Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dude, you're getting a CPAP!

On Tuesday I went to see the sleep specialist and get the results of my second sleep study. This time, the diagnosis was moderate sleep apnea.

I'm getting a CPAP!

I'm actually thrilled that they found something wrong. Unlike the first study, I feel like they got good results. I had one episode of REM sleep, and the doctor said it was unusually long. (If I remember correctly, I think it was about 90 minutes.) This was a sign that I am having trouble sleeping. It's like my body has so much trouble getting to REM sleep that once it gets there, it doesn't want to leave.

In general, my sleep was disrupted a lot. I meant to ask how normal it is to have so many "spikes" indicating that I was waking up.

In the past, I've doubted it was sleep apnea, because I didn't have classic sleep apnea symptoms. That's because I'm mostly having hypopnea, partial obstruction, rather than true apnea, where you quit breathing. It makes sense with all the weird breathing I do.

Also, I dipped just below the ideal oxygenation level, which explains why I don't have the typical morning headaches.

In a couple of weeks I go back for a another sleep study, except this time they will focus on finding a mask that fits and the right CPAP pressure. Then a few days later I will go in and talk to a sleep therapist, who will send me home with the CPAP and all the necessary instructions.

I'm actually looking forward to the CPAP for the most part. Everyone I've talked to who has used one says they feel so much better once they get used to it. It's like a miracle cure.

Of course, there are downsides.

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