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No Energy When Awakening, But Light Occasional Snoring

by Jeannette

The article says the cardinal sign of OSA is loud snoring. This is not necessarily true. I was diagnosed last year with mild to moderate OSA, but I am a light, intermittent snorer. Another sign some people have is that they stop breathing for at least 10 seconds while sleeping. (Some people may not stop breathing, but may breathe shallowly. And that will get you a diagnosis as well.)

For many years I needed 2 to 4 naps a day, and what FINALLY (!) got a doctor's attention was the fact that I woke up with no energy!!! I NEVER felt like I had any energy!

For years, I also fell asleep in upright positions--for example, at the movies, while watching tv, while reading, at the computer. One year when I did hours of driving daily, I fell asleep at stoplights! This doctor said I needed a sleep study!!!

Although I thought I was sleeping poorly--always waking up at about 4:00 am and not being able to go back to sleep for a couple of hours, plus thinking I was waking up 3, 4, maybe 5 other times per night other than that, but would go right back to sleep. WELL, finding out with the sleep study, that I was waking up 9 to 15 times per HOUR was a shock! Because of this disease, I was getting NO stage 3-4 sleep! NO WONDER I WAS SO TIRED!!! Luckily, I was able to take naps--although they did not help my energy levels. (Exercise helped my energy levels for a brief amount of time.)

Your short-term memory is also affected. And in my case, my oxygen levels would also be low almost all the time I was asleep. (However, this is NOT the case with everyone.) The cardinal sign in my case was excessive daytime sleepiness. They give you the
Epworth Sleepiness Scale to gauge your daytime sleepiness levels. It is on the internet.

This disease is SO common (about 20 to 25 percent of people have it) and it is so insidious (it sneaks up on you so slowly, and you adjust and think I'm just getting older, etc.) and puts you at much greater risk of strokes, heart disease when you are not treating it (with a CPAP or APAP machine)!!!

Even children can have this disease! Another risk factor for this disease is if you are older and overweight or obese, or if you have a small chin. However, you don't HAVE to be overweight, as there are skinny people who have this disease. Doctors often do NOT have the time to explain to their OSA patients HOW IMPORTANT treatment is. You should always use your machine when you sleep.

If you think you may have this disease, talk to your doctor about a sleep study. If you KNOW you or your partner has this disease because they stop breathing throughout the night, and you "treat" it by nudging him or her so that they will breathe, think again, and go ASAP to your doctor. They are waking up much more than they realize!!!

Treatment is so easy. I found adjustment to wearing a mask easy (contrary to the horror stories you hear.) They also have "nasal pillows" you can put in your nose if you are not a mouth breather. The machine does NOT force air into you--it just maintains a constant pressure to keep your upper airways open. It is not uncomfortable. An excellent source of information is the Sleep Apnea Forum on the internet. There are many members who have this disease who can help you!

Be sure to get a copy of your sleep study report, including charts/graphs. You will learn a lot about you!

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