It really gives me a chuckle when I read or hear a description of the three types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea – doctors do not have a clue as to what this means other than in their minds they think their patient is just a fatty and all its associations. If you have sleep apnea the central nervous system has to be involved. Certainly being obese will make the problem worse, but the origin of breath is from our automatic response to live as controlled by the nervous systems. Apnea during sleep means that you stop breathing long enough to cause a drop in the amount of oxygen in your blood to a level that is too low to sustain the body functions.
When you sleep, the body functions slow down. By design, carbon dioxide builds up in your blood. Yes, that is the same stuff that your government wants to regulate to prevent ‘global warming’. Stop breathing, you are heating the planet up – you dirty polluter. Sorry, did not mean to get side tracked. As your body relaxes, breath rate slows and the amount of blood oxygen saturation drops. This saturation is measured from complete saturation of one hundred percent. When awake this level of saturation is typically above ninety eight percent. When you sleep, it is normal for the saturation to drop into the low nineties or ninety-one to ninety-three percent. When the level drops below seventy percent, organ death begins to occur.
During an apnea event, the body begins to arouse because of the need for more oxygen. It automatically causes your heart to start beating faster because the demand for oxygen has increased throughout the body. This event is very similar to when you exert yourself and the demand from oxygen causes your heart rate to increase. You may awake to find yourself gasping for breath and your heart is racing. The body’s oxygen requirement gets satisfied and you relax again.
So how do you know if you have sleep apnea or if it has gotten better? There are many levels of sleep disturbance. Apnea is distinguished from the rest of the disorders by this drop in oxygen. Do not get me wrong as I am not diminishing other sleep disorders. Restful sleep is extremely important to allow our bodies to repair. To determine if you have a disorder that includes apnea, a polysomnogram or sleep study is required. This is when you are connected to monitoring that includes the various metrics of your body.
You have sleep apnea and are using a CPAP to control the amount of oxygen intake. You increase your vitamin D and magnesium to allow your body to heal. A simple method to determine if you are healing or if your blood has enough oxygen is a device called a pulse oximeter. This device fits onto your hand or arm and measures both the heart rate and oxygen saturation. Sometimes, you are asked to wear this device at home before or instead of a sleep test. It is also a good device to help you decide if you can stop wearing your CPAP.
That is exactly what I did to determine if my sleep apnea had reversed itself. I felt like I did not need the CPAP any longer, but my doctor insisted that if I stopped wearing it the issues would return. I did not want the expense or nuisance of doing a sleep study. I found a pulse oximeter and used it for three months while not wearing the CPAP. I set the alarms to wake me when my oxygen rate dropped below eighty five percent or my heart rate got above 90 or below 50. The use of this device at home should be discussed with your doctor.
In a recent review on availability, I was amazed at how easy these pulse oximeters are to obtain. Six years ago, I had to order from a medical supply and the cost was over three hundred dollars. Now these devices are available at drugs stores. They range in price from about fifty dollars to two hundred fifty. I noticed one popular brand and model was about eighty dollars at CVS to one hundred fifteen at Walmart. It had enough memory to store events for up to seventy two hours with software and cable so that the data could be transferred to a computer.
The fear of not wearing the CPAP was gone. I did not have to worry about whether my blood oxygen was dropping low enough to damage my organs. That was great relief. It was amazing as I went from dying with blood oxygen below seventy percent to no events without a CPAP. My weight had not changed, my nervous system had healed. I don’t need to know the mechanism of healing, just that I could sleep again without the CPAP. Obstructive sleep apnea – indeed! I love the sun! -Pandemic Survivor