19M. Sorry for the long one. Here is my story. This is more of a vent post than an advice post, although I still don’t know what to do treatment wise. My OSA likely has ruined my life so far. I’ve been reading into the effects of childhood OSA and they’re seriously worrying. I didn’t too much struggle in school- but during high school when I had a bad sleep pattern my results fluctuated, but overall I was never ‘bad’ but I always felt I could have been really good but I didn’t have the motivation. I suffered pretty bad from anxiety ages 13 onwards. Now i’m suffering from bad depression as well as anxiety- as well as low testosterone- which makes everything that much worse(low energy, depression etc). I don’t grow much facial hair and depsite a year of weights I didn’t build much muscle. I’m 79kg and 5’11”. My libido sucks, always has. I hit puberty about a year after most- and my puberty wasn’t crazy good like most. These are all things from OSA.
Since finding out about these issues and reading into how bad OSA during crucial growth years is- my life has taken a turn for the worst. It’s on my mind 24/7. I can’t stop thinking about it, it literally consumes me knowing my development has been stunted. I also wonder if maybe the reason it affects me so much is my brain is impacted from my OSA- which makes my ability to process this worse as my brain isn’t developed correctly. Overall I am in a really bad spot.
Basically- i’m terrified of the effects this has had on my body, brain and emotions after years of never having treatment, and I fear it has ruined my life in the long run. I will never know ‘what could have been.’
As a kid around 10-11 years old, I started to develop allergies to grass and pollen etc. I believe around this time my adenoids and tonsils became inflamed. I didn’t really have the usual symptoms of sleep apnea as a kid- but I did play video games, possibly as a way to keep me awake, and I did have some anger issues, as well as anxiety- my anger wasn’t terrible but my anxiety was quite severe. I also used to mouth breath as a child during the day when these allergies got bad but it wasn’t everyday (or so I think).
I went to an ENT at 14 and was prescribed nasal sprays. I used for a month or two and they didn’t work at all- so I was scheduled to go back. I waited for this appointment for a year, and for some reason (I believe due to the flu) I missed this appointment, and never went back. My parents never paid for me to go so I had to wait publicly- as they didn’t really believe my problem was severe- honestly I never did either. This is why I never saw an ENT again. I lived with it and moved on. Mistake.
Things started to unravel last year however when I went to my doctor with symptoms of low testosterone. My depression was really bad, I couldn’t concentrate, still have the face of a 16 year old and I just overall felt like crap. I’ve had these symptoms for years but I finally realised this isn’t normal- low and behold I had low T. Borderline low testosterone at 19 is obviously not normal, for a young man who gymmed and was a regular sportsman to have the levels of a 80 year old man rang alarm bells for me. Doctors told me it was fine, I knew it wasn’t. The thing is I could never figure out why I had it- it seemed odd. I looked into OSA and found a study where a 20 year old with OSA had low T, and his never recovered after OSA treatment due to permanent stunted hormone development. This worried me and I booked to see my doctor.
Had a sleep study, where I slept on my back 100% of the night due to the machine being on my chest- and I had a NREM AHI of 10.2 and REM AHI of 12. Although this is adult mild- this is childhood moderate-severe. I actually had less allergies and congestion during this study- I believe my AHI would have been even higher had I taken the test at say age 15. Majority of these were hypopneas, some centrals and only a few apneas. Now I’m trying nasal sprays again- but I don’t think it’s working. I believe I need the surgery for adenoids+tonsils- but with no insurance, I think it’ll be years- that’s if I even get a doctor who orders it, which is unlikely to even happen as an adult.
Honestly I believe I’ve had this for years, maybe even a decade during a crucial growth period of my life. The amount of opportunities I let pass me due to no energy, the impact on my brain and organs and the impact on my schooling, as well as the impact of poor hormone levels- which is caused by OSA and causes a whole extra level of problems with growth and development on top of OSA- are all things I think about daily. I regularly think about just giving up on life- that’s how bad I feel. I don’t see the light at the end. Even if I fix my OSA- so what? My hormones won’t ever recover, my development is likely damaged and will never recover and i’m likely never to get the career I want as I didn’t have the drive to pursue it when I could- I didn’t do well enough at school for that. My quality of life will be forever impacted.
It is crushing to know this could have caused me so many issues and I wish I could go back in time and fix it years ago.
As a results of my lack of common symptoms as well as issues such as family divorce and the complications that come with that- I never really looked properly into it- and I regret that so heavily now. I’m now going to need to rely on injections to fix my hormones, and surgery or a CPAP (that I can’t really afford) to breathe at night.
If you’re a young person on here who believes you may have OSA- please go get a sleep study- don’t do what I did. I wouldn’t wish this stress on anyone. I feel so bad right now. Don’t mess around with things like this. Mild sleep apnea is not something to mess around with at a young age (even though mine was likely moderate or even severe during worst period of OSA, and is only ‘mild’ now) This has caused me more problems than I even know about which i’ll likely discover later in life. Don’t make this mistake. End of my story/rant- just need to get off my chest, I don’t really have anywhere else to seek help right now.