Author Topic: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea  (Read 4621 times)

SyZ

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I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« on: May 12, 2016, 11:38:36 AM »
But I don't want to spend $300 out of pocket to go to a doctor to tell me 'nah, you should just go to bed earlier'

What should I do

aFrugalFather

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2016, 11:43:54 AM »
If your health is not worth $300 then I'm not sure what to say.  Perhaps you can get a fitness tracker to see what your sleep patterns are.  Maybe you can find a doctor in a 3rd world or developing country to watch you on a webcam to save yourself a few bucks.

bobechs

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2016, 11:45:53 AM »
Make a video of yourself sleeping for a night.

If watching that video doesn't put you to sleep then you know you are getting way more than enough.

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2016, 11:50:20 AM »
There's a lot more to a sleep study than watching on a video, including measurement of brain waves on EEG, oxygen level with pulse oximetry, and frequency and duration of apnea (not breathing) and hypopnea (ineffective breathing).

Do you have health insurance? Do you sleep next to someone who can verify whether or not you snore loudly or stop breathing in your sleep?

A good place to start if you aren't ready to make an appointment, is to take the STOP BANG questionnaire. It will determine whether you are at low, medium, or high risk for sleep apnea.

Hope that helps.
-PoF

tonysemail

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2016, 12:01:15 PM »
I saw this link in my Inbox the other day.

this post shows you how to make an audio recording and analyze it.

Note that the author says explicitly NOT to self-diagnose.

But seeing and hearing the evidence may convince you to spend money for a sleep study.

http://engineersperspective.com/sleep-screening/

GuitarStv

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2016, 12:09:07 PM »
Are you a healthy weight?
Are you a smoker?
Do you drink before bed time?
Do you have caffeine during the afternoon?
Do you have high blood pressure?
Do you exercise regularly?

If the answer to all but the last question is 'no', then it's probably worth going to a doctor about it.  Otherwise you know where to start to try to fix the problem on your own.

Miss Piggy

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2016, 12:09:19 PM »
If you are thinking of buying/adding more life insurance, do that before you get tested for sleep apnea. A friend's husband was denied life insurance because he has sleep apnea. Crazy, I know.

mozar

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2016, 01:54:32 PM »
How about going to sleep earlier and seeing what happens?

SyZ

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2016, 01:58:55 PM »
The STOPBANG test put me at high risk for OSA

I had college roommates (4 sets) 7-10 years ago and nobody ever mentioned anything, and I didn't have trouble sleeping

In the past 2-3 years, all of my girlfriends have mentioned that it's hard to sleep with me because I snore intermittedly and seem to take long / slow breaths. I wake up at random times during the night and I'm constantly tired during the day. I've been doing 45-60 minutes of heavy exercise daily for 3 weeks, and my sleeping hasn't gotten any better. I'm just as tired during the day

But, only 3 of 8 risk factors doesn't strike me as alarming, given 1 is probably just luck / a coincidence

Edit : should mention the college roommates were in single room dorms, and friends. Male 20 year old friends have no issues telling you you snore, if you do. The fact nobody ever said anything across all years is my 'proof' this is a recent thing
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 02:00:28 PM by SyZ »

JoJo

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2016, 02:47:16 PM »
My dad almost died from sleep apnea.  He was slowly suffocating himself to the point one day he woke up disoriented and stopped breathing on the way to the hospital.  Thanks to modern medicine he's alive and now sleeps with a CPAP nightly.  So check it out.

With This Herring

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2016, 03:18:23 PM »
You could have developed it since the last time you had roommates.  My dad has it and stops breathing for a minute at a time, if he's not using anything to mitigate it.  Just go get it checked out.  Depriving your brain of oxygen nightly is not great.

Campanula

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2016, 03:54:27 PM »
Absolutely agree you should check this out. Sleep apnea can begin at any time for various reasons. You may missing out on much improved quality of life whilst putting yourself at risk of serious health problems (such as stroke) and being a danger to yourself and others on the roads due to reduced cognitive functioning.

kite

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2016, 04:03:43 PM »
Sleep Apnea will shorten your life.  It means your FIRE number is lower because you'll be dead sooner. 
So, yeah, you get to save $300.  Only you can decide if it's worth it. 

El Marinero

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2016, 04:11:46 PM »

In the past 2-3 years, all of my girlfriends have mentioned that it's hard to sleep with me because I snore intermittedly and seem to take long / slow breaths. I wake up at random times during the night and I'm constantly tired during the day.


I worked for several years  as a Sleep Lab technician. The quote above is just about a textbook illustration of how Obstructive Sleep Apnea presents. 

Tell your doc you want to get evaluated.  There are now pretty good diagnostic tests that you take home (much cheaper than a night in the lab).  And the newer CPAP machines adjust automatically to the level of pressure needed.  Really slick!

My two cents:  Asolutely no good reason to ignore your symptoms, and lots of reason to get treated. 

Spork

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2016, 04:17:20 PM »
I have sleep apnea... and I actually think most people do.  If they test you for it, they're going to find it.

Your experience may differ, but if you actually get a sleep study, it's likely to be more than $300.

My doctor said "I can tell from your symptoms and an exam that you have sleep apnea, but in order for insurance to pay for it, you'll need a sleep study."

That sounded reasonable...  But when all the various charges came in: sleep study, reading the study, labs, the "hospital room".... it came out to $10,000.  My insurance paid 80%, so my part was $2000. 

Had he just offered to write me a script for an APAP, it would have been $500-800 out of pocket.

Lesson:  Ask if you can get qualify for an automatically adjusting CPAP without going through the sleep study.

I do actually think CPAP is extremely helpful and I do sleep MUCH better with it.  But I do think the risks are somewhat exaggerated.

kaizen soze

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2016, 04:22:25 PM »
I go to the doctor precisely because they usually tell me it's nothing to stress about.  Feels great.  Totally worth the money.

yyc-phil

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2016, 04:31:27 PM »
Sleep apnea is what caused my dad to have severe cardio-vascular problems starting in his mid-fifties, despite being an athlete, non-smoker and non-drinker all his youth and adult life. If you suspect having sleep apnea, you should not hesitate to spend a few hundred bucks to get assessed and have it under control as early as possible. Suspecting I also had sleep apnea, my family doctor referred me to a clinic specialized in sleep disorders and had me take a nocturnal polysomnography. Luckily, I am in Canada and I am very happy to pay high taxes to cover, among other nice things, most our health care needs, so everything was covered under my territorial health care plan. During this test, you're hooked up to equipment that monitors your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. It was annoying but I'm glad I did it. In the end, I only had a mild sleep apnea and the specialist did not recommend using a CPAP machine at this time.

dess1313

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2016, 05:46:11 PM »
Do you always feel tired during the day?
does your bed partner say you snore loudly?
are you over weight?
does your bed partner say you suddenly start/stop/gasp with your breathing when asleep?

Then you SHOULD go and get a sleep study.  there are different types, and different levels of diagnosis they can provide

sleep apnea can be a missed diagnosis for many people and can lead to a lot of stress on the body, and to a lot of things that negatively affect you

If you have true apnea, and get a bipap or cpap machine, it can make you feel like you're a totally new person when you get a GOOD sleep and wake up rested.

I work with a lot of sleep apnea patients.  if you're concerned you have it, spend the money and find out. 


I have sleep apnea... and I actually think most people do.  If they test you for it, they're going to find it.

Your experience may differ, but if you actually get a sleep study, it's likely to be more than $300.

My doctor said "I can tell from your symptoms and an exam that you have sleep apnea, but in order for insurance to pay for it, you'll need a sleep study."

That sounded reasonable...  But when all the various charges came in: sleep study, reading the study, labs, the "hospital room".... it came out to $10,000.  My insurance paid 80%, so my part was $2000. 

Had he just offered to write me a script for an APAP, it would have been $500-800 out of pocket.

Lesson:  Ask if you can get qualify for an automatically adjusting CPAP without going through the sleep study.

I do actually think CPAP is extremely helpful and I do sleep MUCH better with it.  But I do think the risks are somewhat exaggerated.

And spork, that is utterly dangerous advice.  What sort of medical background do you have to be able to make that sort of judgement?  I WORK with the patients who have it.  Having patients desaturate to 70% (normal is 90-100) and sometimes even lower to 50 or 60% is not healthy, and is NOT an exaggeration.  those with moderate to severe apnea can actually have cardiovascular events due to low oxygen in the blood, heart disease and even death in the worse possible scenarios. 

sleep apnea means while asleep you are not breathing.  if you are already having bad apnea, and get given a med that further reduces your level of consciousness, you may not wake up the next morning. 

Severe sleep apneas cause you to basically suffocate your body for short periods of time, because you are unable to move any air.  you sputter, wake up slightly, gasp, take a few breaths then fall back deep asleep and do it all over again and again and again.  some patients have dozens of episodes or even hundreds of episodes an hour. It is not an exaggeration nor something to triffle with if you actually do get diagnosed with it.

dess1313

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2016, 05:53:22 PM »
The STOPBANG test put me at high risk for OSA

I had college roommates (4 sets) 7-10 years ago and nobody ever mentioned anything, and I didn't have trouble sleeping

In the past 2-3 years, all of my girlfriends have mentioned that it's hard to sleep with me because I snore intermittedly and seem to take long / slow breaths. I wake up at random times during the night and I'm constantly tired during the day. I've been doing 45-60 minutes of heavy exercise daily for 3 weeks, and my sleeping hasn't gotten any better. I'm just as tired during the day

But, only 3 of 8 risk factors doesn't strike me as alarming, given 1 is probably just luck / a coincidence

Edit : should mention the college roommates were in single room dorms, and friends. Male 20 year old friends have no issues telling you you snore, if you do. The fact nobody ever said anything across all years is my 'proof' this is a recent thing
I just saw this reply with extra detail as i finished my other message

Has your weight increased since college?
Have you started any new medications since college?
Have you had any health complications since college?
Just because you were not doing it in your college years does not mean that it can't develop later in life.  3 weeks of heavy exercise is good, but if you've gained weight, unless that weight is gone, you still have the high risk factor because of it

Your examples of waking up in the middle of the night, as well as being chronically tired during the day, as well as the snoring makes me thing you NEED to go get a sleep study.  those 3 things combined are all huge risk factors and go hand in hand.  you sounds like one of my typical OSA patients.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 05:55:23 PM by dess1313 »

teen persuasion

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2016, 06:01:23 PM »
CPAP is not the only way to handle sleep apnea.  DH used a CPAP machine for years, but only saw limited improvement.  His doctor referred him to a dentist developing a dental device, and DH got it at no cost as a beta tester.  He likes the mouth guard much better, and feels it gives him better sleep, though still not perfect.  Less cumbersome than the machine, no noise, no electricity needed.

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2016, 08:27:04 PM »
The STOPBANG test put me at high risk for OSA

I had college roommates (4 sets) 7-10 years ago and nobody ever mentioned anything, and I didn't have trouble sleeping

In the past 2-3 years, all of my girlfriends have mentioned that it's hard to sleep with me because I snore intermittedly and seem to take long / slow breaths. I wake up at random times during the night and I'm constantly tired during the day. I've been doing 45-60 minutes of heavy exercise daily for 3 weeks, and my sleeping hasn't gotten any better. I'm just as tired during the day

But, only 3 of 8 risk factors doesn't strike me as alarming, given 1 is probably just luck / a coincidence

Edit : should mention the college roommates were in single room dorms, and friends. Male 20 year old friends have no issues telling you you snore, if you do. The fact nobody ever said anything across all years is my 'proof' this is a recent thing

OK, now I'm a little concerned about how many girlfriends you've slept with over the past 2-3 years :) Might be another good reason to see the doctor. ;)

Kidding aside, this does sound like obstructive sleep apnea to me. The "long, slow breath" describes the first breath after an apneic period well. The intermittent nature of the snoring is another indicator. The silent pauses are either unobstructed breathing or no breathing. The fact that you're waking up randomly and tired all day point to no breathing.

Disclaimer: I'm an anesthesiologist, not a neurologist or sleep specialist. But I see (and correct) temporarily obstructed airways all the time. And FWIW, I did take a 2-week sleep medicine rotation in medical school. Yes, that's a real thing.

Rewdoalb

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2016, 09:30:17 PM »
I just finished a book  called Sleep Smarter ... Was at the library. I would suggest seeing if your library has this book as a good way of connecting the dots between sleep and your general health. He focuses on wellness so while some treatments are helpful (cpap, meds) are useful he helps address the root causes and what lifestyle changes can be made.

Although here I am on my smartphone before bed. But still...I learned a lot.

Adge

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2016, 09:00:02 AM »
My dentist was the one to ask me if I had sleep apnea, since I was obviously grinding my teeth. I'd never thought about it before, but a quick internet check showed a number of factors- overweight, high blood pressure, not enough exercise, back sleeper, teeth grinding, and I would often wake up at night. I was already in the process of losing weight and exercising more to try to get the blood pressure down, so I figured I would also switch to sleeping on my side and see if that helped. After a couple months I'm now down 20 lbs, my blood pressure is back in normal range, and I'm not grinding my teeth any more or waking up as frequently. I'm not sure which change helped more, but it's definitely worth trying to deal with any risk factors to see if that helps you, since it seems like you're hesitant to go to the doctor.

Disclaimer- I'm absolutely not a doctor. YMMV. Just wanted to share my experience.

Spork

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2016, 01:07:31 PM »

I have sleep apnea... and I actually think most people do.  If they test you for it, they're going to find it.

Your experience may differ, but if you actually get a sleep study, it's likely to be more than $300.

My doctor said "I can tell from your symptoms and an exam that you have sleep apnea, but in order for insurance to pay for it, you'll need a sleep study."

That sounded reasonable...  But when all the various charges came in: sleep study, reading the study, labs, the "hospital room".... it came out to $10,000.  My insurance paid 80%, so my part was $2000. 

Had he just offered to write me a script for an APAP, it would have been $500-800 out of pocket.

Lesson:  Ask if you can get qualify for an automatically adjusting CPAP without going through the sleep study.

I do actually think CPAP is extremely helpful and I do sleep MUCH better with it.  But I do think the risks are somewhat exaggerated.

And spork, that is utterly dangerous advice.  What sort of medical background do you have to be able to make that sort of judgement?  I WORK with the patients who have it.  Having patients desaturate to 70% (normal is 90-100) and sometimes even lower to 50 or 60% is not healthy, and is NOT an exaggeration.  those with moderate to severe apnea can actually have cardiovascular events due to low oxygen in the blood, heart disease and even death in the worse possible scenarios. 

sleep apnea means while asleep you are not breathing.  if you are already having bad apnea, and get given a med that further reduces your level of consciousness, you may not wake up the next morning. 

Severe sleep apneas cause you to basically suffocate your body for short periods of time, because you are unable to move any air.  you sputter, wake up slightly, gasp, take a few breaths then fall back deep asleep and do it all over again and again and again.  some patients have dozens of episodes or even hundreds of episodes an hour. It is not an exaggeration nor something to triffle with if you actually do get diagnosed with it.

Just to be clear:  My advice was to work with your doctor on alternative methods for diagnosis/treatment instead of very expensive 2-night sleep studies.  I don't think that is dangerous at all.

The line you bolded was my opinion: that risks are somewhat exaggerated.  Note that I do think there are risks.  I just think they, more often than not, "round up" and over state the risks.  Those in this business are quickly to jump to describing worst case scenarios, when often that is just not the case.

That said: I do believe in the treatments.  I am 100% compliant on my CPAP and have been for 7+ years.  It's so essential to me getting a good night's rest that I managed to acquire a backup unit "just in case."

Laserjet3051

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Re: I'm pretty sure I have some form of sleep apnea
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2016, 01:42:36 PM »
$300?

IS ABSOLUTELY worth your health, and maybe even your life.

I had sleep issues and spent upwards of $8000 to have it diagnosed and treated (bulk of that cost was the polysomnography [sleep test]). By putting together what each different specialist had to say, I was able to gain a holistic and precise understanding of exactly what was causing my problem and am happy to say it is now 100% rectified.

And it was worth EVERY PENNY I SPENT.

(and yes, one of those doctors [not a specialist, but a GP] did tell me to "go to bed earlier.") lol
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 01:45:06 PM by Laserjet3051 »