Sleep Apnoea

25 02 2013

If you read my post about visiting the dark side, you will know I had a sleep study done to establish whether my chronic fatigue was due to sleep apnoea.  I fully expected to be told (as usual!) that there was nothing wrong with me and to go away…….  The results, however, are far from those preconceived ideas I had about my sleeping patterns…!  My doctor duly rang me this morning to discuss my results, and what he had to say literally blew me away.  I had one of the worst results possible.  Below is a chart showing a fraction of my sleep time:

apnoeaThat circled area shows one of the many times I simply stopped breathing.  You’d think you’d wake up choking or something, but apparently that is not a given, most people are totally unaware that this is happening to them.  The problem with not breathing, is that your blood Oxygen levels drop……  and this can, obviously, lead to tiredness, brain damage……. or worse.  Below is another graph showing my blood Oxygen levels……  isn’t technology just dandy…?

SpO2My doctor told me that only very young children achieve 100, most people are at 90~95.  Anything under 80 is not good, and that very low spike you can see, which I’m told reached 72 is, according to the doctor, “not compatible with life”!  Did I die?  Can’t remember…….  which is what happens when you have apneoa, your memory goes south.  Worse, sleep apnoea raises your chances of stroke and heart attacks by some 50%, and we can’t have that, I want to be around when the collapse takes hold!

Fortunately, there is a remedy.  I’ve met a few people who now sleep with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP) which apply continuous positive pressure to your airways through as mask to maintain unobstructed airways.  They all tell me it’s changed their lives, so there is hope for me after all.  It would be nice to get the old me back again….  even if it means another trip to the dark side for another sleep test to calibrate the machine I will try out.

Apparently a very large number of people suffer from this affliction and know nothing about it.  I didn’t.  Obviously, I will keep my readers informed on how well the CPAP system works out, but I would recommend, even at this stage, that if you always feel tired, don’t sleep well, can’t concentrate, or just generally feel like crap, then it wouldn’t hurt to have a test.

As an aside, it’s pissing down rain again, we will be cut off from civilisation tonight (yeaah!), and we will have surpassed our entire annual rainfall in barely more than a month…..  if the rain wasn’t falling so hard on the tin roof, I’m sure you’d be able to hear the grass grow……..  Tomorrow, I’ll fire up the AGA and cook the duck I killed yesterday, might as well make the most of it!

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10 responses

25 02 2013
Don

Hi Mike,
Have you priced a CPAP machine yet? They’re not cheap. This brings to mind an email I recently received quoting a doctor who detailed what a money making business cancer treatments are, and how a good immune system is probably more important in surviving most cancer. On being around when the collapse takes hold, one may have the pleasant ability to say “I told you so” but this may be the only pleasant part of it. I am aware of a coming collapse myself and have thought that hanging on to what one has prepared may not be very comfortable.

25 02 2013
mikestasse

Hi Don, yes I am aware that they cost the Earth……… and I am wondering how much power they use. Are you insinuating that these sleep study things are just money making schemes? Because it did occur to me….. however, I will rent a machine for a while and play it by ear.

I agree the collapse won’t be much fun, but at least I am mentally, financially, and resourcefully (did I make a new word up here..?) ready. I have been very concerned about moving to Tassie and not being able to do anything due to CF… so at least now I am hopeful the treatment will give me my energy back to get on with things…

26 02 2013
Serge.

I know someone that got one of them machine but could not get used to sleep with it and it ended up as an expensive dust collecting device (DCD). On the other hand getting lean and fit fix most cases of sleep apnea (back on your bike). Trying to control your sleeping position also help. When I was younger I hardly never slept on my back, but after hurting my back at 40, I realised that on the rare occasion I slept on my back (during episodes of back pain) the pain either went away or diminished substantially. So I tried to train myself to change my sleeping habits. To do so I had to learn a fair bit about breathing control to fall asleep while on my back, which I used to found practically impossible (my mind would race away and I would not go to sleep). I have had on rare occasion a whole night sleep without literally moving an inch. The down side (Maria reckons) is that when on my back I have a tendency to snore.
I also beleive that diet is crucial, and to find the diet that suit one’s body metabolism (in today world of commercial food) is a uphill battle. I have been working on my diet for over 20 years now and I am still fine tuning. The extend of wheat hybridisation and gene manipulation revealed lately is scary, idealy I would like any wheat I ingest to be my own (either kammut or spelt)

26 02 2013
mikestasse

Hi Serge (are you back for the flooding…?)

I will get a chance to try a machine before I buy for about a month…. The study detected my sleeping positions, and it hardly made any difference. Snoring itself is not the issue. You can have Apneoa whether or not you snore (my snoring was described as “soft”, 1 to 4/10), and whether or not you are overweight…… I apparently stop breathing an average 90 times an hour!!

I’d love to get back on my bike….. but I’d never get home again! 30 to 60 minutes of even light exercise totally exhausts me to the stage I need a sleep. I know I’ve put on about 7kg due to lack of exercise, and hopefully if I actually DO get my energy back, then I’ll start moving again!

Diet has zero impact on this problem apparently… I think I rather eat way better food than most people. And thin people an get apneoa just as much as fat ones…..

4 05 2013
mikestasse

Actually…….. I bought one. It’s a ResMed, made in China (sigh) that reluctantly cost me $900 on the magic plastic. Look at what you can do by printing money out of thin air……. All the others cost well over $2000, and when you look at them you have to wonder why they cost so much.

I’ve only been using it two weeks so far, and I’ll write it up after a month.

25 02 2013
lemmiwinks

This might sound odd, but if it’s obstructive sleep apnoea then you’re lucky! A CPAP machine should fix you right up. My poor old Dad on the other hand has central sleep apnoea which is more of a neurological disorder. Forget the CPAP machine, if you think that’s expensive he had to get a VPAP machine (and he still suffers significant fatigue).

26 02 2013
Glenn

Woww … that’s a great story mike. Look forward to following your blog when the Tasmanian project starts to materialize. You have mentioned earthships more than a few times as you prefered choice of home making. With the fires and all we are beginning to think the same thing. There is really only the one concern and that is the readiness of Tasmania, local councils, and interests groups to allow such an abode to be built. How would an ‘earthship’ fair with the Huon Council? Once again, great to hear you may have pinpointed where your health issues are stem from.

26 02 2013
mikestasse

Hi Glenn…. when I started this blog, I never thought I’d be writing about Apneoa!

A true Earthship is built out of tyres, but I’m too old to stuff around ramming tyres full of dirt, and I worry about running out of time before TSHTF. So I’m planning to build an equivalent type house out of in filled concrete blocks, and with vertical double glazed windows on the North side instead of the typical sloping ones you see in Earthships. I can’t for the life of me understand the logic behind sloping windows… I have no idea how Council will take to an earth-bermed home – and I might even consider a green roof, depending on the land we end up buying… I think the trick is to have certificates from companies that do this already to certify the design. Councils like that. It takes them off the hook if things go all wrong.

I have plans in my head already…. and Glenda and I and the kids have discussed them too. I even have land lined up…… al I need is to sell this place and get some cash.

27 02 2013
Glenn

Yep, to simple survive the process of building in good time seems an important guiding principle. As they say, keep it simple stupid – and small me thinks. Hope ya health comes good for you.

27 02 2013
Tinie

Try researching Buteyko. There was a couple of books available from Noosa library that explain the theory etc it won’t tell you how to do it. You would need a trained therapist to teach you which will cost you time and money. Actually with adults I think they can learn the techniques in less than a week. Elija had been taught by Suzy Beach she lives locally, I took him to her for his asthma. I feel it helped though he was very young and seems to have forgotten what to do. A refresher course would be good.I have given Glenda the details of Suzy, she is very friendly and approachable, and it might be worthwhile just having a chat with her if nothing else – arm yourself with information.

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