Patient Comments: Sleep Apnea - Effective Treatments

What kinds of treatments have been effective for your sleep apnea?

Comment from: Whu1973, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 12

I have just been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and am awaiting a CPAP machine. My general physician advised me to contact the DVLA about my condition but I'm concerned they will stop me driving as this is part of my job, and I have never been affected by tiredness whilst driving for this to be a problem.

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Comment from: budagirl, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 24

About five years ago, I started feeling tired and sleepy all of the time, especially when I was doing a lot of driving back and forth from my parents' home to my own while caring for them. I had my thyroid and iron checked to see if this was the cause of the tiredness. Then, one day, on the way home, I had a car accident. I apparently fell asleep at the wheel during the 5 p.m. rush hour and back-ended a car that was stopped. I don't remember much about the accident and apparently was knocked unconscious by the deployment of the airbags. I went to the doctor, and he referred me for a sleep study for sleep apnea. I was subsequently diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and was given a CPAP with a full mask. I made a rapid improvement with the use of the CPAP and have used it religiously ever since. I travel with it, nap with it, etc. I could have lost my life and caused others injury or death because of my unawareness of this illness. I love my CPAP and feel much more secure and relaxed when sleeping now. Now, I cannot sleep without it. People who suspect that they may have sleep apnea, or who know that they do, and do nothing about it, are accidents waiting to happen. It's better to use the CPAP than be charged with vehicular manslaughter or even involuntary manslaughter. I can live well with my CPAP but couldn't live with the knowledge I had caused someone injury or death.

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Comment from: minnie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 26

I am a Navy veteran diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. I want to tell other veterans that if they suspect sleep apnea, they should get tested at a VA hospital near them. They can get a free machine and supplies for the machine, if they test positive. They even gave me two masks (one with nose pillows and one full-face mask). I had no idea I stopped breathing 40 times in 60 minutes and only reached REM for 20 minutes out of 10 hours of sleep.

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Comment from: Nancy J, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

Five years ago, I was exhausted to the point of sleeping almost all day. I was 54, not overweight, didn't have a thick neck, in other words I didn't fit the profile. My doctor was amazed by this. I thought my allergies were causing this excessive sleepiness. My doctor tested for allergies and set up a sleep apnea test. I ended up with severe sleep apnea, woke up 44 times an hour with no REM sleep. I have a CPAP machine and literally couldn't live without it. It only took three days to get use to it. I have to have it adjusted to go higher because at first I could only tolerate up to 10. Now I'm up to 15 for the last four years. I am exhausted again, so I am seeing my doctor to see about adjusting it again. While researching why my daughter was sleeping 16 hours a day, I found that diabetics (which she is) are more prone to sleep apnea. We had her tested right away and it was positive. Hers was not obstructive, and she does not have it anymore. I'm not having surgery, and I don't mind the mask at all. You must think of the consequences. It's a small price to pay to live an active live. We need more education on sleep apnea because people do not realize the risks of having it, and it can be stopped easily. Others in the sleep apnea test walked out and went home without finishing it. I can't imagine they really knew what they were doing to themselves and their families. Whether you fit the profile, get checked. It could be worth your life.

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Comment from: AzPopcorn, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 09

I was diagnosed with polycythemia which was brought on by COPD and sleep apnea 3 yrs ago and prescribed a CPAP. I can't believe the difference it has made in the quality of my life. It took me about a week to get use to having the mask on my face, but now I fall asleep immediately and often realize when I wake I'm in the same position I was 8hrs ago .

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Comment from: PatiO91, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

I am overweight, and I was having problems sleeping. My new pulmonary doctor had me go through this horrible sleep test, which was so uncomfortable that I don't think anyone could have slept. Afterword, they told me I had sleep apnea. I am now on my fifth CPAP mask, and I still can't sleep comfortably. In fact, when I wear the mask, I am more miserable than I was before. Most of the time, I end up throwing it off after an hour or so. My nose gets ice cold (even though I have raised the heat level to 4), and my mouth gets horribly dry. Many times I wake up choking and scaring my poor husband. What is really strange is that my once-medicated blood pressure problem has gone away. I no longer am on blood pressure medication. I'm at my whit's end.

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