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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Using CPAP when sick?

  Quick question for everyone in the CPAP universe: Are your numbers off when you are sick?
  I've had a cold for more than a week and my average number of breathing interruptions per hour is up over 4.0 when it is usually in the 1.0 range. There's also a category for periodic breathing that registered 1 percent this week after being 0 since I've had my machine.
  This is really frustrating but logical when considering that congestion hinders breathing. A sore throat certainly can be a factor when dealing with the airway.
  This happened when I was sick on another occasion but the stats didn't go up as much.
  So I'm curious to hear if you have struggled with this.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The epidemic of undiagnosed sleep apnea

  The numbers are in — and they’re not surprising.
  Like the rest of the world, visitors to The Oakland Press website know people with sleep apnea that has yet to be treated.
  I put up a poll question this week that asks, “Do you suspect someone you know has undiagnosed sleep apnea?”
  Out of 188 responses, 65 percent responded yes.
  The Sleep Disorders Guide website estimates 18 million Americans have sleep apnea and 2 to 4 percent of all Americans have undiagnosed apnea.
  The most shocking statistic: about 90 percent of cases may be undiagnosed, according to Kights Medical.
  It’s tough for sleep apnea sufferers to diagnose themselves because, well, they are asleep. That’s where the spouses come in.
  They should watch for snoring and gasping for air numerous times throughout the night as breathing is interrupted as the airway is blocked. Symptoms include morning headaches, dry mouth, forgetfulness and weight gain, according to Highlands Today.
  Then get to a doctor, who can decide a course of treatment such as CPAP, which stands for (say it with me, once again) continuous positive airway pressure. The air pressure that comes in via the mask keeps the airway open and allows normal breathing.
  Interestingly, about 67 percent of the Oakland Press poll respondents who answered in the affirmative are male. I guess I envisioned it would be the opposite as I hear of wives (such as mine) alerting their husbands to the problem.
  But that’s further proof that sleep apnea doesn’t discriminate.
  Also, of those who said they know someone with undiagnosed sleep apnea, 88 percent are age 35 or older. Fifty percent are age 55 or older.
  That doesn’t mean younger folks aren’t touched by apnea. I think it speaks more to a lack of awareness.
  So please keep an eye out, and relentlessly nag your loved one to go to the doctor. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a variety of woes over time such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Life insurance for those with sleep apnea? Yes!

  Sleep apnea can affect many aspects of your life — including your pocketbook.
  I learned this recently when purchasing a new life insurance policy but the result could have been much worse.
  After going through a physical to see if I qualified for coverage, I was approved at a higher rate than low-risk applicants and my apnea was cited on the report.
  Clearly, an industry that makes its profit when it doesn’t have to pay is leery of the well-documented variety of health woes resulting from sleep apnea.
  I suppose the glass-half-empty view would be that I am paying a few more dollars each month.
  But it’s reasonable to assume the rate would have been much higher — or I could have been denied coverage completely — if they did not have a report from my doctor saying I have been using CPAP effectively.
  A recent report from FOX Business discusses the importance of showing you are taking your treatment seriously.
  Bottom line: Don’t assume you can’t get life insurance if you have sleep apnea. Yet another example of CPAP saving the day.