APAP is working, but not working (sorta)

My AHI is down from 19 to an average of around four over the course of a month. The sleep doc says that’s a success, the device is working. But is it?

Because I have little money, and thus no insurance, I selected to do a home sleep study test using the Phillips Alice One Night. The results, over two days, was that I have moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

After a month of use, although my AHI is around four, I still wake up constantly. My doctor told me, when I was diagnosed, that the machine would change my life, that I’d never want to go anywhere without. This has not been the case, and the subject of this post.

What is Clear Airway Apnea? For what I read, it’s a guess at what might be a Central Apnea event. What is a normal reading for a Clear Airway Apnea event for someone that doesn’t have Central or Complex apnea?

Why do I have such a challenge just getting to sleep? When I lay down, and only sometimes, my breathing begins to become very shallow. Sometimes, right as I’m starting to fall asleep, that shallow breathing stops, and I have to consciously make myself breathe. And when it happens, I begin waking up gasping for air, ripping the mask off in the process. This can last between thirty minutes to two hours. I’ll just go through this process over and over until I finally go to sleep. Then I just wake up, over and over.

These kinds of nights, where I struggle to get to sleep, always corresponds to Clear Airway Apnea readings. When I don’t have these problems, my DreamStation data shows 0 Clear Airway. This is data gathered of the course of about a month.

The company I had my sleep study test with, they told me that Clear Airway was just another name for sleep apnea. They also told me my problems were due to something else, outside of sleep apnea, but never gave me an idea of what it could be.

Last night, my AHI was 1.3, for 8 hours. I woke up 6 times during those 8 hours. WHY? My AHI my have been 1.3 for the night, but I had to fight all day to not pass out. And I lost, because I had to anyway. And I can’t remember shit, nothing. Simple shit, I don’t remember, I’m so tired I can’t remember much. But, my AHI went from 19 to 4.

No change, nothing has changed except an AHI score. I still wake up, over and over again.

On the DreamMapper app in the FAQs/help, they give definitions that might help.
They also have short videos that might help.

I’m trying APAP, which is giving 50% better AHIs than CPAP, so far. My dr said to track any/all daytime drowsiness during the trial
as I shouldn’t gave ANY and no snoring if the settings are correct. Having any drowsy days will help him to adjust if needed. Also, he said if I was drowsy every day or resumed snoring, I should call him ASAP, not wait for the 6 weeks.

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Thanks for sharing your experience, Louise!

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If you are waking up gasping for air while using the machine, I would say that your machine is not working properly, not set properly, or you have been prescribed inaccurately. When you did the home study, did you also do a study to set the levels on your machine? Obviously your levels are not correct for you because you are waking up. The diagnosis of sleep apnea is all about therapy that helps you not wake up gasping for air.

Also, I would give the machine a chance over time. I struggled for months to get used to my machine. My AHIs used to go as high as 23, and for the last month, I have only had one over 5.

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I did a home sleep study test, and HAD an APAP machine until two days ago. This is all mute at this point as I ended up breaking my machine and will have to wait about a year before I can afford another one.

Do thanks for all the replies though.

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Here is the link to the CAP program. Low cost machines for those in need. https://www.sleepapnea.org/community/cpap-assistance-program/cap-patient-application/

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On the DreamMapper app in the FAQs/help, they give definitions that might help.
They also have short videos that might help.

I’m trying APAP, which is giving 50% better AHIs than CPAP, so far. My dr said to track any/all daytime drowsiness during the trial
as I shouldn’t gave ANY and no snoring if the settings are correct. Having any drowsy days will help him to adjust if needed. Also, he said if I was drowsy every day or resumed snoring, I should call him ASAP, not wait for the 6 weeks.

I read through it since you’ve posted, and I guess it means the possibility of a central apnea event, but not guaranteed. I do have an update at the end of this post that might explain it.

If you are waking up gasping for air while using the machine, I would say that your machine is not working properly, not set properly, or you have been prescribed inaccurately. When you did the home study, did you also do a study to set the levels on your machine? Obviously your levels are not correct for you because you are waking up. The diagnosis of sleep apnea is all about therapy that helps you not wake up gasping for air.

Also, I would give the machine a chance over time. I struggled for months to get used to my machine. My AHIs used to go as high as 23, and for the last month, I have only had one over 5.

My home sleep test diagnosis was for an APAP machine only, and it was also a limited test. I was given the Alice NightOne device, which only records O2, breathing and a belt to measure breathing resistance.

Here is the link to the CAP program. Low cost machines for those in need. https://www.sleepapnea.org/community/cpap-assistance-program/cap-patient-application/

Thank you for the recommendation, I followed through it and placed my order. The effects, since I broke my APAP machine, were felt immediately.

UPDATE:

I’ve been without my APAP machine for a week now, and the impact was felt immediately. I’m now back to experiencing bad dreams, being unbelievably tired and irrational mood swings.

With regards to constantly waking up as I’m falling asleep, I actually believe it’s anxiety. I noticed, even during the day, when I have anxiety, my breathing will become very shallow, and at times, I’ll stop breathing for up to thirty seconds.

I believe anxiety might be the reason because, even when I’m awake, my breathing will become very shallow and often times I’ll stop breathing on my own, just so I can notice changes in my heart beat. This very week I’ve been without the APAP machine, I’ve experienced nights of constantly waking up as I’m drifting off to sleep, and nights where I fell asleep without a problem.

The nights I woke up gasping for air when drifting off to sleep, where the same nights I was also having anxiety before I went to sleep. The nights where I went to sleep without any issues, where the nights I didn’t experience any anxiety. Thus, those clear airway events could have been those anxiety events where I voluntarily stopped breathing as I was falling asleep. Anxiety/panic/mental health could be the other side of the story that I’ve been unwilling to address.

In closing, thank you MotherT, shuggeman and louise for posting.

You are most welcome.

Sleep is probably like most things in life: There is no single explanation usually, and if there is a problem/issue, there is not one best solution/answer usually, but rather, multiples.
So include anxiety, but continue to explore and monitor other contributing variables.
Good luck.

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Thanks Louise.

Regarding exploring alternatives, I wish I could get a standard sleep study test, I read they are much more in-depth in their analysis than a home sleep test. However, being able to get any sleep test was a blessing to me.

I weighed about 255 about a month and a half ago when I got my sleep test, and now I’m 240 pounds. Luckily for me, there’s a free mental health clinic for residents in my area and it’s time to address what I’ve been putting off all these years. I’m going to continue to lose weight and eventually address the mental health aspect.

I’m sure all of you agree with me when I say that I hate sleep apnea, and mine isn’t even that bad compared to what many of the people here have. I can’t imagine, and I don’t want too.

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Thank you @louise @shuggeman @xXZexxMooreXx for your insights and sharing!!

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