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So, my dh *does have sleep apnea. Any advice or insight?


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Dh went for his sleep study. Much to his pulmonary dr's surprise, he does have rather severe sleep apnea. His pulmonary dr. didn't think the test would show that; I guess because dh is young, not terribly overweight, and was handling the side effects better than many do.

 

But, the sleep study showed that dh stopped breathing for more than 10 seconds over 100 times in 7 hours. :001_huh: Which is disturbing his REM sleep, among other things.

 

So, dh goes tomorrow for his cpap tritration test. Basically, from what I understand, they will fit him with an oxygen breathing machine. This should, hopefully, improve the quality of his sleep, thereby relieving the severe symptoms he's been having (confusion, extreme exhaustion, lack of concentration, etc).

 

We're pretty relieved to finally find out what's wrong with dh, and to have a course of treatment. We're hopeful that the breathing machine will improve his quality of sleep, and his quality of life. I miss my dh being the way he 'used' to be, and he misses it, too.

 

So my questions are more along the lines of 'how can we *cure his sleep apnea', instead of just 'how can we *treat it'.

 

I can't go with dh to dr's appts; he doesn't want me there because we'd have to find a sitter for the little boys, and I think the whole idea of me coming stresses him more, to be honest. So I can't ask his doc. directly. So really, I'm left to my own research; which of course, starts with the hive. :D

 

Anyone have any experiece with sleep apnea? I asked dh last night 'So, will you have to have this machine FOREVER?' and his answer was 'possibly'. Something just doesn't sit right with me. I want him CURED, not TREATED. Does this make sense? Is there a cure? Dh said one option would be surgery to remove, and I quote here 'my tonsils and the dangly thingy from the back of my throat'. Can't see dh opting for surgery over the machine, so I'm doubting that one. He also said there's some sort of surgery they can do to reconstruct his jaw. It appears dh's dr believes his sleep apnea is caused by the physical structure of dh's throat. If that's the case, logically I guess the only way to *cure it would be surgery.

 

Ugh. I guess I'm looking for suggestions, commiseration, or just btdt. I mean, we're glad to know what's the matter, but now I want to *fix it, ya know?

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Check into soft palate stiffening. Injection snoroplasty, I think it's called. Here's more info:

 

Somnoplasty has basically the same outcome, removal of extra tissue, as LAUP, but radio frequency reduction methods are used instead of lasers. The tissue is burned away, by high radio frequencies, then the body absorbs to dead tissue over time. This procedure can be done several times until the desired outcome has been achieved or no more tissue can be safely removed. Patients report this method is less painful than LAUP.

 

Other soft palate revisions used for sleep apnea are the palate stiffening procedures. Some of these surgeries involve creating scar tissue that will function as rigid splints. Another stiffening surgery uses implants to create firmness of the soft palate which should keep it from collapsing during sleep. The implants are synthetic fibers that are placed midline to, and parallel to the midline of, the soft palate.

 

Three implant are inserted with a hollow needle under a local anesthesia. They can be removed with relative ease if necessary.

 

Soft palate revisions used for treatment of sleep apnea are minor surgeries and are mostly effective. In cases where they haven't been successful in alleviating sleep apnea symptoms, it has been either because there have been other causes along with the oversized soft palate or the soft palate hasn't been the reason for the obstruction.

 

Oh, and if he's even a little overweight, have him lose it.

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Oh, and if he's even a little overweight, have him lose it.

 

Um yeah, about that...

 

I did some googling after I posted here. Looks like this is the first line of defense. He's not obese, but he is overweight. His ideal weight is about fourty pounds less than what he is now.

 

Maybe I need to start a thread about 'how to get your dh to lose weight'. I have no idea how to do that. I guess it's just that *he needs to want to lose it, not just that *I want him to lose it.

 

I've lost 55 pounds this year. I cook much healthier than ever before, and I pay attention to portions, etc. I prepare all his meals, which includes packing his lunch and breakfast for him to take to work. And if he just ate what I packed/prepared him, he'd be fine. But he doesn't. He eats fast food or pizza that they order at work, or get whatever he wants when he's out. Ugh. Not sure how to help that. :glare:

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Sometimes you just can't fix it. You just get used to the CPAP. That's not a bad thing.

 

I've been using my CPAP for almost 3 years now. Even though my apnea was mild, the CPAP has been a life-changing "friend." It will be ok. Really.

 

 

Thanks Ellie.

 

I guess I'm just a bit freaked out about the idea of him being dependant on a machine for the rest of his life, you know? I mean, I realize it's not as bad as cancer, or a million other things. It's just, I don't know, hard right now.

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I would definitely try CPAP before having surgery. Sleep apnea isn't necessarily curable, although losing weight can sometimes help. Not always though, there are thin people with sleep apnea.

 

The forums at Apnea Support are great. You will get loads of info on CPAP, surgeries, and general sleep apnea info there.

 

I'm waiting for my CPAP titration appointment with much impatience. I can't take the headaches and extreme fatigue much longer, plus DH's complaining about my snoring.

 

Glad your DH got diagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea is dangerous.

Michelle T

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I had read somewhere that both stress and being overweight contribute to apnea. Is he under stress at work (sometimes they don't realize it consciously), perhaps with long hours or difficult co-workers? Maybe evening walks with him, or morning jogs, or weight training might help. Just some things to consider.

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Glad your DH got diagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea is dangerous.

Michelle T

 

Thanks Michelle. We're glad, too. Dh has been struggling for quite some time. His boss has sleep apnea, too, and was told that it was having bad effects on his heart. However, his boss is an overwieght, 70 year old smoker, so it's a bit different. But I'm glad dh was diagnosed in time to prevent any long term damage to his health. Not to mention, we're hoping just to improve the quality of his everyday life.

 

Our family dr, in the course of all the tests when we were originally trying to figure out what was going on with dh, suggested that maybe he had depression. Dh said 'I'm not SAD, I just don't have the ENERGY to do anything!'. It's been frustrating, to say the least.

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I had read somewhere that both stress and being overweight contribute to apnea. Is he under stress at work (sometimes they don't realize it consciously), perhaps with long hours or difficult co-workers? Maybe evening walks with him, or morning jogs, or weight training might help. Just some things to consider.

 

Well, I know he hates his job environment. He likes what he does, but not where/who he does it for. So yeah, lots of stress there. We've been brainstorming what we can do. It's difficult; his job provides us with a good enough income for me to stay home, and good insurance, which is what we both want. But we both *also want dh to be happy with what he does every day. Add in the current economy, and it's a hard situation. Neither he or I want me to go back to work, and we're willing to live on less. I don't care if we live in a shack, so long as my family is healthy, has food and clothing, and most of all is happy and serving the Lord.

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I am a long time Cpap user.........over 15 years now. REally, sometimes there is just something wrong in your throat. I believe there has been soemthing wrong about my whole life. I have always snored, even as a child. I have never slept on my back because I would wake up choking.

I have heard recently that having your tonsils out quite young is now thought to contribute to sleep apnea..I had mine out at age 5.

 

Yes, loosing weight does help, but it might not cure it. I was at my medical supply store this week getting a new machine and the guy ahead of me was reed thin, tall, young.....and a cpap user.

 

Having said all that, I agree with Ellie..it will be okay. I call mine Snuffy, short for Snuffleupagus. Now that I have a new one, do I call him Snuffy2?

It is NOT oxygen, just air. You will not have oxygen machines sitting in your bedroom, just a small machine with a hose hooked up to it. Explore options if there are any, if not, be positive and supportive. It takes time to get used to using one and he will need you to be there for him.

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My Dh had TERRIBLE sleep apnea that was 'life threatening'. Before we had him tested he was miserable, suffered from brain fog and just a GRUMP. When I noticed that his breating actually STOPPED during the night I insisted that he get a sleep study done.

 

DH tried the CPAP machine--but was miserable with it--(I think it is because the way his face is shaped).

 

DH's ENT suggested the surgery. The surgery went well--BUT DH was MISERABLE and totally out of it for 3 weeks. He said it was the most painful 3 weeks of his life!

 

The snoring stopped--and so did the apnea--for a few years. 8 years later the snoring has returned with a vengence and DH is falling asleep in his chair DURING CONVERSATIONS after dinner. His job is not really stressful at this time--but his breathing habits at night have changed again for the worse!

 

Oldest dd needed surgery to correct a jaw problems (lower jaw did not develop fully). She snored and had apnea before her surgery and NONE since. Her head was so swollen after surgery that you could see her cheeks FROM BEHIND for about 2 weeks--but she was NOT in any pain. Her food choice was limited for about a week then she could eat anything she wanted---they don't usually need to wire the jaws shut like they once did--dd had titanium screws inserted to hold the bones in place while they healed. DD now looks and feels so much better! Before the surgery her tongue blocked off more than 3/4 of her AIRWAY when she slept on her back!!!!

 

Dd's oral sergeon took one look at DH and told him that he would probably benifit from that same surgery (not knowing that DH chose the other procedure)... DH admitted that his oral sergeon (when he was a kid in braces) begged him to have the jaw surgery--but DH chickened out.

 

If Dh's sleep apnea comes back he MAY decide on the second surgery===or not... He is going to try some specialized mouth pieces that supposedly hold the bottom jaw out so his toungue does not block off the air way first.

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But I am not willing to have my DH do the surgery. My Dad did it and still had sleep apnea. He never did get used to the machine and he tried a number of them - at least six or seven different machines. I wish he had really understood how important it was when he was younger and had gotten used to it at 45 instead of having a million excuses and justifications for not doing so. He is so demented now that he doesn't always recognize me when I visit with him, and I know that the sleep apnea was a contributing (though not the only) factor. An oxygen deprived brain is an injured brain.

 

If you find something that will really truly "cure" this, then that would be so awesome. But if you can't, push the machine!

 

ETA that my DH only stops breathing when he's on his back, so with modifications that prevent sleeping on his back, he doesn't need the machine. He is also normal weight and very healthy. He works out regularly and always has, doesn't drink too much, and while he has a stressful job, he's not a "stressed out" kind of person. He deals with it very well. So I don't think that for him, lifestyle was a major factor. For my father, it probably was, though he's not over-weight either.

Edited by Danestress
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Here's a post I wrote when I was soooo relieved that dh's sleep apnea was being treated with the cpap. I'm linking it so I don't have to re-type it.

 

I do understand about wanting to cure it. Since he is 40lbs overweight, that's where you start. If he really were in his proper weight, then you could look further, but (as you've probably already surmised) it would be ridiculous to have actual surgery if the root of the problem is the weight.

 

If you read my original post, you'll see that the cpap machine has made all the difference in our lives. It has been such a relief, him having that machine. The first night he used it, there was NO snoring. It took about 2 weeks before he really started feeling better. And it's been a number of months now, and he's improved amazingly.

 

The only issue now is that every now and then I can't help but blurt out "Up your nose with a rubber hose!" when he puts it on. (Remember John Travolta's character in Welcome back, Kotter??--he used to say that.) I just can't seem to stop myself.

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