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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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There may be a way to make an end run around apnea.  The gold standard for an apnea cure is a trache.  I got a temporary one when they did a surgical tongue reduction on me.  For the first time in my life I got natural uninterupted sleep.  It's unreal.  Problem is traches are nasty, prone to infection, ugly, painful, and there is always the obsession to get rid of it.

Solution: Enter the Trans-Trache or the Scoop which is a mini trache.  It was developed for people who have lung disease.  Its tube is tiny about the diameter of a coffee stir straw.  I have talked to the people who make it, and they say they know it cures apnea because for those lung diseased patients who use their trache and have apnea as well they also get a bonus, a cure for their apnea!  

  I have heard only good things about the Trans-Trache.  For example, no one who gets this trache wants to give it up, it is not prone to cause disease or long term complications, it can be covered up cosmetically, and, in general, "it is nothing" as one man who has one told me.  

I am attempting development of an air (not oxygen) pump to support this little trache for those of us who have apnea but not lung disease although it may turn out that a blend of air and oxygen may work best to keep overall litres per minute down.

Also, I want to mention that I have now done about 900 consecutive sleep studies of my own using the cms 50e finger oximeter which you can get off ebay for about $80.00.  It records all night oximetry data and then the next morning you upload to your computer.  It has given me insights into my apnea that I otherwise would not have gotten from a few hospital sleep studies.  You can see examples of the output that is produced at the ebay listing or at echostore.com.

The point sleepyguy makes about oxygen deprivation is spot on.  It seems this little trache would be a reasonable compromise between that contraption, the cpap, and that gawd awful classical trache to effect a 100% cure

   

Thanks for the post, i have battled with cpap for 7 years.  Its either a leaky mask or sinus problems.  I am looking for another solution.  Thanks Rich

Julie Isom said:

I HAVE HAD SLEEP APNEA MY WHOLE ADULT LIFE.  I CAN NO LONGER USE THE CPAP BECAUSE THE GERD WAS SO BAB THE CPAP KEPT DRIVING THE STOMACH ACID INTO MY LUNGS CAUSING PNEUMONIA.  I WAS ALSO DIAGNOSED WITH INCREASED INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE.  THEY CALLED IT PSEUDOTUMOUR CEREBRI, AND PULMONARY HYPERTENSION NOW.  I AM GOING TO ASK NEUROLOGIST ABOUT  THE INCREASE IN CRANIAL PRESSURE RIGHT AWAY, JUST TO SEE IF THERE IS ANYTHING ELSE I CAN DO FOR IT.  AS FAR AS THE PULMONARY HYPERTENSION I HAVE TO BE ON OXYGEN WHENEVER NI SLEEP AND WHEN I AM DOING ANYTHING MORE THAN JUST WALKING AROUND THE HOUSE.  THE DOC TELLS ME THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO DO BUT GET A TRACH TUBE OUT IN BUT I DON'T WANT ONE.  I AM GLAD YOU BROUGHT IT UP ABOUT THE CRANIAL PRESSURE I DIDN'T KNOW IT PUTS ME AT INCREASED RISK FOR STROKE.  IF THERE IS ANYONE ELSE IN THE SAME BOAT I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU.   THANK YOU,  JULIE

I have been an bronchial-asthmatic since I was a child. and also had OSA then Complex SA over 20 years now.  After a week in the hospital for acute Bronchial-Asthma and acute Sinusitis I was put on O2 at night with my VPAP and now I get better sleep. I always felt that my O2 level was dropping at times. In the hospital it was dropping to 86 and the requirement to be put on O2 was it had to be at lease 88 or lower to qualify due to Insurance.  I am glad someone has brought this up and talking about it..  Thanks again for the post.

Perhaps another take on this would be a vocal cord disorder. My sleep doc sent me to a speech therapist b/c I told him I thought my throat wasn't working right. Sure enough, I have a "VCD." My throat closes when I inhale. There are exercises to strengthen and relax the vocal cords, believe it or not. This should be interesting! My oxygen goes down to the low to mid 80s without a machine.

I saw it somewhere that "SINGING" is a good excercise for Sleep Apnea.  I sing all the time in my 3500 pound rolling stereo.  I suggest you take it up.  All it takes is water to keep you hydrated.  Learn how to oscillate your vocal cords.  When I was in Chorus in Middle School I could hit 4 octaves but my selfish parents never let me develop.  I had a solo and got kicked out for not attending.   I planned on it.  I was to sing Don McClaine if I remember right.  American Pie.   Oh well enough about could have been.  Sing Marcia....... Sing your heart out.  When you can make the sound.  One hour a day should help out.  If you have a long commute its perfect.  It is said the best singers can oscillate their vocal cords at 20 thousand beats per second (could be 2000 bps my memory sucks).  Steven Tyler for one, I watched something on his vocal cord operation. 

http://discovermagazine.com/1999/aug/physics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_folds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajbcJiYhFKY&feature=player_embedded#!

Wow! Well, I used to sing in chorales and I was an instrumental music teacher and played wind instruments all the time. I think I need to take them up again! That would be a kicker if it let me put the machine away. ;)

Has it helped you?

Time to pull out my Handel Messiah libretto. :)

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