Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sleep apnea for fun and profit

Ok, it's neither fun nor profitable (discuss!) but I was diagnosed with sleep apnea this week. That's what's been occupying my time and my mind, which has been obsessing over the whole thing and scaring myself s***less by doing PubMed searches and reading many journal articles stating, well, how deadly this condition can be (but only if left untreated). Sleep apnea is one of those diagnoses that can explain a whole lot of other health problems, including behavioral problems, such as the fact that I've never been able to get out of bed on time in the morning, which means I either have to rush around like a madwoman in the morning or I am late, and sometimes both.

I feel like a cornucopia of health problems recently.

Anyway, sleep apnea, for those who don't know, means that you stop breathing during the night. It is diagnosed through a sleep study, where you go to a sleep center such as the one on Lexington Avenue and get yourself hooked up to a bunch of electrodes which record brain, heart, and breathing activity while someone watches you on a monitor. At first I thought "how am I going to sleep like this?" Then I immediately conked out because, hey, I have a sleep disorder. I've been a little tired!

At my worst, I had periods of not breathing 48 times per hour, for at least 10 seconds each time. Doesn't that sound scary??? Between the time of my sleep study and seeing my neurologist, I was afraid to sleep. I thought it would be better to sleep less and breathe more. In some ways, it was.

Now I have a handy-dandy APAP machine (adjustable positive airway pressure; like a CPAP but adjustable rather than constant) and a sexy mask to go with it. Here's the headgear I'm now sporting at night:

Isn't that just delightful? And believe me, it was the best of all the options. But I didn't choose it only for its smashing good looks; it also happened to fit me the best.

I'm glad I've found out about this problem, but sheesh. The whole thing is a big pain.

1 comment:

Rhea said...

I had a couple of friends who figured out they had sleep apnea. It was good to know why they were tired all the time, etc.