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The Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Forums

Received my diagnosis today

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scotsgreg82

Received my diagnosis today

Post by scotsgreg82 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:19 am

I've been reading many posts on the forum, particularly here in the Members' Stories section, and thought I would contribute as I received my sleep apnoea diagnosis this afternoon.

My snoring has been a family joke since I was a teenager (I'm 31 now) but last year when I was on holiday and sharing a room with my friend, he commented on how I "held my breath for ages" as I slept. I brushed it off at the time as another couple of people have made similar observations over the years but I did a little internet research when I got home and came across some information on sleep apnoea.

Many of the symptoms matched what I was experiencing and most interesting to me was the link to depression and anxiety. I have been prescribed anti-psychotic medication since 2005 and anti-depressants since 2007, for symptoms of anxiety, paranoia and depression. My symptoms are invariably aggravated by low quantities of sleep, but the information I was reading suggested that sleep quality is also a factor in the exacerbation of my symptoms.

So I finally decided to address the sleeping issues and made an appointment with my GP. I described my symptoms and he said he would refer me to the sleep clinic at the local hospital. It took a couple of months but eventually I received a letter for an appointment to collect a home sleep study machine. After a demonstration by the nurse, I took the machine home and did the study that night. Unfortunately I screwed up by pressing a button that wiped all the data that had been recorded, and had to wait another month and a half for a second appointment. The second study was successful, and it was just a case of waiting for the follow-up appointment to discuss the results.

That was today, where it was confirmed that I do indeed have sleep apnoea. The senior nurse who saw me said that during the study I stopped breathing every minute or so - I don't know how serious this is in the context of the condition, but it sounded pretty scary. She reassured me by saying I can start treatment almost right away and I'm going back on Tuesday to be taught how to use a CPAP device.

Anyway, that's how things stand for me at the moment. I'm a bit worried about having to use the CPAP machine for the rest of my life. I don't currently have a partner and I'm not sure if CPAP and dating will go well together. However, I'm going to look on the bright side and be thankful that a problem has been identified and it's being treated.

I'll update this after Tuesday with my thoughts on my first night of CPAP.

Greg

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Sleep2Snore
General Snorer
Posts: 2777
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:20 pm
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Received my diagnosis today

Post by Sleep2Snore » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:46 pm

Hi Greg,
Welcome to the forum.
I will look forward to reading your updates.

The mask is usually the biggest problem, so if you have problems with it do not be afraid to contact your Sleep Clinic for help. One tip, do not over tighten the mask, lie down to make the final adjustments, then turn on the machine, make any adjustment and have a good nights sleep.
Any advice you need just ask. Either here or up at the top of the forum.
Have a good first nights sleep on Tuesday night.

Ask to try a few masks, this is usually the area where most have problems.
Write down any questions you may have as it is only to easy to forget.
Ask if the machine has Expiry Relief and if it is turned on, also ask how to adjust this as some machines can be adjusted by the user to make it easier or slightly harder to breath out. You may ask why would you want to make it harder to breath out, well, with some masks the seal between the mask and the face breaks and you get a leak. Making it loose less pressure when you breath out can stop this from happening, also some people prefer it this way.

S2S
S2S - Sleep2Snore

scotsgreg82

Re: Received my diagnosis today

Post by scotsgreg82 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:21 am

Hi folks, it's me again.

Yesterday morning (Tuesday) I received a carbon copy of the letter from the sleep clinic to my GP, explaining the results of the sleep study. I was found to have an AHI of 27, and an ODI of 29.5 with a mean saturation of 93%. The diagnosis was moderate obstructive sleep apnoea but as I've felt with my mental health over the years, a diagnosis is really just a label - what's important is that my symptoms are treated effectively. Still, it feels comforting to know that my condition has a name.

In the afternoon I had my appointment with the CPAP clinic which was being held in a side ward of my local hospital. There was four of us there to be fitted for CPAP (including myself) and one person also brought his wife along. In the day room we were shown a short video explaining sleep apnoea and then one of the nurses talked us through setting up the machine and how to maintain it.

We then went round to a bay of beds, where the nurse came and fitted our masks. I went for a full face mask as I always breathe through my mouth when I sleep. After a few false starts and a few leaks, I lay down on the bed with my mask attached to the machine. I didn't manage to sleep as the pressure felt a little strange, but I felt comfortable enough.

So last night I tried the machine in my own home. The machine was set to start automatically, so I got a bit of a surprise when I went to put the mask on (note to self: fit mask and THEN attach the tubing!). It took me a while to get to sleep wearing the mask and sometimes when the pressure increased I had to resist the urge to take the mask off. At times my mouth felt a bit like when you turn an automatic hand dryer up to your face. I also felt my mouth dry up quickly and the back of my throat was quite "mucusy" for most of the night.

I remember waking up a few times in the night, but generally I went back to sleep pretty quickly. About 3.30am I had to get up to the loo, but all I had to do was pull the tube out of the mask to get up. I ended up taking the mask off anyway as I really needed a glass of water for my dry mouth. When I got back to bed, I continued to use the machine for the rest of the night, until my alarm went off at 6.30am. The info screen on my machine had an AHI reading of 10.6 so that's definite progress from my sleep study results.

My first impressions of the machine are mixed. On the positive side once I got used to wearing the mask and breathing against the pressure, it was a breeze (well more like a gale sometimes). The machine made very little noise and the tubing never got caught or tangled on anything around my bed, even when I turned away from where it was sitting.

The main problem I have with the machine is the drying out of my mouth and nose. My mouth tends to dry out during the night anyway due to my medication, but this felt worse and the mucus at the back of my throat felt really uncomfortable.

The other thing is - I didn't actually feel like I had any better sleep. In fact I feel like I didn't sleep at all. However, at the moment I'm going to put that down to not being used to sleeping with the machine and I hope this will improve over time.

I have a follow up appointment with the sleep clinic on the 6th of December to chat about my experiences with using the machine. Hopefully by then I'll be used to using the machine and I'll have positive things to tell.

Greg

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Sleep2Snore
General Snorer
Posts: 2777
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:20 pm
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Received my diagnosis today

Post by Sleep2Snore » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:02 pm

Hi Greg,
If you have a humidifier, turn it up, if not ask for one. This will help with the dryness.
It will take you a few nights to get used to CPAP, thing is yo stay calm and don't panic. Breathing out against the pressure can be a problem but you do get used to it, however most newer machines have an Expiry Relief System that allows yo to breath out easier. This might not be turned on. It is usally adjustable if it is turned on by the end user (you) so if you have the user manual look for it. It may be called C-flex or some other name, but it drops the pressure when you breath out. If it is not turned on it may be locked, ask about it on your next visit.
A tip meanwhile for dry throat is to have a bottle of water and a straw, saves taking the masks off.
It will take you a week or more to get used to the mask and machine. Don't be tempted to tighten the mask to much and hurt your face and nose.

Good luck, sounds as if you want to make I work and that is half way there :)

S2S
S2S - Sleep2Snore

scotsgreg82

Re: Received my diagnosis today

Post by scotsgreg82 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:07 pm

Thanks for the helpful tips S2S.

I realise I'm not going to feel 100% better overnight but I'm going to persevere with this.

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