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I'm Jen, a newbie, but not new to sleep apnea :) (or should that be a sad face)!

I've had this issue off and on for about six years, but it has been worse lately. Currently, I am not using any machine/mask or other treatment.

The last sleep study I had was three years ago, and at that time, I was told my case didn't warrant a CPAP machine, nor would my insurance cover it because my case was considered mild. Now, I sleep too much, never feel rested, and I miss work about three days a month because I am so stinkin' tired. I don't go out with my friends as often, I hardly exercise because I'm fatigued, and I generally have heavy eyelids and a heavy headed feeling all the time. My moods are iffy, I have difficulty concentrating at work, and I feel too young for all of this (I'm 41)!


I have another appt. scheduled for next week, and since it's been so long, I've been told the dr. will want to schedule another study. Can you share any advice or questions I should be asking the doctor? I really need some relief to improve my quality of life.


Glad to find this forum!

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Hi Jen: I would suggest trying to find a Dr Certified in Sleep Apnea. From my experience- ENT's 'certified in sleep therapy' seem to be the most effective in helping folks like you.

Primary physicians are fine when folks are compliant w/ the therapy and have no issue's- but in your case- it may be good to see a Doc certified in sleep.

Surgery: Most Throat Surgery has been a FAILURE at resolving apneas. So think long n hard before taking that route.

On the other hand I have had pts tell me that Nasal procedures- for say deviated septums are effective.

Meds: That could be a huge factor which meds if any you take-

Hope you find this helpful :) And you get to feeling like yourself again! You are way too young to not enjoy your life ;)

Take Care,

Clare, Respiratory Therapist 

Jen Thompson said:

Thank you for the info!
I am basically starting from scratch again. I have not seen an ENT and my last sleep study was in 2008. So, I have been reading about surgeries, CPAP, and basically feeling overloaded by info!
I am writing down my symptoms/issues along with my questions.
Mary, is there a difference with the titration study?
What bugs me the most is feeling tired all the time, the headaches, lack of energy..
I am praying for relief!

Thank you, Clare...I am seeing a specialist next week, and I will ask him to recommend an ENT.

My lower jaw is smaller, so I'm even wondering if having it moved forward would help. Even in waking hours, I seem to feel extra stuff at the back of my throat. I guess I will be asking a lot of questions.

Currently I'm on a generic antidepressant and I take generic Synthroid for my thyroid.

Thanks so much for all the helpful information. Not too thrilled about possible surgery but I almost think I would rather do that than have to sleep with a mask on my face.

Jen, an appointment with an ENT would be an excellent idea.  Sometimes even minor surgery can make a difference in tolerating therapy if your sleep test shows OSA or another form of sleep disordered breathing.  The ENT will usually want to see the results of a sleep study for some types of surgery.  Do you have a sleep study scheduled yet?  It would be helpful to know exactly what's going on in your sleep.

Wearing the mask and using the machine (if that is prescribed for you) is really not that bad and with support from members of the forum we can help you through any problems. As Chris H said, a dental device is also an option.

All of this is really a moot point until you find out if sleep diordered breathing is your problem.

Tomorrow is the big appointment. I have been reading about different treatments and surgeries, and I am hoping and praying to get the sleep study done ASAP. I am feeling so crummy. I know it may take awhile to get relief but each day seems like an eternity. I want my life back, my energy, and normal sleep.
Jen, make sure you keep pushing, 6 months ago I was diagnosed with servere sleep apnea. A year ago I was diagnosed with depression which I now believe was caused by the sleep apnea. I always knew I had a problem with sleep but the doctors kept pushing me down the depression track as a lot of my symptoms are the same as sleep apnea fatigue, waking up in the middle of the night and what I call the 'fog' of depression (feeling crummy).
This does not mean that you have depression as it takes different forms, just make sure you get the right treatment and good luck.
Jen, good luck, you are starting a long process. I hope the sleep study is scheduled quickly.  I also hope you get a good doc and support team.  Of course we are always here for you, but it is helpful to have someone with expertise in fitting that first mask and to begin getting you up to speed.
Jen, bluntly, let me expand on my previous comments. 
If you have been told that your apnea level does not warrant CPAP, it might be true. 
What you need to ask is what else can cause your signs and symptoms. You might have a small number of apneas, at the frequency considered normal for your age and gender and their duration might also be normal for your age and gender.
What is imperative is that you are told  what else can cause your symptoms. 
FYI, your signs and symptoms read like a "textbook description" of those observed in one of several disorders related to SLEEP DEPRIVATION.  Among others, and in an incomplete list: one of the hypersomnolences, such as  NARCOLEPSY, IDIOPATHIC HYPERSOMNIA, CIRCADIAN DYSSYNCHRONY, JET LAG, ATYPICAL DEPRESSION, and CHRONIC FATIGUE. None of these conditions is treated with masks, dental appliances, or PAP machines, unless they are concurrent with one of the apneas (central, obstructive, hypopnea, etc) at a level higher than the natural for the individual being studied. 
You should see a medical doctor that (a) knows more than one of the subspecialties that together constitute the field of "sleep disorders" and (b) has a good grasp of internal medicine because you could have, rather than a "sleep disordfer" an "endochrine disorder" as mentioned in a commente about thyhroid deficiencies. 
And let me be particularly blunt: let's assume that your health-care providers want to help you. If you insist in the apneas and her/his expertise/experience/business relate to breathing disorders and PAP machines, she/he will be inclined to provide you with a solution that is based in their knowledge/expertise/business. All these aspects impinge in the treatments all of us are offered by our medical doctors as discussed by Dr J Groopman in his book "How Doctors Think". He does not mention sleep disorders but gives the example of prostate cancer. Urological surgeons refer their patientes for surgery and radiation oncologists refer their patients for radiation treatments, rarely otherwise. And, frequently, no treatment at all would be as good or even a better alternative.
I wish you once more that you find a solution to all your symptoms sooner than me. Be hopeful, surely there will be light at the end of your tunnel. And cake. In April I will send you a piece of my e-cake celebrating my 80 yrs birthday with apneas, narcolepsy, dyssynchronies, and 10 yrs with prostate cancer. Without masks or machines, and neither surgery nor radiation. 

Hi all;


Had my appt. today and another sleep study is going to be scheduled. The doctor isn't keen on oral appliances or surgery, but said I need to give the CPAP some time. Looks like the CPAP route for at least a year. If things don't improve or I find myself resistant to CPAP treatment, we'll look into other options like the UPPP.

JC, I do believe this is sleep apnea, not chronic fatigue or thyroid issues. My thyroid is checked twice a year and I'm on medication. This is not sleep deprivation. I sleep for hours and hours and do not feel rested. That is a major problem and I cannot tolerate it anymore. This is not depression, though I believe the sleep apnea is intensifying my moodiness and crankiness.

I am ready to start feeling better. I will do whatever is necessary to get a good night's sleep.

Hi Jen, How is your Sleep Hygene? .....Is your room dark? do you eat late? limit your caffein? go to bed and get up at the same times? Is the room cool ? Stuff like that matters. Good Sleep,Chris 

Hi Chris,

Room is dark. No I don't like to eat late. Caffeine? I drink it by the gallon. Doesn't help me stay awake anyways...

I try to go to sleep around the same time, but my struggle is getting up since I feel like I've never been to sleep. I'm not getting enough REM sleep. I could put my head down right now . :)

Hi Jen, I hope you get some answers at the next study. Now is the time to do your home work. Google everything  go in to the study with a list of questions about meds ,hygene, types of machines apap bipap cpap apap masks ect Good Sleep,Chris
Thank you, Chris. I will look into those terms you mentioned. :)

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