Sleep Apnea Guide

I have sleep apnea and use this blog to provide unbiased info about sleep apnea to create sleep apnea awareness. If you have sleep apnea, it is important to seek treatment.

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Does your sleep apnea CPAP mask hurt your nose?

A lot of people with sleep apnea do not do their prescribed treatment because they find that the CPAP mask is uncomfortable. Here's a solution that may make treatment easier for some.

A company called SeQual Technologies has joined up with CHI-SAN LLC to make available what looks to be a useful device for those who experience discomfort on the bridge of the nose as a result of the pressure of a CPAP mask.

The Sleep Comfort Care Pad is described as intended for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) who experience pain and discomfort on or around the bridge of their nose associated with using nasal or full face masks. The pad acts as a cushion between the patient’s face and mask, and is simply placed across the bridge of the nose under the mask.

The pad is reusable and can be cleaned with soap and water.

The protective polymer gel pad is composed of USP grade mineral oil, is hypoallergenic, latex and silicone free.

This could prove to be a very useful solution to CPAP mask discomfort.

The Pittsburgh Steelers want you to know about sleep apnea

Check it out, the Pittsburgh Steelers and ESPN want you to know about sleep apnea. A group of Pittsburgh Steelers and ESPN 1250 Radio members did an event at a Pennsylvania mall in order to increase awareness about sleep apnea.

According to the article, Steeler Chukky Okobi has sleep apnea as does cornerback Deshea Townsend's brother. So does ESPN 1250 general manger Mike Thompson.

Their goals are similar to this website - to create awareness about sleep apnea. Some of the signs of sleep apnea can include regular:

• Daytime sleepiness or dozing off while driving
• Falling asleep at inappropriate times or fighting to stay awake after a full night of rest
• Loud snoring, gasping or choking
• Depression
• Irritability or mood swings
• Sexual dysfunction
• Morning headaches often accompanied by a dry throat
• Frequent nighttime urination
• Lack of concentration
• Memory impairment

Najeh Davenport

What about you? Are you aware of the signs of sleep apnea?

Best sleep apnea books

Why climb a mountain when you can take a paved road on your sleep apnea treatment journey? The best sleep apnea books are the key to an easier sleep apnea treatment experience, from diagnosis to everyday life.

The amount of time a doctor can spend with a patient is limited, yet what a sleep apnea patient should know is wide-ranging. There's a lot to know about sleep apnea.

I wish my doctors said "here, read these books on sleep apnea and call me if you have any questions."

Most doctors fail to give this sort of guidance, so I've compiled a list of the best sleep apnea books.

If you just learned from your doctor that you have sleep apnea, these books will give you a lot of confidence in dealing with your treatment and will make it easier to know the right questions to ask your doctor.

When I first asked my primary care doctor is there was anything I could do to stop snoring, my doctor asked me a bunch of questions and then signed me up to see a specialist for a sleep study. I had no idea what to expect - sleep apnea was unknown territory. I wish my doctor had handed me a brochure or book or something!

Soon I had a diagnosis of severe sleep apnea and started using a CPAP machine.

Initially treatment was difficult and the CPAP mask covering my wasn't working out for me because it caused both nasal dryness and it didn't seem to be working. I later switched to a full-face mask and it solved both the nasal dryness and allowed me to breath through my mouth while sleeping. Now I sleep faithfully with a CPAP mask on every night, glad that treatment I have treatment.

There was a lot of trial and error to get where I am today. In retrospect, it would have been easier if I had read a few books earlier on in the process.

Each of us will have a unique sleep apnea treatment path and set of experiences. Knowing the facts can make the journey an easier path to travel.

Benefits of Excercise if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea

I'm no doctor, but just someone with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) trying to navigate through the mine field of sleep apnea resources to try to find my way through, whether those resources are my doctor, books, magazine or websites about sleep apnea. One thing is clear:
  • There are more benefits to exercising than not if you want to increase your quality of life with sleep apnea.
When it comes to weight loss and OSA, there are a lot of viewpoints on the impact of treating sleep apnea. If we are overweight or obese, our doctor will probably tell us that losing weight can potentially reduce our level of obstructive sleep apnea.

The American Sleep Apnea Association also points out what you'll read in many places about treatment for sleep apnea. ASAA says that weight loss is not going to be a solution for everyone because even thin people can have OSA, but that additional fat around the neck can be a cause for some patients. For those who are overweight, losing weight can be a way to reduce the severity of the condition in some patients. This is one of those situations where asking your doctor makes sense.

But for any of us with sleep apnea, it seems logical that weight loss and exercise are even more important for us, even if it doesn't reduce our level of severity.


We are at a greater risk for various conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. One of the problems with treatment is compliance - not doing what the doctor tells you. This means not getting the proper treatment and the risks going up versus full compliance with treatment.

Most people have also had sleep apnea for a long time before receiving treatment. For me, I probably had sleep apnea for a good 10-15 years before knowing and getting treatment. And during those years, I was not doing regular exercise and had put on a few pounds. I have to assume that years of damage have had an effect on my heart and other organs and that exercise is a way to help reverse any past damage.

It's really not a hard decision to decide if you should exercise or not (as long as your doctor says it is ok). Here are some benefits of regular exercise for :
  • Potential to reduce sleep apnea severity. Enough exercise, combined with the proper diet, and you'll lose weight. Losing weight has the potential in some people with obstructive sleep apnea to reduce the level of severity.
  • Stronger immune system. Have you ever had the flu or a bad cold with sleep apnea? Wearing a CPAP machine while you are sick or congested is not fun, believe me. Regular exercise makes for a better immune system, thereby reducing your risk of illness.
  • Healthier heart. A healthier heart means a lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and other benefits. For sleep apnea patients, a healthy heart seems to be extra important.
  • Reduced stroke risk. There are studies that say exercise reduces the risk of stroke.
  • Increased energy. This is another benefit particularly for patients who still suffer from daytime sleepiness. Extra energy can only be a good thing for everyone.
  • Lower stress and more happy. Less stress could potentially mean less chance for depression too, which is a good thing.
  • Stronger muscles, more muscle tone. I've been exercising regularly for several years now and the strength and muscle tone is a great benefit and big motivator because of the positive feelings it brings.
  • Prevent back injuries. I've read and heard that regular exercise reduces the risk of back injuries, which can be painful and immobilizing. For me, prior to regular exercise, I would have lower back pain when ever I did work around the home involving a lot of movement or lifting. After a lot of regular exercise, including back exercises, my back is a lot stronger and I am a lot less likely to get lower back pain. If you have existing back pain, be sure to check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program.
  • Increase metabolism. This means that your body will process calories faster, so that if you take in more calories than your body needs, it can handle it better than with a lower metabolism, helping to keep your weight from increasing.
  • Sense of accomplishment. With regular exercise, you really feel like your doing some good.
  • Better use of money. Instead of spending money on going out to a restaurant where you consume way too many calories and perpetuate your weight gain, think about getting a gym membership. Gym membership typically range from $35 to $50 a month and give you access to all sorts of exercise equipment. Want to spend even less? Get a pair of walking shoes and start regularly walking around the neighborhood. Do 2 walks per week and then gradually increase the duration and frequency. You'll be heading in the right direction.
Taken together, the benefits of regular exercise improve your overall quality of life with sleep apnea.

Study: CPAP Treatment Linked to Lower Mortality in Stroke Patients with OSA

An interesting article about Obstructive Sleep Apnea and strokes just came out. The article says that CPAP treatment reduces mortality risks for people with OSA who have had a stroke.

A researcher quoted in the article also points out that mortality rate increases for OSA patients who have had a stroke but who don't use a CPAP machine. Yet another reason to seek treatment for sleep apnea!

One of the challenges of the future is finding ways to ensure CPAP usage compliance amongst stroke patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It can be a complicated situation.

Read the article for the specifics of the study results. The article has a link to the original scientific research study results.

Traveling with Sleep Apnea Tip #2 - Packing your CPAP like your life depends on it

Traveling somewhere by plane? If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP for treatment like I do, then I recommend the following tip for airplane travel with a CPAP machine.

"Pack your CPAP machine like your life depends on it."

Going without treatment puts a damper in a vacation and can also have risks. Getting a replacement CPAP quickly will be a challenge while traveling.

I always carry my CPAP and mask in my backpack which I carry the airplane. It gives me comfort. Putting valuables in check-in luggage leaves me with a fear of loss or theft, so carrying it on with me means it never leaves my sight.

Also, realize that CPAP machines are delicate. Protect it in a way as to prevent damage from impact or being crushed. Take care as to avoid letting the buttons or display get damaged.

Put some sort of padding around it. If your CPAP didn't come with a padded travel case, take a look at padded camera bags as an alternative.

Bonus tip: When going through security gates at airports, take your CPAP out of your backpack and put it in a separate bin for scanning (like others do with laptops). Oftentimes, the security team needs to do a quick cotton swab test on CPAPs for some reason. Make it easy for security and they'll be quick.

Traveling with Sleep Apnea Tip #1 - preventing a broken CPAP mask

This tip is for anyone who is using a CPAP machines for sleep apnea treatment. At some point, you will need to travel by airplane with the CPAP machine.

This simple tip will keep you from having a bad travel experience and is based on my own experiences learning the hard way:
  • "When traveling by airplane, pack an extra CPAP mask."
I learned the hard way on a recent trip. I learned that CPAP masks can be too delicate to stand up to the rigors of airplane travel. My CPAP mask broke.

While most CPAP masks are pretty durable, the one point of weakness is at the hinge that connects the upper part of the mask with the lower part of the mask. That's where mine broke.

Luckily for me, part of the hinge remained. I could tape it to keep it in place temporarily.

I thought I had taken every precaution to prevent the CPAP mask from breaking, but I was wrong. I had put the mask at the top of my carry-on backpack but it somehow still broke.

Since a carry-on bag may not have enough room for a back-up mask, put the back-up mask in your check-in luggage. Putting the mask in the middle of clothes in a suitcase gives it protection and is a good place to stash your back-up CPAP mask.

So there you have it, clean out an old mask, stash it in your check-in luggage, and have a great flight.

Bonus Tip: If you don't have an extra CPAP mask because you are new to using a CPAP or you've thrown away old CPAP masks, take extra precautions. Maybe bring some tape or glue in case your mask does break. Superglue may solve some types of mask cracks.

Facts About Snoring and Sleep Apnea

News-Leader in Springfield, Missouri reports about causes of snoring here.  An interview conducted with Dr. Brian Kim, medical director for the Chest and Sleep Institute of Springfield and of the Missouri Sleep Institute at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, reveals several facts about snoring and that snoring does not necessarily mean a person has sleep apnea.

Another fact about snoring is that snoring and sleep apnea are both more common in men than in women.  However, women tend to snore more as they get older.

Want to reduce snoring?  Dr. Kim suggests avoiding sleeping on the back as well as weight loss as being common ways to reduce snoring.

New Study on Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

Dr. Ulysses J. Magalang, from the Ohio State University Medical Center, has done research on the relationship between Type II Diabetes and sleep apnea. Here are some good articles that summarize the study.

An articles on EmaxHealth goes into detail here and quotes Dr Magalang as saying "We do not know whether obstructive sleep apnea causes diabetes. What we do know is that patients with sleep apnea have an increased insulin resistance, a hallmark of patients with diabetes and also a known risk factor for heart disease."

Sleep expert Dr Jonathan Greenburg provides further commentary here about Magalang's research and further discusses the relationship between sleep apnea and diabetes.

Additional commentary is available on in an article entitles "Looking For A Link Between Sleep Apnea & Diabetes" here. also mentions the study here.

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About this blog

This website aims to create awareness about Sleep Apnea. I'm not a doctor or an expert on Sleep Apnea. If you have questions, please see your doctor.

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