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It seems like the effects of low blood oxygen resulting from untreated apnea are not as fully appreciated as they ought to be. Even many medical professionals think of apnea as a "sleep" disorder. Not to diminish the effects of chronic sleep deprivation over months and years (apnea victims get zero clinical sleep), the effects of chronic blood oxygen deprivation can be much worse.

There is no stronger signal to the brain than low blood oxygen. That means, quite literally, that death is imminent and all hades breaks loose. The body shunts off oxygen from everywhere except the brain, the panic hormones start flying, and your sympathetic nervous system goes into a Code Red panic. You start breathing, oxygen is restored, and the cycle repeats itself dozens or hundreds of times a night.

All of this wreaks havoc on the body. The panic hormones cause high blood pressure (including stroke) and put extraordinary stress on the heart in a low oxygen environment (resuting in, yes, heart disease). Low nighttime blood oxygen interferes with normal blood glucose processing, resulting in the overproduction of insulin and, yes, insulin resistance (also known as Type II Diabetes). The lack of blood oxygen also interferes with nighttime digestion, resulting in GERD. And who knows what all of these risk factors mean in terms of triggering diseases like cancer (my grandfather, who unknowingly suffered from apnea his entire adult life, died from colon cancer but I can't help but wonder whether the apnea somehow triggered that?). And to top it all off, the physical damage in combination with chronic sleep deprivation results in a scale of depression that cannot be described except by those who have experienced it. And I haven't even talked about all of the death and carnage on the highways from apnea-related drowsy driving.

So long story short, this is a serious condition that has a lot more to it than just SLEEP. Figuring out your therapy is worth everything you will ever put into it.

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my husband has all of the symptoms along with snoring, reflux, and suddenly high blood pressure.  he has been to a sleep clinic 3 yrs ago and they ruled out apnea.  shhould he go to another clinic?  when i slept in bed with him, 3 yrs ago (haven't since due to continual snoring), i did notice a snorting before he woke up every couple of hrs.

In my particular case, the physician classified it as 'Disruptive Snoring' and 'Upper Airway Resistance'.  Makes it sound mild, but I take my case very seriously and have sought other treatments, accordingly.    I was diagnosed with SA at a 20 AHI 18 months ago, yet my latest test showed 5 or less AHI's.   Technically, it's no longer SA.  

I'm referring you to this Japanese study (I have no vested financial interest).  I'm just passionate about solutions.

http://www.liptrainer.com/main/sleepapnea.htm

I think this may be connected to my asthma attack when I was first diagnosed with asthma.  My blood oxygen levels were severly low, which is why I ended up in the hospital.  I am not really sure if there is a connection with my asthma and my sleep apnea, but it would be interesting to find out.

A lot can happen in three years.  There is more knowledge of Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome now. I think he should be probably get checked again
 
Andrew Allen Wayman said:

my husband has all of the symptoms along with snoring, reflux, and suddenly high blood pressure.  he has been to a sleep clinic 3 yrs ago and they ruled out apnea.  shhould he go to another clinic?  when i slept in bed with him, 3 yrs ago (haven't since due to continual snoring), i did notice a snorting before he woke up every couple of hrs.

Interesting posts, Sleepyhead and Henning. The right ventricle responded to only 3 months of CPAP is a good motivation for any newbie like myself. What I've noticed is that I'm not having mild headaches (ICP?) and my pulse rate is lower & harder to push high (like 160s) with exercise. My desats were in the 60s, so the cognitive benefits may still be coming!

This is a great summary.  My Physician here in the UK described the problem exactly like this.  He is less concerned that I still wake up tired - overnight tests have shown that my night-time oxygen deprivation has been completely solved by CPAP.  As a long term sufferer of heart disease I can tell the difference.


I also had these same symptoms with my sleep apnea unchecked, and I also had these same symptoms when I was working at Jcp and an aluminum plant at the same time. I would end up working 24 hours straight and my head would start pounding it was too much so I quit both jobs and moved. More rest and down time is needed, I was on kolonopin, Wellbutrin and Remeron at the same time for depression and I am sure that did not help but before the cpap mask I was suffering. I hit a parked Ford in the mall with my new car so I went to the doc for the sleep study. One sleep study over your lifetime, won't do. When you start to feel like crap again another is needed to adjust your pressure upwards.
Heather said:
One of my biggest complaints for a long time with my OSA, is that my head feels "pressure" (for lack of a better way to describe it). It's not pain like a headache, but it can feel pretty bad, making me sleepy, and wanting to lie down. This "intracraneial pressure" you are talking about here: can you feel it? Does anyone else have this head problem? It's worse at night, as I am trying to fall asleep, but can bother me all day. Exercise helps, and fun activity.

Henning said:
Sleepguy,
you can read my story in this discussion “Apnea pressure, harmful effects on your health”:
http://www.sleepguide.com/forum/topics/apnea-pressure-harmful-effec...

Henning

Sleepguy said:
Henning, this is the very first time I've ever heard about intracranial pressure. What's the causal link to apnea? Low blood oxygen obviously impacts the brain as well. Even though it gets priority to available oxygen, levels are low and brain damage (I believe) is common. One of the doctors here on the forum (Dr Park) had an interesting article on his website about a possible connection between apnea and anzhymers as they both cause very similar miscroscopic brain damage.

   What does one do when they have already had two strokes, Have COPD so they can't walk a hundred feet without resting because their blood oxygen has droped to nintey and a few other problems.  I get all my care through the VA and their level for precribing oxygen is 88.  I believe like others that they are slowly killing patients with O2 deprivation bt setting their levels so low that none or dam few qualify.

   After reading this, I am getting welding O2 and using extra  filtration in conjunction with low pressure regulators.  This goes not rquire a prescription.  The only difference between welding O2 and prescription are the things I have already mentioned.  I don't intend to die because of their stupidity.  Of course I will first try a cevillian specialist.

you have a large heart because you are untreated for sleep apnea, once you get onto cpap your heart will return to normal
 
Henning said:

I agree that desaturations are a serious problem.

But there are some of us who have no desaturations and still have severe sleep apnea problems. A much overlooked problem is the elevated intracranial brain pressure arising from an apnea.

This is in some cases a more serious problem than desaturations. But there are almost no sleep doctors who focus on this problem.

This is not an either or issue. I think that many people have both problems.

Elevated intracranial pressure is particularly associated with Sleep Apnea and studies shows that 68% of people with Stokes have Sleep Apnea and elevated intracranial pressure.

That was a very good post. I suffered from some of those conditions before I got on cpap. High blood pressure, heart palpatations, GURD and depression were the major ones. The interesting thing about it was that my insurance company would not cover a machine for treatment, because their limit was 85% blood O2 and mine didn't dip below 87%. I was forced to go for a few years before I finally dipped to 85% during a sleep study 3 years later. My doctor was as discusted with the insurance company as I was. I clearly had sleep apnea and the other effects, but I was untreatable for the most part. When I got on cpap, all of the symptoms I was having cleared up, or vastly improved over the following several months. That was back in 1995. I would hope that the insurance companies have done more to recognize sleep apnea as a real and treatable disease and have adjusted their standards accordingly. It just adds more confirmation as to what Sleepguy was writing about.

You are right.

I have a big heart and a very large lung function. This is now not because of sleep apnea, but because I until I was almost forty years old, was an elite athlete.

I've dived a lot and can keep the air very long under water.

It may be an explanation for my desaturation was very small.

But I have read articles about people, who have a small desaturations in general.

Btw. Today I'm cured for my sleep apnea by surgery.

Henning


99 said:

you have a large heart because you are untreated for sleep apnea, once you get onto cpap your heart will return to normal
 
Henning said:

I agree that desaturations are a serious problem.

But there are some of us who have no desaturations and still have severe sleep apnea problems. A much overlooked problem is the elevated intracranial brain pressure arising from an apnea.

This is in some cases a more serious problem than desaturations. But there are almost no sleep doctors who focus on this problem.

This is not an either or issue. I think that many people have both problems.

Elevated intracranial pressure is particularly associated with Sleep Apnea and studies shows that 68% of people with Stokes have Sleep Apnea and elevated intracranial pressure.

extremely interesting post, Sleepguy

Thank you

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