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The Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Forums

Being investigated for sleep apnoea!

Talk about all aspects of sleep apnoea. Request help from others with the same problem, tell your story, exchange tips & techniques ..
Gavin
Private Snorer
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:27 am

Being investigated for sleep apnoea!

Post by Gavin » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:48 am

Hi all :D

I'm new to this forum, and this is my first time being involved in any forum lol

I'll tell you a little about about me and my symptoms and why I'm after some advice.

I'm a 30 year old male about 6'1" tall I'm on the heavier side( yes I'm well overweight :? Lol) no real health issues except asthma and allergies that effect my nose( very congested).
For about two years now I've been suffering with fatigue/lethargy which is getting worse I've had dozens of blood tests done over this time and the only real thing that's came back abnormal was my liver function and my folic acid was low at one point. As I said my symptoms have gotten worse over the past year to point it's a effort to keep my body going, just feel like there's no energy in any of my muscles I also feel I've lost muscle strength ( probably just because the way I'm feeling). Even walking up stairs I feel really out of breath and feel my heart bouncing about in my chest. I started a new job last year, a driving job( bus driver) and this is at the point I really started worrying an noticing my daytime sleepiness, I was falling asleep/nodding while driving :shock: last week was really bad so I contacted the Dr and they advised me to stop driving and tell my work, which I did( currently signed off untill this sorted) the more research on sleep apnoea I do the more it makes sense for me to have it! But I keep questioning my self thinking it's all in my head and I'm just being stupid, suppose you could possibly say I'm in denial or anxious. I've also been advised to see a mental health nurse due to feeling so run down for so long aswell as being signed of work for so long (at least six weeks, to wait for an appointment at a sleep clinic)
Sorry this is soo long winded lol any advice would be helpful, be good to hear some people who have been through this as I don't know anyone that's got sleep apnoea.
Thanks in advance
Gavin

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Sleep2Snore
General Snorer
Posts: 2868
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:20 pm
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Being investigated for sleep apnoea!

Post by Sleep2Snore » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:51 pm

Hi Gavin,
I don't know whether to start with the good news or the bad news! Depending what bus company you work for, you might need another job. However, that being said, one of the major bus companies kept someone on that had Sleep Apnoea and has set the standard. At one time (unless it was a small firm) the big firms paid you off (I think mostly due to not understanding what Sleep Apnoea was. They thought that everyone just fell asleep, which is almost true with some in the latter stages) but it is because you do not get proper sleep that is the problem.
However, don't worry about that. You will have to inform the DVLA at some point (Only after they tell you you have Sleep Apnoea) but only after you have a diagnoses. They will revoke your driving license until you become compliant with your treatment.
It is quite possible you have Sleep Apnoea by the way you describe your symptoms. I trust the doctor has gone down all other avenues? No unusual lumps or bumps on your body and bloods normal?
I don't think there is to much to worry about, I have had this for over 20 years and am still around and very alert these days. It will help if you loose weight, but don't try loosing a lot of weight without good advice.
The main slimming clubs are quite good now and they allow you to eat quite a lot and you still loose weight, it is only certain foods you can't eat and you can't mix some types with other foods etc.
This is not helping you much at the moment though! You need to find out if you are a mouth breather or a nose breather, when you go for a sleep test, ask for a sleep test in the hospital and have a polysomnography test done, this is a lot more accurate and they can see all that is involved as there is more than the usual OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea) this is where you throat closes when you try to sleep, waking you up again so you can breath, then you fall asleep and wake up again and so it goes on.
This happens up to a staggering amount of times, so much you would think it couldn't happen this often in an hour, but it does. This is what makes you so tired, you just are not getting sleep. Another thing you might notice is getting up to the toilet more often during the night. It does not affect everyone though.

You will hopefully go into hospital for a nights test (your own room usually, but to hot and not your own bed, so sleep will not be great, have a drink to make you sleep) you will be wired up to a computer with sensors all over your head and a few on your body, this is to tell what stage of sleep you are in. Then there is a band round your chest to detect you breathing and sometimes a little pipe (or a pipe under your nose) on a mask that they fit onto your face, usually over your nose, though sometimes it is a Full-faced mask that covers your mouth and nose, these are a little claustrophobic, but just sit with the nurse if it causes you to panic a bit, they well understand. When the test starts, air will come through a hose into the mask, it will not be to strong at the start , but strong enough so you can breath without any problem. At this stage try to go to sleep (as best you can with a good drink in you lol) and just sleep as best you can through the night. Now, some hospitals do tests through the day, if they do you might get tested earlier if you go for this, though it might be harder to sleep.
In the morning one of two things will happen, either you will just be let go home and they will contact you, which appears to be the norm these days. Or you will see a consultant. I would advise you to ask your doctor to ask for a polysomnography test. Get him to phone the hospital to say you are a bus driver and need a quick turn around as you will loose enough of a living without a long wait to see them. After you get tested, you might have to wait to see the consultant, at this point you will be told to fill in a form for the DVAL, who will revoke your license until you are compliant. What they mean by compliant (or it used to be this you had to meet) 5 AHI or under and at least 5 hours on the machine every night (every night) and more if you can do it. Ask for a humidifier and if you get a choice go for a ResMed Airsense10Autosense APAP machine, but you do not always get a choice. Now you will need a machine as already mentioned and the thing most people have problems with. If you are a nose breather, ask for Nasal Pillows, they are easier to get on with, you might need a chin strap to go with it. So just ask for one, because even if you do breathe through your nose most of the time, you mouth will open when you lie on your back (which you should try to avoid as it is the worst position to sleep if you do have Sleep Apnoea). Turn up the humidifier and ask then to have the EPR (Expiry Pressure Relief) turned on and show you how to adjust it, go for the lowest number to start with (It helps you to breathe out against the machine) and if you need more relief go to the next higher number, but try to work without it as it does affect treatment a little.
When you get a machine home, do not put it on the floor, they might tell you to put it there, they used to anyway. It is the worst place you can put it, have it off the ground with the hose going down hill. slightly, or up on the bedside cabinet with the hose going down and coming back up to you, or have it going up and back down to you, the reason for this is to stop condensation in the hose coming through to you. On a cold night this might happen, you wake up with a few drops of water spraying onto your face. No need to panic, just hold up the pipe and let it go back into the machine and go back to sleep.
Now, depending on the mask you get, you need to make it work for you, so if you get a chance (not all clinics let you do this, but try it attached to the machine before you leave the clinic and do if you can lie down when trying them as the shape of your face does change when you lie down.
The vents on the mask have to be there, some masks are noisier than others, some of the newer ones are quieter and so are the newer machines.
When you see the consultant you need to ask whet your numbers in your test was, and do write them down as you might need then if asking for advice.
I hope I covered everything, please let us know how you get on.
There is a home test that they might try to palm you off with, but they are less accurate. There are home test machines out now that are quite good, but you need help connect them up.

When you get your machine if it turns out you have Sleep Apnoea, try to use it even if you just have a nap, when you go to sleep you need to use it. If you don't your throat will cut off your air and at the very worst you could die. Mose don't, but don't take the chance.
You are at high risk of getting cancer, stroke, heart attack, diabetes and a few other things, so it is in your interest to try to get the weight down, no, I am not a doctor, I just suffer from the surge called Sleep Apnoea.
Now the important bit: Any advice is given in good faith and based on experience, I am NOT a doctor and advice should only be taken using your own common sense and judgement. It is given in good faith only with best intentions and should not be considered medical advice. Okay, you got it.

Good luck and let me know how you get on. You do need a few posts here before your posts appear without a delay. I am not here as often as I would like to be, but if you ask a question, it will take a few days to appear and I might be a few days or I read it, so keep looking back.

Take care of yourself.
S2S
S2S - Sleep2Snore

User avatar
Sleep2Snore
General Snorer
Posts: 2868
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:20 pm
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Being investigated for sleep apnoea!

Post by Sleep2Snore » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:53 pm

Well, I hope that didn't scare you off, it was not meant to, but I had to get as much adviv=ce in as I could in one go, I know it is a lot to take in, but there is plenty of time to read it.
S2S - Sleep2Snore

Gavin
Private Snorer
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:27 am

Re: Being investigated for sleep apnoea!

Post by Gavin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:42 am

Hi,
Thanks so much for the reply and the advice and information you gave was great!

I work for a big company in Edinburgh and I've been advised my job is safe, thank god! Company policy means I had to involve DVLA so they know already unfortunately.

Yes Dr has done all the usual bloods etc I've even questioned a heart issue causing me to be suffer fatigue but she assured me it's not that lol although my blood pressure had been pretty high and my oxygen was low yesterday but my oxygen back to normal today.

Is high blood pressure common with sleep apnea?

I believe sleep apnea can aggravate asthma and lower oxygen in the body?

According to my wife I'm a mouth breather and pretty heavy breather also, over the weekend I've read well Into the diagnosis process of sleep apnea I've not looked into machines etc I assume I'll get one from the hospital? Will they expect me to buy my own eventually?

Is it common to wake up in the morning not having any knowledge what so ever of these apnea episodes? Although I wake up feeling groggy I still feel I sleep right through the night?

Regards
Gavin

User avatar
Sleep2Snore
General Snorer
Posts: 2868
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:20 pm
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Being investigated for sleep apnoea!

Post by Sleep2Snore » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:35 pm

"Is high blood pressure common with sleep apnea?"


It often goes with it, but my not be caused by it.

"I believe sleep apnea can aggravate asthma and lower oxygen in the body?"


It can lower the oxygen in the body quite a lot. Think about it, if you stop breathing you are not getting any oxygen. As far as asthma I don't know, but it is bound to aggravate it a bit, though would that be due to it affecting it directly or as a consequence of it. I don't know, I am not a doctor, but less air going onto the lungs will have a knock on effect.

"According to my wife I'm a mouth breather and pretty heavy breather also, over the weekend I've read well Into the diagnosis process of sleep apnea I've not looked into machines etc I assume I'll get one from the hospital?"


Looks as if you will need a Full-faced mask then. Mention this when this when you go for a sleep test at the Edinburgh Clinic. Choose the mask carefully and take your time. Write down any questions you might have and do ask them, there is no such question as a silly question when it comes to Sleep Apnoea (British spelling). Be careful what you read on the Internet, there is a lot of incorrect information out there.
Some sites give information to increase their sales targets. Things change as well so it might be out of date and things like doctors doing studies, take with a pinch of salt as they are looking for a result of a certain type and not looking at the general picture.
It was Edinburgh I originally went to and there is a group that hold meetings every year, it may be worth you going to one (you do not have to be a member as you can still go, costs a bit more for a non member, but joining keeps their funds going. Ask when at the clinic about it as I have lost contact with them now.

"Will they expect me to buy my own eventually?"


No, but there is nothing stopping you if you want a better machine than they supply. They will more than likely just tell you that this is the machine you are getting. If it is not an APAP (automatic machine) ask; If you buy a machine of your own, will they repair it and supply filters etc for it. Sometimes they will, but they might say what make they will support. But NO, they will give you a machine, for the moment it is for life, though the way the NHS is going you never know! In England, for a while they had to buy their own machine, in Scotland it was always free to my knowledge.

"Is it common to wake up in the morning not having any knowledge what so ever of these apnea episodes?"


Yes, I never knew that I suffered from Sleep Apnoea or had any events until my partner said I stopped breathing during the night. It was only due to an little bit in one of her magazines that she linked them.
I was not even feeling the effects of it then, but by the time I first went to see someone about it I was feeling it, then by the time I went to Edinburgh I was really feeling it, to the point I was so tired when I sat down I would offer to fall asleep. I was ok driving though, though I did stop a lot, just in case I nodded off at the wheel. I was very aware of the risk of doing that, so every 30 to 40 miles I stopped, made a long journey even longer!

"Although I wake up feeling groggy I still feel I sleep right through the night?"


I slept through the night, but some feel the need to get up to go to the toilet. I usually slept through the night anyway, but I did feel a bit worse in the mornings when it hit me.

As far as machines go, I think the ResMed is just ahead of Resperonics and they are just ahead of the others. If you get the choice, go for a ResMed Airsense10Autoset they are a bit quicker, but not much, but this machine took my AHIs (Events) down to 0 some nights.
To get your license back you will need to be below 5 AHI an over 5 hours a night sleep. As far as your bus license, you will need to ask at the clinic as I am not sure about that one.
Anyway, best of luck on your new adventure.
S2S - Sleep2Snore

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