Sleep Apnea Question

My name is Billy and I’ve been recently diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea (AHI: 19). I just recently turned 37, I’m 6’2 without shoes, 250 pounds naked with a neck circumference of 19.25".

Is it possible to have sleep apnea when a person is within a one weight range, and not within another lighter range? My doctor told me that you either have sleep apnea, or you don’t, and I’m not sure how to I’m suppose to take that.

I believe I’ve had symptoms of sleep apnea as far back as ten or more years ago. It seemed that whenever I was over 240 pounds, I’d experience symptoms, but certainly not when I was between 200 and 230. Is this even possible?

Just laying on the couch, on my back, watching tv, something in the back of my throat prevents me from breathing requiring me to open my mouth to breath again. I figured that was enough evidence for potential sleep apnea.

Actually sleep apnea is an insidious disease that does not play by previously thought rules. That said, now that you know you have it the most important thing is to do whatever you need to do to combat it. I’m sorry to hear you have joined our ranks but I’m glad you found us and if we can be of help we gladly will so welcome to the group. May you have better health and long life.

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I believe extra tissue in one’s throat can make apnea worse, but I don’t believe that losing that would make the apnea go away.

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Thanks for the replies afronative and louise.

I have the DreamStation (APAP) with humidifier and an under-the-nose mask. Just reading through the forums, and from hearing the stories from people I know using an CPAP/APAP device, there’s a lot of people that find them uncomfortable. The other night, for the first time, I put mine on and wondered what was so uncomfortable about it.

I still woke up several times the past two nights, so I assume it’s not working yet. I’ll be waiting a week before data is collected and evaluated.

If you download the Dreamstation app called DreamMapper, you can check your data every morning/day and generate reports (14 days, 30,60,90).
There is also a screen display on the device that your doc can turn on that shows your AHI total for the night, the week(average), & 30 days(average).
I was just switched to APAP by my new doc (pulmonologist/sleep apnea/respiratory specialist) and he turned this screen on and several others. (See my other post for details).

I use that same mask and nose cushion and find it very light and comfortable. No leaks. Easy to clean daily. I wear a very thin fabric chinstrap under it as well. My hair is long and heavy, so I put the mask’s headstrap under the hair and then tighten it, so the hair doesn’t push it off. No issues. Doesn’t bother or mark my face. I don’t wear the little soft covers(?) that come w it; I find them hot.

I read your post and signed up using my computer. My menu’s were turned off, and the sleep company I took my study with, they enabled those additional menus on my machine.

Regarding my previous message, all those times my maskfit was actually very poor according to my phone conversation, so I changed the size of the nose piece to a large, and tightened the strap on the back.

Last night (23rd), my AHI was 2.7 during the 3 hours I had the mask on. The average over the past three days is about 7. However, I’m finding that I’m waking up, the final time, without the mask on not knowing how it happened. So far, these past three days, I started with the mask on, but woke up without it on.

Before I was having nightmares nightly, but I haven’t remembered a dream since. If I’ve had a nightmare, I don’t remember it. The thing is, I find the mask sitting on the desk beside me, like I had placed it there. It’s not found randomly placed, so I’ve had to have placed it there with intent.

I don’t remember waking up any, not even to go to the bathroom, which could be as many as seven times a night before. Hmmm, something is weird here.


[A Thought, For Thought]

Given this APAP machine can detect episodes of apnea, then would it be possible, with proper sanitizing, for someone else to use it to potentially detect sleep apnea? That was just a thought that came to my mind as it seemed a possibility.

Sounds like you’re removing your mask. When you see your dr, be sure to discuss this.
In the meantime, you could try clipping the strap to your hair or collar, and if you wake up trying to remove it, see if you could train yourself to put it right back on and go back to sleep.
PS These machines are medical devices prescribed for individuals.

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I’ve been training myself to put it back on as you said, and it’s getting better. I believe I’m going into a much deeper sleep and therefor don’t remember waking up a lot of times.

Is there anyway to view the dream mapper data by the hour instead of by the total time? The first thirty to sixty minutes are the most brutal for me because I just keep waking up gasping for air along with rapid heart rate. As I’m falling asleep, I notice my breathing becomes extremely shallow without any obstruction, it’s like I’m giving very little effort to breathe, or I just stop breathing right as I’m falling asleep and have to consciously make an effort to do so.

The sleep doc says that it’s probably anxiety and not related to sleep apnea, so I started reaching over and pressing the knob to see what the pressure reads, and notice it’s usually between 9 and 10. According to what I was told regarding APAP, the pressure rises when it notices shallow breathing or no breathing at all, and it drops when all is well. Thus, it appears I’m not imagining things.

My first hour has been better since I started pre-heating the humidifier and using the ramp. It took me a couple of days to settle on ramp setting and time. Right now, pressure 5 at 15 minutes is good. LOL, I also have to remember to press both “on” buttons: big one and the small ramp one next to it. If I get up in the night for more than a few minutes, I use the ramp again when I get back in bed.
As to minute/hourly pressures, I don’t know. I think the rep told me that now that I am using APAP and the doctor turned on the 90%pressure feature, that he will have access to all my nightly readings, so perhaps you could get that detailed info when you see your doctor.
Lastly, I now get a screen that shows the hours I slept when I first turn off the machine. If I turn that dial to the left, I get the AHI screen, and the Periodic Pressure, and then the 90% screen. If you get that, you could check it when you wake up during the night, but of course, then you are waking up your brain and interrupting your sleep again.

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I am not an expert in this field mind you, so I am only sharing what I have been told, and what I have observed.

I am 50 years old, 6’ 0" and 380lbs. I have lost 30lbs in the last 6 months BTW but that is not relevant.

In my teens, I was underweight, and snored the siding off my house. No one, not even our family doc thought to mention this sleep apnea thing. I was still at 6’ 0" but I was 165lbs back then.

I have colleagues with obstructive sleep apnea that are older, and younger than I am, and most of them are between somewhat, and a whole lot lighter than me. One fellow is 5’ 6" and 180lbs, the other is 6’ 1" and 300lbs.

So your doc is right saying that either you have apnea, or you don’t. There used to be a link between weight gain, and developing sleep apnea, but at least from what I have seen, and what my doc has told me, that has been disproven, at least to the extent that while there is a relationship of triggering apnea in the first place with more tissue there, the underlying structures and genetics mean that just because you lose weight, won’t mean the apnea will go away…

I wish it would honestly…

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Thank you dbhost for sharing your story with me. Congratulations in losing those 30 pounds dbhost.

I assume you are saying that, even though you were not overweight when you were younger, you still had sleep apnea. Since I was diagnosed, I’ve meet many people who look perfectly healthy in terms of weight, but have a sleep apnea diagnosis. Until I was diagnosed, I only new one person who had sleep apnea, and they told me they bet I had it. It’s like the story of when someone buys a specific car thinking not many people have it, yet after the purchase it’s all they can see every where they go.

When I was in my early twenties, I believed I had the potential of sleep apnea because I’d wake up from a dream where I was being strangled or choking while being told, within the dream, I had to wake up immediately. I’d wake up gasping for air with stars in my vision and rapid/pound heart beat. Maybe it was just a nightmare, but I’ll never know now. The same thing that happened to me when I was younger while at a healthy weight, are the same things that drove me to get tested own my own for sleep apnea recently, except when I rose to 275 pounds, It was significantly worse.

Is it still not possible that losing weight can reverse the condition? If not reverse it, lessen the severity?

Totally valid questions. I can say this, I struggle less with the CPAP therapy with the 30lbs off of me, but yes, even though I never heard of it at the time, I remember if I would fall asleep say on my back, I would wake up struggling for air, even as a teenager.

Weight no doubt has a lot to do with it yes, but what I was getting it is it isn’t the sole issue. I don’t think I can, even if I get down to my ideal BMI, I just doubt I will shake apnea entirely, although I may end up on a different type of therapy.

Without a doubt, the lack of sleep led to a lack of activity, which lead to weight gain, which led to even more lack of sleep, to even more lack of… you get it…

One thing about getting older, you get smarter about what to ask the doc, mostly because most of your friends are older, and you start comparing infirmities. I might be getting ready to retire!

Yes, with a catch. Set the CPAP pressure to 4, the typical lowest a CPAP can go. When somebody uses it overnight, the resultant data is more or less the untreated numbers. Obviously insurance isn’t buying that but between us, those numbers will at least give you an AHI number. You decide what to do from there.

Weight can factor in having apnea and by how severe.

Example I had AHI of 74 in my CPAP sleep study in '15. I weighed 300 lb.

Bariatric surgery helped me drop 100 lb, but BPAP sleep study showed AHI still present, but at half the previous at 37. I use an ASV now even at 200 lb.