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Not Buying My Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

(Calgary, AB)

Can one have an apnea diagnosis that is a false positive? Male, 50-some, 20 min's cardio per day >5 days a week, play hockey on weekends, 6'4", 212lbs, bmi 25.5

Diagnosis from RT shop, but I felt no improvement after two month cpap rental trial. Not logical to spend $3K on that.
What else could it be?

NBTD in Alberta.

Kevin: Hi NBTD, Thanks for writing in. While obesity is a strong risk factor for sleep apnea, it is by no means required. I have met people with sleep apnea from petite young women to chiseled middle-aged men. My uncle in fact, a lean construction worker in his early fifties, recently underwent UPPP surgery to correct his apneas. Fat tissue around the neck increases the likelihood that your airway can get obstructed, but there are plenty of other ways your pipes can get sucked shut repeatedly through the night.

On the subject of your diagnosis, were you able to obtain a copy of your results? How many apneas did the test results suggest you have (ask or look for the AHI, or apnea/hypopnea index, which tells you how many episodes you had per hour)? Can you get yourself recorded during the night so that you can see the apneas yourself? If you can, you may be able to know more conclusively yourself whether you have obstructive sleep apnea, and you'll either feel more compelled to take action against it or be better prepared to seek other answers.

If you conclude that you do, perhaps it is the treatment type that is not presently effective for you rather than the diagnosis. CPAP is known as the most effective treatment for sleep apnea, but only if the machine is calibrated correctly to your own circumstance. The airway pressure it creates has to be the right amount in order to keep your airway open continuously. So perhaps you would benefit from having your machine adjusted after telling your doctor you are not seeing results from the current calibration. If that does not work, there are other effective treatments for sleep apnea, but most of them do involve surgery.

However, if after checking your test results and/or recording yourself during the night you find you do not have sleep apnea, then at least you can provide that information to your doctor (or to a new doctor for a fresh perspective) and get back to the drawing board to address your issue. Is it excessive daytime sleepiness that you are experiencing? Are there any other symptoms?


(Please keep in mind that I am a student of sleep science and not a medical doctor. Please take any thoughts I give with my background in mind.)

Comments for Not Buying My Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

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Feb 22, 2013
suggestion NEW
by: Lynn

I am a Canadian and so understand the system here. My husband was diagnosed at a sleep center (private). Although he certainly has sleep apnea, his impression was that they just wanted to sell him the machine and customer service after that wasn't strong. He then went through the system and had a test at a sleep clinic in the hospital, which he felt a lot better about. If you go through the system, there is certainly a waiting list, but it is worth it to get an opinion from those without a vested interest. I got my machine through a Respiratory Clinic and customer service was very strong. They worked with me until I was using the mask for at least 4.5 hours a night. It has to be that much or there is little benefit. Other centers may be better, you could ask them how long they will follow you as well as if they will let you try different masks etc. Some centers seem to discourage the use of a full face mask which is really better for some people. Finally, here in Quebec, the machines are less than $2000.00. I can't understand why they are so expensive in Alberta. Perhaps the center you tried has inflated their prices? To be treated for sleep apnea properly is worth it, so I hope you don't give up.
Good luck

Sep 15, 2016
$2-$3 Grand for Sleep Apnea Machine!!?? NEW
by: KeeperoftheFlame

8/2016 Just bought a really good one with bluetooth, humidifier and heated tube through for $800. A mask would have cost me another $100 or so. Note that they cannot sell to you without a prescription but they got one from my doctor, who I listed during the ordering process. Check CPAP forums for swapping or buying used ones.

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