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Do I really have Sleep Apnea?
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Do I really have Sleep Apnea?

OK.  I know for a fact I breathe......LOUDLY!  And that is what prompted me to go to an ENT for testing.  And my husband says I twitch in my sleep and he was worried.  So I had a pillar treatment done to help snoring and my doc suggested a sleep test to see when/why/how I do the twitching thing.  The pillar reduced my snoring by about 50%.  Then I took a Sleep Apnea test, and sure enough they said I have it and gave me a CPAP. My CPAP is at a level 13 which I am told is high.  It is so high, I can blow leaves with it!  The doc said I had 44 episodes in one hour and a lot of twitching.  My oxygen saturation dropped 20%.  On a scale of 1-10 (ten being the worse) how bad is this?  I can't sleep any better with the CPAP because it is so strong.  Also, I had a Halter/Holter? monitor for part of my 50-year old heart check up on for two-days.  Those two days I did not use my CPAP.  My results came back just fine.  If I have 44 espisodes an hour, how does that not affect my heart?  I am 50 years old, have always had serious sleep problems, have always 'breathed loudly', I am 159 lbs, though even when I was 120 lbs I had the same issues.  I am working to reduce my weight.  But really don't expect any improvement because it has always been an issue regardless of my weight.  I am out of compliance with my CPAP after giving it the supreme effort.  But it is is more disruptive with the CPAP than the original problem. Part of me doesn't believe I have apnea.  And since so many people seem to have it....it almost seems like a fad.  How low can a CPAP be set and still be effective?  How do I tell whether I actually have it or if I have something else?  Thanks for your opinion.    
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It's really not possible to rate your sleep apnea on a scale.  You can have mild apnea but a high pressure -- the pressure of 13 doesn't correlate with the severity of your apnea.  For example, I had 104 events in an hour, which is severe obstructive sleep apnea, yet my pressure is 7.  I believe anything over 35 events per hour is considered severe.

Honestly it sounds like you don't want to use the CPAP and are looking for reasons not to.  I understand this, the CPAP is a pain in the hinder.  But sleep apnea isn't a fad, it's simply something that is now being diagnosed and recognized more than it used to be.  

As far as the heart monitor, I know that my heart was monitored during my sleep tests and they never found anything the wrong with my heart, fortunately.  Your heart rate and performance doesn't necessarily correlate with apnea/hypopnea episodes.

You ask how to know if you really have it?  Well, if a sleep doctor, pulmonologist, your GP or a sleep technician read your sleep test results and said you have it, then you do.  

Sleep apnea can cause enough sleepiness that you fall asleep at the wheel.  Your mental ability can/will be affected, as will your mood and libido.  It raises your blood pressure, causes heart problems, and increases your chance of stroke.  Denying your body and your organs oxygen can cause long-term effects.

I really recommend finding a support group online or in your town for people with sleep issues and/or sleep apnea.  You'll find a lot of people struggle with the mask, with the machine, and with the idea that they stop breathing during the night.
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