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Adventures in CPAP – part 1

Published April 21, 2012 - 3 Comments

I think it was about 2 years ago that I first wrote about being tested for sleep apnea.  The test results confirmed what we already suspected – my sleep was being interrupted by periods of no breathing.  I’m told that this is a bad thing.  It causes problems in a few areas:

  • It doesn’t allow me to stay in a full REM sleep, which leaves me less rested than I should be considering the amount of time I’ve been asleep.
  • It places a strain on my heart, which only adds to my high blood pressure.
  • Apparently it’s scary as hell to see me gasping for air while I sleep, but I wouldn’t know.

So the test clearly showed that I have sleep apnea.  Then what?  Well… there are basically 3 options:

  • Lose weight.  My obstruction is caused by excess fatty tissue in my throat.  Lose the fatty tissue, the obstruction goes away.  Sound simple enough.
  • Wear a CPAP mask while I sleep.  CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and the basic idea is that air is continually pushed through the mask, forcing my airway to remain open as I sleep.
  • Surgery.  Same principle as losing weight.. excess fatty tissue is the cause.  Cut it out, and voila!  No more apnea!

Of the three solutions, losing weight seemed the most sensible.  I told my doctor that I was not interested in wearing the Darth Vader mask, and surgery really is a last case scenario.  That left losing weight, something that would have a positive effect on a few of my ever-growing health concerns.

That was 2 years ago.  I think I’m probably exactly the same weight now as I was then.  Which probably explains why my sleep apnea is just as bad today as it was then.  So when the Dr suggested that I call the company who had done the testing 2 years ago and see about getting the CPAP device, I really didn’t have much to say except “OK…”

It was time to make the call…