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blueskies

Postional Sleep Apnea And Treatment?

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Hi All,

I tried to do this as a poll but was not successful at creating one. Typical. LOL.

So my questions are for those who have sleep apnea. Mainly, do you have positional sleep apnea? And how do you treat it? CPAP, wedge pillow, tennis balls or other?

I have positional sleep apnea (apneas while on my side average about one episode an hour but climb to 'moderate to severe levels' if lying on my back. I did use a cpap successfully for some time but then found I started to develop pressure urticaria from the mask and straps -- no matter how loose I could make them without affecting the seal of my full face mask and pressure urticaria on my face was painful. And then the straps and mask (mainly straps) started to give me more migraines. I've had to give up on the cpap for some time now but I use 3 or 4 tennis balls sewn into a sock on the back of my pyjama top that keeps me on my side and gives me a better night's sleep than without. My sleep time is too short but this is independent of sleep apnea, I'm pretty sure.

I'm just wondering about the experiences of others?

blue

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What kind of apnea do you have?

Should you be on bipap or cpap?

Are you snoring and if so, caused by tongue or weak/narrowed midneck muscles collapsing?

You have to have these answered before making much progress in my exprerience

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Hi Spinner,

Basically I have positional sleep apnea. My sleep specialist (who works at a major hospital so is very legit) offered up solutions to the problems when I was diagnosed. That I could try a wedge pillow, or tennis balls in a sock sewn to the back of my pjs or the cpap machine. I decided to try/buy the cpap and while I could handle it very well for quite a while other problems mentioned above made it impossible for me to use it eventually. A costly exercise for me. Now I'm doing the tennis balls in a sock attached to my pjs which is effective. The Nights I wear it I know I'm having very few apneas by the way I feel in the morning ( a tad more refreshed - not huge improvement to how I feel but noticeable and about the same as I got with cpap) but there are nights like last night when, at some point, I've taken the top off unconsciously. Woke to find it at the bottom of my bed. I used to do this with my cpap mask sometimes too.

No, I don't snore. I make a funny noise in the back of my throat, apparently. My airways are blocking -- hence the apneas -- but generally only when I sleep on my back.

I'm wondering if any others who have sleep apnea (positional) use alternatives to the cpap machine.

blue

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By positional sleep apnea, do you mean this Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome?

http://www.centerforsoundsleep.com/sleep-disorders/upper-airway-resistance-syndrome/

I suspect I have this although haven't found a location that will test for it locally. I know I can't sleep on my back without waking up gasping for air though so I nearly always sleep on my side or stomach.

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Hi Chaos,

I just pulled out a copy of the letter to my gp from The Sleep Disorder's Unit at the hospital in Australia where I was tested, to check your question. In part, it says that, "The diagnostic sleep study demonstrated positional obstructive sleep apnoea." No mention of upper airway resistance syndrome. When I'm in supine position the hypopnoeas occurred much much more frequently than when lying on my side (lateral) position. Basically, my problem becomes more serious if I sleep on my back. The doc was the one who suggested all the different things I could try but in those days my finances weren't so tight so I went straight for the most expensive solution -- the cpap.

The link you sent me indicates that UARS causes insomnia and frequent wakening during the night. I have that but it's only relatively recent and I think it's anxiety, adrenalin and the 'flight and fight' response etc. It makes sense to me that UARS can develop into sleep apnoea.

I can't remember where it was that I was reading about people with sleep apnoea who believe that they lie on their sides all night and think they are okay. It was found that many of them, when studied, will start off sleeping on their side, roll over onto their back at some point during the night and then roll to their side before waking -- and they wake convinced that they've spent the night on their side. So I think the tennis ball/sock/pyjama top routine might be wise.

I live in a big city and the biggest advantage is that I can access all the tests I need or think I need. No one ever suggested I had sleep apnoea. Or asked about snoring (which I don't do) or any other noises I might make when sleeping (apparently I used to make a sort of clicking noise in the back of my throat -- my husband complained about it for years ). And when I first saw the specialist who ordered the test he seemed to indicate that in his opinion I did not have sleep apnoea. My results proved otherwise.

BTW, it takes 4 tennis balls in the sock sew to the back of my pyjama top to stop me rolling onto my back. The one tennis ball suggested by the sleep specialist does not cause me enough discomfort to wake me up when I roll on my back -- perhaps I'm 'sinking' into my soft bed so I just can't feel it.

I found myself waking gasping for breath a lot, not so long ago but worked out it was a medication I was on -- something that depresses the CNS. I don't take it anymore. I didn't realize it was the med at first because I also occasionally get sleep paralysis which sometimes involves waking up and having to gasp for breath.

I hope you are able to access a sleep lab soon.

blue

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I had moderate Sleep Apnea and use a CPAP machine with a built in humidifier. I sleep very well with it now and no longer snore or have to sleep on my stomach which was wrecking my shoulders.

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