Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Heart and Sleep Apnea

I've been diagnosed with OSA Obstructive Sleep Apnea and have been getting used to a CPAP machine. This has led me into a whole new area of health maintenance, but it connects closely with heart health.

Apnea events decrease the oxygen in the blood and increase blood pressure causing additional stress to the system. A good CPAP machine can prevent both the OSA and snoring. I'm waiting for a full face mask to replace the nostrils-only one I was originally prescribed. With the nostrils-only mask I find I breath snore and have apnea events even so. The full-mask should correct this. A chin strap did not.

I also ordered a wonderful small gadget that records oxygen levels and heart rate. Both identify apnea events at night. I can test various remedies and see how they fare. The CPAP machine can't prevent apnea events when I breath through my mouth. The O2 device shows this. I still have these events even if I am using the machine.

Snoring can be sampled and recorded on my iPhone SnoreLab, so I can check how the devices affect snoring. I can cross check the SnoreLab results with the O2 device results and also the ResMed results. This has been fun to do.

The SnoreLab inventor also recommends a mouthpiece which helps with snoring. I checked it out and bottom line it does prevent apnea events completely (in the time frame I checked) and reduces snoring but not completely. I checked the apnea events on the O2 device and the snoring on SnoreLab. Very cool.
I'll check the full face mask in this way. I'll also max out the adjustment on the mouthpiece and see if I can reduce snoring further. If I can do this, then I may not need the CPAP machine. I think a combination of "side-sleeping" (triggered by a tennis ball, for example) may work, or work for travelling.

The principle here is to cause the lower jaw to extend a quarter of an inch or so forward. This opens the airway which, kinked, causes the blockage and apnea. It may be uncomfortable to do this however, so I may be optimized already. With side sleeping that may be just fine. The key is to monitor oxygen and if the mouthpiece prevents any events, well and good - no oxygen loss.

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