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Sleep apnea/AFIB

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cynthiaG Find out more about cynthiaG
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  • #16
    Re: Sleep apnea/AFIB

    thank you all! this is very interesting...Why is it that when I mention to the doctors that I have mild sleep apnea do they dismiss it??
    \"It is not length of life, but depth of life.\"

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    • #17
      Re: Sleep apnea/AFIB

      I, too, have sleep apnea, which was diagnosed after my echo showed increasing pulmonary pressures. My frustration with the whole thing is the opinion of the so-called "experts". The initial echo was poo-poohed by one of my local cardiologists, who said, "She has sleep apnea, it's not related to her heart!". Then along comes the local pulmonologist, who says, "Your pulmonary hypertension is from your heart. I'm from New York and I know about these things! Now, tell me about your plastic surgery!" He thought I looked too young to be my stated age. I also want to know what being from New York has to do with anything. I didn't tell him that my primary physician was born, raised and educated in Manhatten and did her residency at Bellvue, and, I swear she knows more about HCM than the whole lot of them! and being from New York doesn't figure in the equation. Besides, he's mistaken. His name and accent say "Viet Nam", not New York. Anyway, I digress - I get really hot about this issue!!!

      Recently, I was summoned by my local cardiologist for a "follow-up" and I was not due for any FU. The issue again was pulmonary hypertension and he is wondering if I should be on meds for it. I'm abandoning all the locals and going to see Dr. Lever on the 17th of May. I don't think my pulm pressures are high enough (50's) nor am I symptomatic enough to require expensive meds. I will continue with my CPAP.

      As far as CPAP is concerned, it is difficult to get used to and requires experimentation with different masks. I am a mouth breather and found most masks that cover nose and mouth to be too rigid and uncomfortable. I finally settled on something called the "Hybrid". If it was not for the Sleep Apnea Assn, which has a website like this, where you can e-mail and vent your frustrations and get advice from people who have been there.

      I know 2 people who have died as a result of untreated sleep apnea. The fact that you have HCM means that you are already at risk for SCD. Sleep apnea just compounds this issue. Don't ignore it. There is no such thing as having "a little" sleep apnea - that's like being "a little pregnant"! Rely on the Sleep Apnea Assn for education and support.

      Hope this helps - forgive my rambling...

      Anne

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      • #18
        Re: Sleep apnea/AFIB

        I've had sleep apnea for years. I never had any idea until I got married, and then my wife told me how awful it sounded when I was gasping for air all night, and how terrified she was. I had no idea--I thought I was sleeping fine. I did not feel particularly awful in the morning, and I slept right through the night. I did get tired easily and sometimes get sleepy in the afternoons, but thought nothing of it.

        After a sleep study and diagnosis, I was told to get on the CPAP program, but it took years to get with it--I just couldn't sleep with the darn thing on. My sleep doc didn't offer any alternatives except "keep trying." Finally bi-pap was the answer. Having the machine pause to let me exhale made all the difference. (Still took awhile to get used to, but finally I can sleep through the night with it on.)

        If I go without the bipap now, I still sleep fine and wake up feeling fine, but no one else in my house sleeps. Apparently the snoring is earth-shaking. So bipap is mandatory to keep the family peace. But I've also been persuaded by my doctors that this is no light matter--the strain on your heart from sleep apnea over the years can do real damage and I'm told by everyone that controlling it with cpap/bipap is critical to avoid doing damage down the road.

        Sleep apnea is also directly correlated with excess weight--the heavier you are, the worse it is. I'm still working on that. (As I know a bunch of us are.) Apart from HCM restrictions, just the weight and the sleep apnea are cyclical--the less oxygen you're getting at night, the less you're metabolizing, the more trouble you have with more weight. Conversely, once you get more oxygen at night, you should be sleeping better and metabolizing more, making weight loss (at least incrementally) easier.

        So I hate the mask, but I wear it. Fortunately there are more mask options, and lighter weight options, than there used to be. Makes it easier.
        Diagnosed (w/obstruction) 2003 at 39
        Alcohol Septal Ablation Feb. 2006
        Myectomy April 2007 Cleveland
        Pacemaker dependent (no ICD)
        Thankful and doing fine

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