there is treatment. It’s called a CPAP, and it’s a kind of mask one wears at night that forces airflow into the mouth and nostrils to keep the air passage open. I’m getting one set up for me next Friday. I’ve been told it’s hard to get used to, and some people cannot adapt, but others can. There are also several kinds of masks, so if one doesn’t work, another might. I know it looks cumbersome, but hey, at least I don’t have to have an oxygen tank, right? This is just air flow. Hopefully by keeping my air passage open, it will help increase the oxygen flow to the blood.

I’m a little bit concerned about the unexplained incidents of low oxygen, though, and may ask my doctor to refer me to a LungDoc and let him look at the sleep study and maybe do a daytime oxygen monitoring to see what’s happening. But I may wait and see how this goes first. One thing at a time.

Anyway, there is good news to all this. It could explain some of my fatigue during the day, even some of my fuzzy thinking and a lot of other minor things I’ve been attributing to simple ageing, or to my meds, etc. Apparently, even my eyesight might improve, because one of the symptoms listed for the low oxygen levels was eye fatigue. Imagine that.

I’m actually looking forward to giving it a try to see if it improves how I feel in general. I’ve got a week to wait before I can try it, but I’m hoping for the best. Meanwhile, I figure a few deep breathing exercises during the day might be helpful, and certainly can’t hurt. Come on, along with me:

Breathe in…..

Breathe out…

Get oxygenated.  It’s good for you!


19 responses

  1. […] somewhat out of it this week. For those of you who have followed my posts about the Sleep Study and Results, well, I’ve been sleeping with my CPAP Mask all week, aside from one night when I really had […]

  2. Gina's Professions for PEACE | Reply

    Wonderfully informative, thank you! And you make it fun to read too. Cheers, Gina

    1. Thank you Gina, so nice of you to drop by! 🙂

  3. […] posted three times in here, just scroll down to see them, all about my Sleep Study, and then the Results, plus I caught up with Cee’s Share Your World, three in […]

  4. Apnea is stress induced. You could fix it with good healthy food and some time off. Also reduce sentimental stress, psychical stress too.

    1. Thank you for the input, Edd. Most of my stress is physical rather than emotional, though I admit I’ve been somewhat anxious about selling the house and finding an apartment. Not sure that explains the oxygen dips, though. 😉

  5. jakesprinter | Reply

    Beautiful post Judee 🙂

    1. thank you Jake. 🙂

  6. Oh no, Judee, the Darth Vadar mask!
    Aw, that bites that you’ve got all that going on (but good that they figured it out, yes?) Yes, breath in, breath out. Oxygen=good 🙂
    (and you’re much prettier than that awful diagram ;P)

    1. Lol, thanks for the complement, anne, I had to laugh about that diagram. And I love your term for the mask! I may not have to have one that big – apparently they have some smaller ones that don’t cover the mouth, in case the big one isn’t a good fit. I’ll find one that works for me. And yes, good that they figured it out. I’m really hoping it makes a difference. Thanks for coming by, nice to see you. 🙂

  7. I’m glad you are taking all this change in stride and with good humour. Yes, I’ve heard how much trouble these masks are but not for everyone, as you mentioned. Good luck. Hope you can adjust and get some much needed rest!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. I guess we’ll all find out in a week or so if it makes me better, or worse, lol!

  8. buddhafulkat | Reply

    The only two people I know with sleep apnea reported feeling much better after using their masks and devices. I hope it works for you and that you get some much needed oxygen filled rest.

    1. Thank you so much. I hope I can get used to it quickly and that it works as intended. A little extra energy will be a wonderful gift!

  9. Judee, at least now you know! My husband has a CPAP machine that sits on the night stand. He was using it regularly, then he gradually quit–because he doesn’t like the mask and didn’t want to try a different style. But he did do better when he was on it. I worry about him going to sleep and not waking up! I hope this works for you. It’s a shame you can’t pass off your “half-timers” moments anymore! Keep us posted!!

    1. Thanks for the input Jeannie. And try not to worry about your hubby – the body does have a good system of kick-starting breathing after apnea events – the CPAP is mostly to prevent long term problems from the lack of proper sleep and increased heartrate. I imagine if your hubby gets to feeling too worn down he might re-consider getting fitted for a new mask. They have several kinds now, or so I understand.

      I often think it’s much easier to deal with one’s own health problems than those of a loved one. People don’t usually realize how hard it can be for the spouse/partner who is not ill, but must feel helpless in being unable to do anything about it. Courage.

      1. Well, that’s right. I try not to nag–it’s his choice. I hope you find that you feel more rested after you get your CPAP set up. When Jim uses it, he says he does.

  10. Well I hope it works out better for you than it did me. First the mask didn’t stick on right because of beard and they kept adjusting it every half hour so how could you sleep ? Then they wrapped up my face in bandage tape to keep it on. Then they expect you to lie still on your back all night. You can’t twist and turn because of all the wires. You cannot get up for bathroom. Neither can you go make a peanut butter and jelly sammich at 1 PM or see if anyone has commented on your blog from the western time zones. It was miserable and I did not sleep one bit and they want me to go back again and no, no , never again.

    1. Oh my Carl, the test must have been even worse for you – at least I don’t have a beard! 😉 I know what you mean, too about wanting to get up – I usually don’t even try to sleep before 1 am, but they put me to bed around 10:30 – no wonder I couldn’t sleep. Did they get any results at all from your test? What you might want to do is ask for an oxygen study – that can be done with just the thing on the finger and at home, and can then say if there is any reason for concern.

      I don’t think I’ll have to redo the test, because apparently the CPAP I will be getting has its own recording of events and such that the doctor can study after 6 weeks to be sure it’s functioning okay.

      Thanks for dropping by, always nice to see you. 🙂

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