Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm a Sleep Apneac

I posted late last week about participating in a sleep study to determine if I have sleep apnea, and today I met with the sleep specialist. He confirmed my suspicions about having a sleep disorder, which was not a surprise, but it was the magnitude of the severity of my obstructive sleep apnea that intrigued me.

Specialists developed something called the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) to measure the number of apneas and hypopneas per hour. Scores above 30 events per hour are classified as severe sleep apnea, and I averaged a whopping 51 events per hour.

My average apnea event lasted 23 seconds in duration, and I have times in my lousy sleep where my oxygen saturation level falls below 90 percent. Put another way, I typically manage to sleep for only 45 seconds or so before my obstructed airways cause a fall in oxygen levels to the point where my body forces me to wake up.

Even simpler was the summation my physician provided: "You probably haven't experienced a decent night's sleep in five years."

So next week I get to repeat the sleep study, except this time I will be fitted with a CPAP machine. Assuming that I show some signs of improvement in the next study, I will get to take the machine home with me. I am looking forward to once again experiencing some semblance of normal sleep, as well as a reduction in the incessant sleepiness that has been my lot for many, many months.


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