In 2015 (at 30 yo) it was formally discovered that I have mild sleep apnea during a sleep study. My official (AHI) was 11.8 – At that time I was 5’8 and 185 pounds (muscular build). I was put on a Res Med Air Sense CPAP at between 9-20 variable. I used a nasal only mask. For a period of approximately 2-3 years the CPAP worked relatively well. I’d have occasional apneas still, but it helped using a CPAP compared to having nothing.
Before I was on the CPAP, I thought I was crazy.. I would have what I thought were panic attacks waking up from nightmares, high blood pressure, fluctuations in heart-rate and poor cardiovascular endurance during sports and exercise. I’ve also had awful gut issues my entire life where I swell like a pregnant person when I eat and burp a lot. Most of my life I’ve been skinny or muscular and even during those times I now realize the apnea was present as I had the same issues then that I have today. For context, in my entire life I’d say I was overweight at age 24 for a year and between the ages of 30-35 weighing in ranges between 185 – 210 pounds. During the most recent period, I took an anti -depressant and have been off of it for a year now and have lost some weight.
Although the CPAP helped, it didn’t totally make life better for me..
In 2019 I went back to my doctor to have a second sleep study done. I was 34 yo and this time my (AHI) was 12.7, which is still considered mild. At that time I weighed 196 pounds. This time the sleep tech suggested I used a full face mask and I have been using one ever since ( I don’t like it). They gave me a new machine, a Phillips Respironics Dream Station and set my at a fixed rate of 9. Being at a fixed rate has been detrimental to me because I have a narrow nose that gets plugged pretty easily and I have had much more apneas using this machine at the fixed rate of 9. UPDATE: 3/29 – I was able to find a video that showed me how to change the air flow rate and I’ve now put this machine between 10 – 20, so hopefully this helps for now until I move.
I can count on one hand how many times I have not used my CPAP since 2015 and each of those nights was an absolutely miserable experience and that is why I have stayed loyal to the CPAP.
For about a year now I’ve been feeling like this CPAP is not totally helping me. I have leaned out some, now weighing 175 pounds, have eaten a healthy diet and am highly active, yet I still have apneas at night even though I’m wearing the CPAP. My blood pressure and heart rate easily spike, I have the same gut issues I mentioned earlier and I generally feel like garbage..
I’m aware that equipment can wear out over time and there are leaks, etc. – I just feel like I need something more functional in my life, something more reliable. I feel like I can do better.
So I am here today to lean on your wisdom and ask any of you who use Mandibular Advancement Splints (Mouth Guards) or have had surgery for sleep apnea about the pros and the cons.
I am seriously considering going to the mouth guard ASAP and I am open to having surgery if it is necessary. I feel like even when I workout I can’t breathe totally right even though I focus on breathing through the nose.
Also, I am currently in the process of moving out of state, so it’s going to take me some time to get all these things done re: my sleep apnea. Does anyone have any suggestions on things I can try to have less apneas in the meantime? I was thinking of buying nasal dilators to wear for now while I use the CPAP to see if at least it helps open the airway some more. ANY IDEA HELPS!
If someone could walk me through their experiences or point me in the right direction to learn more and get help I’d deeply appreciate it.
*Edit* 3/29 – When I say surgery in the title, I was referring to tonsil/adenoid removal as a possibility, not jaw surgery.