Mild Sleep Apnea

Does anyone have mild Sleep Apnea? Can mild Sleep Apnea cause the same symptoms and complications as moderate or severe Sleep Apnea does?

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I am a dentist working in dental sleep medicine. Large numbers of people have mild sleep apnea. Mild sleep apnea can cause poor sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness just like the more severe versions. Interestingly, there is not always a linear relationship between symptoms and severity, i.e., some people with mild OSA are more tired than the people with moderate OSA, etc… However, it appears that mild sleep apnea may not put you at risk for the most severe consequences of moderate to severe OSA, heart attack and stroke. And mortality data appears to suggest that mild OSA may not lower the life span as substantially as does untreated moderate to severe OSA. a.b.luisi,d.m.d.

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Hi, my name is Eve and I also have mild or moderate sleep apnea. What I don’t understand, no one will discuss the Apneas that I have each night. I have anywhere from 5-37 apneas each night and no one will discuss this with me. I had a son that died of sleep apnea. The Doctor or the RT don’t seem concern, but I am. Maybe if the explain it to me I will not worry.

@Eve - First let me ask you, have you received any treatment, such as CPAP or a dental appliance?

There’s no such thing as “Mild” sleep apnea, lack of oxygen to the brain is not mild.

Yes, MotherT I do have a Airsense 10 Autoset from Resmed. I have been using this one since September.The RT has tried all the mask that she has available to her. I am so tired all day. I think I will have to stop driving because I get so sleepy. I do want to say, I have a very bad back and there isn’t anything they can do for that except pain meds. which I don’t like to take as often as they want me to. I just don’t know what to do next if anything…??? Any help would be appreciated. I want to keep active in my church and be able to go to Sunday services and Bible Study. I have a wonderful support system, but can’t help getting depressed sometimes.

My doctors don’t seem to care neither.

you can’t be a little bit pregnant. you either have a sleep breathing issue or you don’t.

“mild” is very misleading. it doesn’t even account for SDB or UARS that is prevalent across many societies.


I’m new to this group n am just starting to understand what mild sleep apnea is.

My first sleep study showed that I stop breathing 8 times each hour n 20 times each hour when I’m dreaming

My next sleep study is in a few days to determine what he is hoping to try to help me sleep

He spoke of a sleep aid that is very small to put in my nostrils.

Can anyone help me understand what this might be

Lastly does anyone use or recommend a white noise unit to help w their sleep


You care and care for yourself.

This is Eve again, I am still having trouble with my sleep. I am scheduled for another sleep study the 21st of this month. This will be #3. I still have so many apnea at night. from 9-40. I still have air leaks no matter which mask I use. My Doctor hopes this study will help solve some of the problems. He wants to make sure the pressure is correct for me. I also have to sleep with my head elevated because of acid reflex. I have had to sleep in a recliner while the test were conducted because they said they didn’t have a hospital bed. (the test was done at the hospital) When I scheduled this time, I told them that I had to have a bed. We will see… I am so tired all the time. Any pointers would be helpful.

True, losing oxygen at night is never a good thing!

However, there is actually a degree of severity assigned to cases of sleep apnea as determined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine using a scale referred to as the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI). This number is part of the report you receive after having an overnight sleep study.

A similar scale known as Respiratory Distress Index (RDI) measures disordered sleep breathing in a slightly different way and is not always the go-to measure that AHI is, which is considered a universal one used by all sleep physicians.

Mild Sleep Apnea = AHI ≥ 5, but < 15 per hour.

Moderate Sleep Apnea = AHI ≥ 15, but < 30 per hour.

Severe Sleep Apnea = AHI ≥ 30 per hour.

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Hi Eve,
I’m glad you and your doctor are pursuing these challenges. Sometimes, it’s a combination of mask fit and pressure, and then you’re also dealing with acid reflux (which I also have… it can be so troublesome!).

If it helps you feel better, it’s quite common for people to sleep in recliners at home, it may be the only way some people can sleep comfortably when they struggle with reflux.

I have what is known as a “wedge pillow,” which is a large wedge-shaped pillow that elevates my upper half to prevent some of reflux issues. It can be really helpful when antacids just don’t do the trick.

You might also consider putting risers under the posts at the head of your bed to raise it up about 3 inches. You can find these at home stores (they are commonly found during the later summer for people shopping for dorm supplies). If you can’t find them, any sort of 3-inch object you can spare will do… wooden blocks, old books or catalogs you don’t care about. This can help with the reflux as well.

Finally, to curb the reflux, I also make sure I eat early enough in the evening so that there are at least 2 hours after meal’s end and bed time (I aim for 4 hours). I also try to keep my evening meal lighter, to ensure less needs to be digested at night. Less high-fat foods and meats (which require more digestive activity) and more lean foods (fruits, vegetables, carbs). Avoid the carbonated beverages and high acid foods, too. It really makes a difference!

For example, last night I had dinner out and ate a delicious cheeseburger and fries with a soda at The Outback. This was at 6pm, and I didn’t go to bed until 1030pm. Still, I had a touch of reflux at around 2am. However, the night before, I ate a small baked potato, salad, and small steak (4 ounces) at 630pm, with a tall glass of water, then went to bed at 11pm. No reflux.

Anyway, I hope you can get to the bottom of your PAP issues and that you can find some relief for your reflux! Keep us posted!


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Thank you for your response. My acid reflux is well under control.

My main problem is the number of apnea, plus the air leaks in the mask. I vary from 7-40 per hour. At home I sleep in an adjustable bed with the head up just a little. When I have a sleep lab test done at the hospital, they haven’t had a adjustable bed. I had to sleep in a recliner and that one is not comfortable at all. I have a lift chair at home and have slept in it fairly well. But not the one at the hospital, it is not a well made chair.

Last night for example, I went to bed at 10:30. Went to sleep the woke up at 11:30 feeling as though I just couldn’t breath. I tried to adjust the mask and finally gave up. I got up and crocheted until after 2:00 and went back to bed with the mask and slept until around 6:30a had to go to the bathroom, I put the mask back on and slept until 8:00a. My sleep is all broken up. I am so tired when I do get up.

Oh Well, hope to get some answers soon.

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The Sleep Apnea has been causing physical and emotional problems for 6 years.

@ncis82 have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? Or do you still need to have a sleep study?

Yes. I already have a trach, so they don’t know why or what to do.

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I wish they could help me. I’m going to fight to go to UCSF or Stanford. They’ve helped me in the past with this. This Sleep Apnea has been ruining my life for four years. I would love to chat with others who are going through the same thing.

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I did get a new mask, a Phillips Amara View minimal contact full face mask. I am getting along with this mask very well. I am still having apneas from 0-57 per hr. The doctor doesn’t seem to worry to much about them. The RT from my supplier said she didn’t know why’ My Air’ that my report goes to, has them so high. I can’t help worrying about them. Who should I believe? I don’t fight the mask anymore, but I am still so tired when I get up.


Glad to hear you and your mask are getting along! If the doctor is not concerned, then it might be that they are just waiting for you to settle in to your therapy a little while longer. It can be a gradual process knocking those hourly respiratory event numbers down to something more safe. If you are still concerned because of the discrepancy between what the MD thinks and what the RT thinks, it never hurts to ask them why there is this discrepancy. Especially since you are still so tired in the morning.

Good luck as you move forward @Eve! Hang in there!

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