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How long before you notice improvements?

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How long before you notice improvements?

Postby MsSpeech » Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:30 am

:shock: I have had my sleep study and was diagnosed with significant severe obstructive sleep apnea with oxygen saturation down to 74% at one point. I only had Stage One and Stage Two sleep, with 160 apneas and hypopneas for an AHI of 47.5. (What does AHI mean?) At the sleep study, because I didn't get enough sleep by 1 am, they were not able to use the CPAP machine to trial a pressure setting, so I am using one at home for a month to get a titration level. I had no stage 3 or REM sleep during my 3.4 hours of sleep the whole night.

I just would like to know if anyone has any idea how long you can expect to use the CPAP before you start noticing improvement in the daytime? I am using it about 5 -6 hours a night now after getting the machine on Friday.
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Postby pseudonym » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:32 pm

Hello MsSpeech and Welcome!

AHI = Apnea Hypopnea Index. The average number of obstructive events per hour. Hypopneas are less strong obstructions where you may not stop breathing but your airway is partially closed off making breathing labored. There are specific definitions for apnea and hypopnea, and these vary a bit between doctors and even between CPAP machines that have data recording. So my description is just a general one.

How long until you feel better? I think most everyone asks that question but unfortunately that is highly individual. Is OSA the only cause of your not feeling rested from sleep or not getting enough sleep? Maybe, maybe not. Your OSA may be masking other causes. Regardless, it is very important to treat the OSA because of the damage it causes to your body every single night, and to remove OSA from the equation so any other causes that may be present, can be diagnosed and treated.

A good attitude toward therapy and patience are your best friends here :-) Use the CPAP whether you feel better, or not, because it is treatment for OSA and protects your health. Then give it time and work with your doctor if you're not feeling more rested after several months. Your doctor will probably want to follow up after a month of CPAP and see what is happening for you.

Wish I could give you a pat answer, but everyone is so different. Let CPAP take care of your health, and the rest will follow. :-)

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Postby Linda » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:23 pm

Hi MsSpeech,

I'm guessing they gave you an auto cpap machine, which adjusts pressures to suit your needs, within a range of pressures. They want to see what pressure works to eliminate your apnea. Do you know if they're going to do an overnight titration study at a sleep study center, or just the home titration method?

Your sleep apnea is in the severe range. Pseudonym dod a great job explaining it. Severity is based on your AHI. Mild is 5-15 per hour; moderate is 15-30; severe is 30 or more per hour. So yours is clearly severe. But severity is a little more complicated than that. How you feel, your symptoms, your oxygen levels, and how long you stop breathing are factors too.

You didn't mention a mask. What kind do you have and is it working ok for you? And if it is one that is nose-only (meaning covers nose or are nasal pillows at the nostrils), are you mouth breathing while sleeping much? These are things to consider. Hopefully soon, you'll be given a chance to see and maybe try different masks. The mask setup is important to how comfortable you can be with using cpap, as you are probably noticing now. Are you going back for a followup visit with the doctor soon? I hope so. They will probably read the card of the machine to see how you've been doing. Then they can do some adjustments as necessary.

And as Pseudonym said, there's no precise answer to how long before you notice improvements. But after you are titrated correctly and any issues of masks are ironed out, then you will have a better chance to see how things progress. Some people feel improvements right away, many take longer. Some see gradual improvements, others go along and suddenly notice improvements. There's no easy answer. But improvements won't happen unless all is working properly, so hopefully things will work out soon.

Anyhow, good luck. Keep us posted how things go.

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Postby Mrs Rip Van Winkle » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:58 pm

Hi MsSpeech, pseudonym and Linda covered your questions well. I wanted to add to them a liitle bit on the feeling better part. As pseudonym mentioned, ASA may be masking other problems. My SA was masking other issues however, I did see an improvement using my CPAP. Treating my SA has helped me iron out many of my other problems because it takes care of my apnea & hypopnea events. Once I started CPAP and was 100% compliant in using it I had another study done to confirm the treatment was working. You need to use the CPAP when every you sleep. naps and full night. Using it for a partial night (if you are) and then sleeping with out it makes you go 2 steps forward and 3 steps back.

Some people don't seem to feel a difference..yet others see a big difference. No matter which, the treatment is helping. It may be subtle but over time, when you look back you will be able to tell. Here are a few things that I can think of: Not getting aggrevated over something petty in traffic, with a family member or at the store, being a little more awake, waking with less of a headache, eyes focus better, completeing a task quicker than normal, putting your thoughts together easier, cracking a smile more than normal, maybe losing a couple of pounds without trying...or with me...feeling like eating again and gaining a few pounds! Shhhhh.

You will find this forum very useful. You may not have a question but you may be able to compare your experience with someone else. You may hear a question that you did not think of which prompts you to look it up and to read others talking on the same subject. Or, you may just pop in on a thread to say "that a girl" or.."I feel for ya guy"

Best of Luck and please keep us all posted!
Mrs Rip Van Winkle

very helpful and more ??

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:29 pm

=D> Thanks for you quick replies. As far as I know they are just going to use the card in the machine, download the information and send it to the doc for a pressure setting.
Thanks for the support-I just got the machine on Friday, and the person that taught me how to use it told me not to worry if I wasn't wearing it all night right away-to get used to it during short naps, and wear it at night as long as I could. I have been waking up at about 5 am, and can't get back to sleep unless I take it off. I have only used the machine for daytime short naps and Friday night and Saturday night since I just got it.

I don't think I will be going back in for another study as far as I know. I don't even know if my insurance will pay for a second one, it was $3000. for the first one, and they could never try the machine out on me because I didn't have enough sleep before 1 am.

Right now I have the nose mask and I am not now breathing through my mouth. My hubbie told me when I was sleeping yesterday I didn't make any noises, snorts, gasps, or snores at all. The CPAP tech told me that a lot of people have success with training themselves to keep their mouth closed because you have to. I only got up once last night to go to the bathroom-usually I get up 4 to 6 times-so that already is a plus. I can't remember having dreams for years now-maybe two in the last 5 years.

During my sleep study my longest pause in breathing was 38 seconds. The only other medical things I have is reflux -(had it for 32 years since I was pregant and puked a lot.), and the last several months anxiety and depression. I also think I am extra fatigued because of the medication for that, because I really didn't notice excess fatigue until starting on the paxil. I have had a headache almost everyday almost my whole life. I also take medication for seasonal allergies and nasal congestion, with several sinus infections a year, and bronchitis a few times a year. I work with little kids and the last 5 years have been catching everything they bring to me, where before I hardly ever got sick.

I am turning 58 years old on Tuesday, and I am excited about doing this for my health. Three years ago I had lost 55 pounds , was riding bike, swimming and exercising daily, watching what I ate, and felt full of energy and great. Now I have gained 30 of those pounds back, never exercise, and all I want to do is sleep whenever I get the chance.

It is nice to have some people that know what I am talking about and believe that this is a medical problem.

Postby shari » Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:28 pm

To Linda, Guest, and others who wrote so beautifully!

This is my very first contact on a Sleep Apnea chat line. I was diagnosed a few weeks ago and started my CPAP last Thursday. I do believe it will be wonderful, but it is a challenge getting to sleep and sleeping with it. I do feel better in the morning and get up not at all in the night anymore, when I was getting up 2 to 3 times before treatment. I'm curious about how long it takes to actually make a difference in one's energy level. The couch and I are still reallllyyyy good friends! I made an effort not to take a nap over the weekend to ensure I could get to sleep at nighttime, but as of yet I do not feel like spending the day at the mall or working on a scrapbook or or or....

I'd be curious to know how long it takes to feel better.
Thanks so much,
Shari in CA
p.s. Thanks, Linda, for telling me about this link. I read the posts of others asking this same question and it was very encouraging and informative. Will continue to check here in the future. Blessings to y'all!
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Postby shari » Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:31 pm

p.s. In reading about Guest losing the 55 lb then gaining it, having exercised and then stopping, having sinus problems, etc., it all sounds soooo familiar!! I have put on probably 45 lbs in the last 2-3 years, can't keep with an exercise program more than two weeks, and have always snored (55 y/o). Can't wait to see what this will do, if I can go back to Jazzercise or even just walk around the block. The most amazing thing my respiratory therapist told me during instructions for CPAP was that OSA is so insidious that you think this is just what it feels like to get old. I was ready for the grave!!! Not anymore...
have a nice evening everyone.
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Postby Mrs Rip Van Winkle » Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:04 pm

The way I explain the "when do I start feeling better part" I compare it to flying from a hot climate to a cold one...my example is Sounthern Florida to Northern Maine ....You are stifling from the heat and the humidity when you get on the plane and when you get off, it is a breath of fresh air. For some CPAP feels like this right away. For others the comparison would be that instead of flying you drove the 3 days...you gradually get use to the change and do not feel the difference except you notice you are not sweating and can breath a little better. Now that is IMO.

It is good to get use to using your CPAP during naps and watching TV however, the benefit will be seen more when you can use it all the time. What happens when you are not using it is that you have apneas and hypopneas, your O2 level is decreased and you start the vicious cycle all over again.

As for the energy level...hard to do but pusihing yourself to go for a walk or a swim will refresh you and help increase your stamina again. The cooler weather is upon most of you which, for me gives energy...unfortunately I am in Florida and waiting for the day the temp drops. We are having a "cold front"...that means the temps are now in the high 80's to low 90's and the humidity has lowered to 55%...far cry from the cold fronts I grew up with!

I do suggest having your B12 checked and increasing it if the Dr OK's it. If it is below 500 I would ask if any harm can be done by taking supplements. Fatigue and stress can eat up your B12. Also if you are in a northern climate...and indoors alot, check the Vitamin D. Many of us with SA were misdiagnosed as being depressed. A large percentage of us are not depressed, it is the SA that is doing it to us. Talk to your Dr about depression meds, they cause fatigue along with the allergy and sinus meds.

Shari, make sure you transfer the CPAP to your couch with you...it wants to be a best friend too. I need to put mine on wheels!

BTW...I am 48, female, BMI under 30, started complaining to the Dr about fatigue in 1984. Cpap for 3 1/2 years, 100% compliant, have Primary CNS Hypersomnia with cognitive and automatic behavior issues, Fybromyalgia (causes fatigue too) 6 herniated discs between my C-spine and my L-spine with nerve damage (mostly cervical damage). 2 discs pressing into the dura of my spinal column causing a plethera of problems, sciatica, COPD and the list goes on. On minimal meds due to them causing the fatigue and I research daily to help my fatigue. (can't do one task very long) Thought I would share ;>)
Mrs Rip Van Winkle

Postby Guest » Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:25 pm

Dear Guest,

Thanks so much for writing! You've certainly got your hands full. Makes me wonder if my depression (treatment for many years) is from OSA or clinical as we had suspected. This is all so interesting. I'm grateful for the weather change we feel today in San Diego. I have a friend who lives in Pensacola, and I don't believe I could ever live there - whoa, it's hot!

Do you use your CPAP while you are reading? Or just when sleeping and napping? About the napping, I thought I would try to curtail all napping to increase my ability to fall asleep at night as I felt the napping was a result of the OSA. Do you all still nap? I will move it with me down here then if I feel the need for a nap.

When I remember, I take Estroven Extra Strength for B's and for a menopausal herb in it to help with hot flashes, etc. I will try to be more regular with this. I was afraid you were gonna say that about getting out and increasing my stamina - hahahahahaha! I'll give myself a few more days or til next week and then try. I feel a bit of pressure in my chest right now, and I have this fear that I've taxed my heart with this OSA thing; makes me kind of fearful, if you know what I mean. My girlfriend here tells me I need to get this checked, but it just doesn't seem that painful; just fearfully annoying... however, i will keep it in my mind that i need to do something about building my strength back.

Well, thank you again. Hope you are feeling well and that you get a great night's sleep tonight!

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