Blogs > Sleeping with CPAP

Assistant News Editor Lee Dryden was diagnosed with sleep apnea and uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to assist with breathing while sleeping. From a layman’s point of view, he will discuss the benefits, issues, challenges and frustrations of sleeping while wearing a mask.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Apnea testing for pilots, air traffic controllers

   Getting tested for sleep apnea is a choice for most people - one that too many people decide not to make.
   Ignoring the symptoms is not an option for overweight pilots and air traffic controllers as the Federal Aviation Administration is requiring testing for them, CNN reports.
   This was prompted by reports of pilots or controllers falling asleep or being too tired on the job - a recipe for disaster when they are holding many lives in their hands. A pilot who fell asleep on a 2008 commercial flight in Hawaii - and missed the destination - was eventually diagnosed with sleep apnea.
   Body mass index will be checked during exams which will determine who will undergo apnea testing.
   To review, apnea interrupts breathing during sleep, which causes the sufferer to wake up dozens of times throughout the night. This results in being less than alert the next day. Many with sleep apnea are overweight with thick necks that obstruct normal breathing.
   Required testing for overweight pilots and controllers is obviously long overdue.
   Hopefully others who have symptoms - and pilot vehicles on the ground rather than planes - get tested and treated before making a sleepy mistake that harms themselves or others.

Friday, October 25, 2013

CPAP makes you better looking

  The benefits of CPAP have been well documented in this space and many others.
  I know people who say it is life-changing and they feel like brand-new well-rested happy souls.
  A new report indicates CPAP users become more youthful and attractive.
  Say what?
  An article in details a study where the faces of CPAP users were photographed before and after at least two months of therapy.
  Volunteers (both medical professionals and regular folks) looked at the images side by side. About two-thirds of the group rated the post-treatment photos as showing the subjects to be more alert, attractive and youthful.
  An analysis found decreased forehead volume and less redness around the eyes and cheeks.
  So now you have more ammunition to convince your loved one to take the CPAP route - wear that mask and you'll look just like (insert male or female celebrity's name here).

No. 1 NBA pick has sleep apnea

  I wouldn't wish sleep apnea on anyone but it certainly sheds light on the topic when a celebrity is involved.
  No. 1 overall NBA pick Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers apparently suffers from sleep apnea and asthma, according to his coach Mike Brown in a report on
  The report indicates he has difficulty with conditioning and getting up and down the floor.
  Bennett also had a shoulder injury that kept him off the court during the summer but the coach also cited apnea and asthma as factors.
  Brown (who coincidentally suffers from sleep apnea and uses CPAP himself) says he doesn't know if Bennett wears a mask at night.
  I certainly hope the team doctors do.
  Untreated sleep apnea leads to diminished daytime energy - not exactly a recipe for success when hoopin' it up at the game's highest level.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Watch sleep apnea in action

  Here is a video I found on YouTube.
  The content is somewhat disturbing.
  Put simply, it's a gentleman with breathing interrupted, gasping for air, clearly suffering from sleep apnea.
  We can't watch ourselves sleep, obviously, so show it to someone close to you (who you suspect has apnea) so they understand what you are witnessing while they sleep.
  Click here to watch the video.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thin people can get sleep apnea

  I've addressed this before but it's a good time for a reminder.
  Don't think it's impossible to get sleep apnea if you are thin.
  Yes, many apnea sufferers are overweight but a recent article in The Herald-News in Illinois drove home the point that anyone can be affected.
  It mentions a 170-pound man of average height whose wife noticed he was snoring loudly and waking up gasping for air. He did not feel rested upon waking up.
  A sleep study diagnosed his apnea.
  Just like non-smokers can get lung cancer and non-drinkers can get liver cancer, this ailment also doesn't discriminate.
  So please keep an eye out for interrupted sleep in your loved ones of all sizes.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sleep apnea and race

  Here is a recent press release with some interesting findings by a Wayne State University researcher:

  DETROIT — A Wayne State University researcher has found that sleep apnea severity is higher among African-American men in certain age ranges, even after controlling for body mass index (BMI).
  A study by James A. Rowley, M.D., professor of internal medicine in WSU’s School of Medicine, showed that being an African-American man younger than 40 years old increased the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) by 3.21 breathing pauses per hour of sleep compared to a white man in the same age range with the same BMI.
  Obstructive sleep apnea affects at least 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women. It involves repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway obstruction occurring during sleep despite an ongoing effort to breathe.
  Among participants in Rowley’s study ages 50 to 59, being an African-American man increased AHI by 2.79 breathing events per hour of sleep. No differences in AHI were found between African-American women and white women.
  “The results show that in certain age groups, after correcting for other demographic factors, the severity of sleep apnea as measured by the apnea-hypopnea index is higher in African-American males than Caucasian males,” he said.
  Rowley’s study, “The Influence of Race on the Severity of Sleep Disordered Breathing,” was published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
  Researchers studied 512 patients over three years, comprising 340 African-Americans and 172 Caucasians. The inclusion criteria required that participants were 18 years old, have an AHI of more than five events per night of sleep and be willing to submit to a full-night sleep study.
  Researchers examined the association between race and AHI while controlling for the effect of confounders such as gender, age, BMI and comorbidities.
  Rowley said the mechanism for a racial difference in sleep apnea severity is unclear, but that possibilities include anatomical differences that affect the upper airway mechanics and collapsibility, as well as differences in the neurochemical control of breathing.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sleep apnea and marijuana

  I debated internally on whether to touch this topic in my blog.
  Despite my concerns about losing credibility, I decided it is my job - as a newsperson and an apnea patient - to bring forward a variety of current topics being discussed in the CPAP/apnea world.
  There are claims on the Internet that marijuana is effective in treating sleep apnea.
  In no way am I endorsing this treatment or any sort of illegal drug use. I am certainly not being a dope (sorry, couldn't resist) and implying it is a substitute for CPAP.
  But it's an interesting topic in light of the medical marijuana debate, which is vigorous here in Michigan.
  Yes, much of the information online is from pro-pot websites. But there is a study on the issue from the National Institutes of Health.
  It will be interesting to see if this effort gains traction as awareness of sleep apnea grows amid the ever-present push for medical marijuana.