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.

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.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

There's a good article here about a Missouri hospital and how they've added sleep study capabilities to keep up with demand.

The sleep center is used for conducting sleep studies to detect sleep apnea, a condition where breathing stops during sleep. The article talks about how sleep apnea is often discovered during surgery - at which point the sleep apnea can interfere with the surgery when the patient's irregular breathing lowers oxygen levels. Early detection is key.

The article lists many of the signs of sleep apnea including:
• 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

If you notice any of these signs, especially if several occur concurrently, talk to your doctor.

The article also talks about how sleep studies work.

I'm Too Sexy for My CPAP

Dr Michael J Breus covers a topic that will make most people blush.

The article has a witty title "CPAP: Cannot Possibly Act Passionate" and discusses ways to address the potential impacts of a CPAP machine on romantic life.

He writes "Let's get real, I don't think it takes a CPAP machine to kill the moment" and points out that the benefits of CPAP treatment far outweigh not getting treatment. Without treatment, those with sleep apnea are much more likely to be tired and tiredness will put an even greater damper on romance.

Read the full article here on the Huffington Post website. The article is Dr Breus' response to a commentary on MSNBC here about the impact of a CPAP machine on romance. Both are interesting reads.

Are you tired like a zombie?

This interesting article talks about the US being a nation of zombies. This nation of zombies is made up of people who are sleep deprived.

It points out that some people do not even know they are sleep deprived.

Amongst the different causes of sleep deprivation is sleep apnea, a condition that interferes with normal breathing at night, causing abnormally low levels of oxygen to be breathed in.

Types of CPAP Masks for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Cuddly Love (Photo by mia3mom)People with sleep apnea should be aware of the treatment options. Did you know there are several types of CPAP masks?

Here's a brief article on the different types of CPAP masks used with CPAP machines for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The article discusses common triangular CPAP masks and the less common oral masks, nasal pillows and hybrid masks.

I've used triangular CPAP masks of both the nose only and nose and mouth variety. The nose mask is the most common type of mask.

I used a nose mask for a few years. It was very easy to wear and get used to. The downside for me, with a high pressure setting on my CPAP, is that the nose mask caused dryness in my nasal passages and required me to either use a humidifier or use saline solution a few times a day.

A second sleep study revealed that the nose mask left me with the problem of breathing through the mouth.

I tried using a chin strap to keep my mouth closed, but that didn't help much, though I only tried one type of strap. There are potentially better chin straps on the market that I have yet to try.

I switched to a nose and mouth full face mask. Full face CPAP masks require more adaption time because the masks must be on tighter to prevent air from escaping from the seams. The first several nights for me were interrupted by the bzzzzz sound of air escaping from the seams. Making the straps tighter then became uncomfortable. Getting to the right balance took time. Oh, the joys of severe sleep apnea!

After the right balance is achieved, the nose/mouth full face mask worked better in my situation. Each situation is different. This article discusses types of CPAP masks and how the masks are used.

View the article here about the different types of CPAP masks.

Personal Accounts of Sleep Studies and Sleep Apnea

Blogger Stevedawg provides a personal account about getting a sleep study done for testing of sleep apnea.

He tells of getting ready for a sleep study, doing the sleep study, and getting the diagnosis.

Blogger Brian also has sleep apnea and has written several personal accounts of his experiences here. He discusses doing the sleep study, trying different masks and challenges with mouth breathing.

In another sleep study account, patient Jack tells Action 3 News about his treatment here.

What do the Boston Red Sox and Sleep Apnea have in Common?

Fenway (Photo by smellyknee)Both the Boston Red Sox and sleep apnea were both mentioned in the same article by Gary Gillis on the Official Boston Red Sox website on here.

Gillis writes about how traveling around the world to play exhibition games in Japan put a strain on Red Sox players' sleep patterns. He goes on to talk about sleeping patterns and how Americans are often sleep deprived.

Then he talks about sleep disorders, mentioning sleep apnea: "Caused by soft tissue blocking the airway, apnea more often affects men than women. It can lead to hypertension and increase the risk of stroke." Not mentioned are the many other risks of untreated sleep apnea including heart disease, high blood pressure and, of course, sleep disruption. Sleep disruption causes daytime sleepiness - preventing Red Sox fans from staying awake for the game!

A doctor interviewed in the article says that most disorders are treatable and can return a patient back to a normal night's sleep. Here on Sleep Apnea Guide, sleep apnea treatments are often discussed. Sleep apnea is highly treatable and there are several options.

The most common treatment is the use of a CPAP machine (a small device that pushes air down a patient's airway passage through a mask), but I've mentioned a few promising alternative treatments and sleep apnea studies on Sleep Apnea Guide. I've been using a CPAP machine for years. It's not as bad as it sounds, but it takes some time to adjust to it.

I am more awake with treatment and ready for the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series again and again.

Demonstration of Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Treatment

The Medical News Network put out this almost 30-minute episode all about sleep apnea causes, symptoms and treatments. The interview is with Dr. Brock Rondeau who goes through sleep apnea causes, sleep apnea symptoms and some of the latest treatment options available including oral appliances.

What I found interesting was his demonstration of oral appliances that are alternatives to CPAP machines. Listen to what he has to say about oral appliances. An oral appliance may be a better option than a CPAP machine for some people. For children, Dr Rondeau explains that oral appliances are very effective and he shows before and after pictures.

Scary Stats About Sleep Apnea

An article written by Don Gronning entitled "Sleeping your way to health" (view article here) on the Daily Record's website (Ellensburg, Washington) quotes Dr. Geoffrey Greenberg, a sleep apnea specialist, as saying that studies show that of the people who have untreated obstructive sleep apnea, 40% die within 8 years.

My advice: Don't fear treatment.

Most people use a CPAP machine, which is simply Continuous Positive Airway Pressure delivered by a small device to a mask that goes over your nose or mouth and nose.

I have severe sleep apnea and use my CPAP every night, all night long. It's set on a very high pressure setting. It took some getting use to, yes, but it is not a medicine. I am currently unaware of side effects except nasal passage dryness, which is treated with over-the-counter saline nose spray.

You are not alone. A lot of people have sleep apnea.

Dr. Greenberg also points out that 4 to 5% of the American population has sleep apnea and it is more common than diabetes.

He reaffirms what I've heard before, that sleep apnea is not necessarily weight related. He states that 10% of sleep apnea sufferers are normal weight.

Sleep Apnea a Problem in China

According to an article by China Daily (here), obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) affects more than 50 million Chinese people.

But a lot of people don't take sleep apnea seriously. The article goes on to quote Han Fang, of the People's Hospital of Peking University sleep center, who explains that 80% of the patients the sleep center sees are seriously troubled by sleep apnea.

Yet, the articles quotes Fang as pointing out the true issue: "Most of them are transferred by other medical departments to our center - usually in serious condition - rather than turning to us on their own in an early stage."

They didn't know.

The issue is the need to increase sleep apnea awareness. Hopefully, blogs like this one help.

How to Reduce Out-of-Pocket Sleep Study Costs

Not insured? Have to pay out-of-pocket?

halloween001 (Photo by Jimmy theSuperStar)The best way to reduce out-of-pocket sleep study costs is to pretend it is like buying a car. Shop around. Do your homework before choosing a sleep center.

Prices can vary from $2500 to $4000 out-of-pocket for a sleep study, according to Express CPAP Supply. That really is like buying a used car.

A Google search for "cost of sleep study" reveals many more discussions of the costs for out-of-pocket sleep studies with some people paying more than $5000 (see here and here).

Why the variation? Not all sleep studies are created equal. According to St. Joseph Memorial Hospital (see here): "Because of the variety of sleep disorders, the required sleep monitoring and evaluation studies may vary and consequently the total cost of the sleep study may also vary."

So it pays to talk to your doctor about the options to minimize out-of-pocket sleep study expenses. Maybe you don't need to fancy sleep study. Or maybe your doctor can recommend lower cost sleep centers.

Another emerging option is special deals that CPAP supply companies offer. For instance, Express CPAP Supply of San Jacinto, California, recently partnered with a sleep lab to offer lower rates for sleep studies. They offer a $999 sleep study and CPAP system combo. More info on Express CPAP Supply's website here.

Another Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

An article on WSOC Charlotte discusses alternative treatments to obstructive sleep apnea for patients who are not good candidates for CPAP treatment. The treatment is called the "Advance System", a trademarked system by Aspire Medical, Inc. The treatment is still in clinical trials, but represents a potentially viable alternative sleep apnea treatment for a segment of patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

This alternative obstructive sleep apnea treatment involves having a tissue anchor insert alongside a tether and a bone anchor. WSOC outlines the steps involved with this treatment:
"First, the tissue anchor is inserted into the tongue and held in place with tiny barbs. Next, the bone anchor is screwed into the jaw, under the chin. Finally, a tether, or cord, is connected to the two implants, tied and tightened. Insertion of the Advance system is a minor surgical procedure that takes about 20 minutes. It can be done under general or local anesthesia. Patients come back two to three weeks after placement to have the tension of the tether adjusted." (Source: WSOC Charlotte)
Read the complete News Story here on WSOC's website.

Aspire Medical has pictures and a video here of their sleep apnea device that is still in clinical trials.

The Didgeridoo Sleep Apnea Treatment

I had heard of this alternative treatment before but was recently reminded when That's Fit mentioned a Men's Health article. The article by Men's Health is called "6 Crazy Cures" amongst which one is a potential cure for sleep apnea.

The treatment involves playing a didgeridoo.
Didgeridoo Class (Photo by Topato)
According to the Men's Health article:
"Researchers reporting in the British Medical Journal evaluated 25 people with sleep apnea--a breath-stealing condition caused by flabby throat muscles--and found that those who took 4 months of didgeridoo (DIH-jeh-ree-doo) lessons had about 3 1/2 times less daytime sleepiness than the folks who didn't blow their own horns. The newly minted musicians also snored significantly less." (Men's Health)
"Sounds" like a potentially fun treatment.

The full results of the study are available here on the British Medical Journal website with further commentary by Scientific Daily here.

The study concludes that didgeridoo playing on a regular basis is an effective alternative treatment for those with moderate obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.

I wonder if it would help severe sleep apnea sufferers. If playing the didgeridoo regularly could move severe sleep apnea into mild sleep apnea, that would be a really good thing.

Then again, have you ever heard the sound a didgeridoo makes? There's an example of a street performer playing a didgeridoo in Barcelona, Spain here.

Car crash risk increased by sleep apnea says study

Sleep apnea increases the risk of being in a car crash.

Today, while driving my car I realized maybe, just maybe, I´ve been hibernating in life! (Day 51- 365 days) (Photo by Michelle Brea)

That's what an article in Science Daily says. The article talks about a new study by the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and University of British Columbia.

The Science Daily articles writes that the study "found that patients with sleep apnea are three to five times more likely to be in a serious car crash involving personal injury. Using data from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, researchers studied nearly 1,600 people including patients with and without sleep apnea." (Source: Science Daily)

The article goes on to discuss how sleep apnea patients are unaware of their sleepiness and how it impacts their driving.

This is one of many articles that omits a key factor: treatment. Are the sleep apnea patients in the study getting treatment?

Unfortunately, accessing the full research study costs money so taking an educated guess is the next best alternative. It seems common sense that patients who respond to treatment for sleep apnea would suffer less from the symptoms.

If a doctor prescribes using a CPAP, the resulting night time breathing should be much better than without treatment. Therefore, symptoms like daytime sleepiness would be minimized. That's just a guess.


University of British Columbia. "Sleep Apnea Doubles Car Crash Risk, Study Shows." ScienceDaily 20 February 2008. 24 February 2008

An abstract and the full study appear in the journal called Thorax Journal.

Video: Introduction to Sleep Apnea from iVillage

If you want a good introduction to sleep apnea, iVillage covered the topic on their TV show and you can watch the video right here. I think it is a great introduction and presents some of the realities and reasons why diagnosis and treatment should be sought for those who suffer the symptoms.

Video: New Sleep Apnea Public Service Announcement

Just released by the American Sleep Apnea Association, this video will be on TV as part of the upcoming National Sleep Apnea Awareness Week from March 3-8, 2008. Why wait? Watch it now on YouTube:

The ASAA's goal is to "to educate and raise awareness on sleep apnea, treatment, medical information, and resources". See their additional resources on

A Sleep Apnea Sleep Study Success

Wow. Here's a women whose doctor discovered she had irregular heartbeats. After being monitored in a hospital for several days and not having a solution found, she was sent to do a sleep study.

At the sleep study, she was recorded with 150 apnea episodes per hour. That is a lot of not breathing!

The diagnosis was sleep apnea. She was given a CPAP to use and says this of the results of using a CPAP:
"It is a life saving machine, in my case. The nights are quiet now, no snoring. I wake up, refreshed and ready to tackle the day. If I’m tired, its because I have stayed up way past my bedtime, which I tend to do, just because I have filled my days with so many activities and things to do these days — because I can."

Read her complete story here.

The Relationship Between Weight and Sleep Apnea

According to an article on which echoes what I've heard from many sources about sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) "can occur in men and women of any age, but it is most common in obese, middle-aged men."

Photo by Anderaz

The article also talks about the correlation between weight and OSA. It's not always related though. There are non-obese people with OSA, but many people have it due to obesity.

The article says that "your neck gets thicker as you gain weight. This increases the level of fat in the back of the throat, narrowing the airway. With more fat in the throat, your airway is more likely to be blocked." There you have it. That is why being overweight predisposes many people to having obstructive sleep apnea.

For those who have weight-related sleep apnea, losing weight is likely to reduce the severity.

Read the full article here on

Video: Sleep Apnea Symptons and Treatment

Dr. Schwimmer of The Snoring Center Medical Center talks about sleep apnea on the Good Morning Texas talk show. He talks about the symptoms of sleep apnea, the steps to take to get diagnosed and the treatment options.

Check out some of these other Snoring Center videos on YouTube. Some good information on a variety of aspects.

Sleep Apnea Sudden Cardiac Death Risks

This article talks about a New England Journal of Medicine study of 112 Minnesota residents diagnosed with sleep apnea. The article talks about the increased likelihood of dying of cardiac causes overnight for those who's obstructive sleep apnea levels are higher.

To learn more about sleep apnea and sudden cardiac death, see the full article on

For study for me emphasizes the importance of seeking treatment and making sure to use a CPAP or other treatment as recommended by your doctor.

Sleep Apnea and Codeine Kill Rapper

According to various news sources, sleep apnea and cough syrup proved to be a tragic and fatal mix for rapper Pimp C.

It is said Pimp C had both Codeine and Promethazine in his system. News agencies report that an excess amount of Codeine cough syrup limits respiratory abilities, and combined with sleep apnea, was enough to cause Pimp C's death.

It is unclear from the story sources if Pimp C was using a CPAP machine for treatment or to what level he suffered from sleep apnea. I wonder.

Read more on this story:,, CNN,

If you or someone you know has symptoms of sleep apnea (such as snoring and gasping while sleeping, or high daytime sleepiness) see a doctor.

Stopping Nasal Dryness from Sleep Apnea

When those nasal passages are all stuffed up, I used to worry about getting a good night's sleep. It took a lot of trial and error.

Photo by lunchtimemama

During my first year on a CPAP with a nasal mask, I'd have incredible problems with nasal passages getting dry. The dryness caused stuffiness and sneezing.

First I tried menthol-lyptus cough drops but it didn't stop the dryness. I didn't know what to do because the dryness was almost painful. So I saw my doctor.

The doctor recommended I use saline nasal drops. I used lots of it and that helped when done regularly, at least once a day. But I was still having occasional issues with dryness.

The doctor had me get a humidifier attachment for the CPAP. For me, the humidifier stopped 100% of the stuffiness. But changing the humidifier water daily and rinsing the water unit regularly was a chore.

A year or so later and I did another sleep study. They found I was opening my mouth too much with the nasal mask. So I switched to a full mask that covers both the nose and the mouth. Though it took a long time to get comfortable with it, the full face mask has also solved the nasal dryness problems. I stopped using the humidifier and saline altogether and it is rare that I have any dryness problems anymore.

That's my path. Any other experiences/recommendations?

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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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