Your Questions About Sleep Apnea Solutions

Sleep Apnea

Daniel asks…

Can anyone recommend treatments of sleep apnea?

I live in Seattle. My sleep doctor has prescribed a Bi-PAP and I use it, but he will not do his job. He knows it isn’t producing good results. He mentions no “out-of-network” providers or alternatives. He doesn’t address all the problems I’m having. I have increased the pressure settings, with his knowledge, and am getting a second opinion from Virginia Mason Sleep Clinic. Apria, as a DME, is unacceptable. Numerous machines they provided, all Respironics, have broken. I dug up Lincare, on my own and went to their Seattle office last week. They fixed my mask, told me of other products I had learned of in the past few weeks on my own -without my asking. The bulk of my info on apnea and its treatment has come from newsgroups and sites dedicated to sleep disorders. I use a saline solution daily. Does ANYONE have ANY ideas or know of any other providers, DMEs, etc who can help? Please excuse the shouting & please help.

ModHealth answers:

Lincare is one of the national-based DME’s, but you can really use anyone. In my opinion the best DME’s are sleep labs that do both. The technicians are much more educated and helpful with the units and the mask fittings than businesses that just provide the equipment. Mostly because they actually use the equipment and we see how the masks and units work on a nightly basis. DME’s that are not sleep-lab-based are not going to be as knowledgable. Respironics have been great units in the lab but Resmed units that are just as great. You may have gotten units that are refurbished or used. There is another unit out there now called Adaptive Servo Ventilation but you have to fail bipap and have complex or central sleep apnea to qualify for one. But they are spectacular units and not all sleep labs are using them yet. Most sleep labs are great at working with both you and your insurance company when it comes to equipment. I would seek a better lab and possibly a different Board Certified sleep physician. Good luck.

Ken asks…

I have sleep apnea. What is the best solution to this problem? I’m tired of this machine.

ModHealth answers:

If your sleep apnea is genetic and not weight associated there not much you can do about it. If it is weight associated, not sleeping will only make your weight issue worse as you seek other ways of getting energy (food). There are a few things you can do, but going without the machine can cause heart problems. Here are a few tips:

  • If the air is irritating your nose ask for a warm air humidifier. This will add moisture and heat the air a bit making it more comfortable
  • Try changing masks. There a different kinds, you just need to find what is comfortable for you
  • It usually takes about a month or two to get use to the machine, so please be patient

Mark asks…

Sleep Apnea: My father is staying over and forgot his nosepiece. Any good temporary solutions?

He uses a CPAP and forgot to pack the nasal pillow. He’s propped up on 3 pillows and sleeping sitting up, but I want to find something for him.

ModHealth answers:

Call a DME company and buy one. It is good to have a back up mask/nose piece for just an occassion like this and also in case of breakage. For future reference, you can buy them online rather cheaply as compared to your home care. However, most insurance companies will replace a mask every 3-6 months.

Donna asks…

What are some solutions to help with sleep apnea?

ModHealth answers:

The only actual MEDICAL solution is to wear a CPAP device when sleeping, and if that doesn’t help to have surgery to open the pharyngeal airways. I’m all for natural approaches when possible, so you could try chiropractic care (the most beneficial of the natural approaches), homeopathy, or even acupuncture if you would like to try the natural route first. Before an actual medical regimen is prescribed, though, a pulmonologist will want to perform a sleep study on you to check the severity of the condition.

Donald asks…

Sleep Apnea Sufferers: What has been your experience with CPAP?

I’ve had treatments for depression for about 3 years now. None of the depression treatments such as medication and ECT helped. I recently suspected sleep apnea and went for an overnight sleep study. They confirmed that I was experiencing sleep apnea, and I had a partial night’s rest using the CPAP machine at the testing location, but it wasn’t a full night’s rest using it.

The test was last weekend, and they said it would be 7-10 days for a doctor to analyze the data and get back to me. I won’t know how severe my sleep apnea is until I hear from the doc…I was wondering if anyone would like to share their sleep apnea problems and solutions, and how well they did (or didn’t) work. I’m especially interested in anyone’s story involving depression, either due to or made worse by sleep apnea.

I’m not terribly overweight, 6ft 1in and 220 lbs, but the doc said I have a very narrow throat, and my severe allergies and sinus problems play a role. I appreciate anyone’s storys!

ModHealth answers:

A response from a reader:

I am 36 yoa, 6’2″, and weigh 250#, I have a 21″ neck and have been diagnosed as having sleep apnea. I was put on a CPAP machine and I could not get used to the machine. I got tangled up in the hose all the time, not to mention that it dried my sinuses to the point of constant nighttime nosebleeds, even with a passive humidifier. I found once I started an exercise regimin that included eating healthier and weightlifting along with cardio exercise that I was able to relax and sleep better. I still have relapses, my wife notices that I do it most when I have a stressful day at work ( I am a law enforcement officer) You should try the machine and make the determination for yourself. There is also a surgical procedure where they “roto rooter” your sinuses to open the passages up. I don’t know about that. I do know that when you find out what works you will feel the difference in your quality of sleep. Good Luck!

Chris asks…

Are There any Solutions to Sleep Apnea?

I have had a sleep study and know that I have sleep apnea, I have tried a c pap machine and didn’t like it. Are there any other solutions to my problem?

ModHealth answers:

You need to give yourself plenty of time to get used to the CPAP machine. But you could also try the breath-right nasal strips and put some Vick’s Vapo Rub under your nose. There are pillows that are made for people with sleep apnea. You can also try to sleep almost upright, and make sure the pillows are placed where you can’t roll over on your back.

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    • jo
    • May 28, 2011

    Please tell me why I only get sleep apnea when I exercise? I thought exercise is supposed to be a treatment? Does it have something to do with the oxygen levels in the blood?

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