Monthly Archives: March 2016

My days typically start out the same

By: Magdalena K

My days typically start out the same. Waking up every morning groggy and agitated. My head is pounding and I can barely open my mouth from how dry it is. My partner wakes up a few minutes after me complaining about the amount of times I woke him up during the night either to go to the bathroom or because of my loud snoring. Most of this I cannot remember and pass it off as him over exaggerating per usual. I laugh it off and start my day.

As the day goes on I can barely keep my eyes open.  Even though I feel like I had a great nights sleep, I am always tired during the day. One time, I almost fell asleep at the wheel! I have been very moody lately and I thought ‘hey maybe it is just that time of the month’, but even after that time, the agitation and moodiness did not subside.

One night I had my partner record us sleeping, I could not believe how bad I snored! Boy was he telling the truth. Except, it was not a normal kind of snoring, that I was used to growing up with my dad snoring like a grizzly bear. This was ironic. Sleeping on my back made it the worst, it was like extremely loud snoring and then all of a sudden I would pause and it was like I wasn’t breathing at all and then went right back to it.

After watching this tape I finally decided to Google it. And yes, I know every time I go to Google any symptoms I am having, I either get diagnosed with some rare disease that only 0.1% of the population has, or I magically develop cancer and have about a month to live. So even though I knew this was not the smartest option I went for it either way.

It was noon and I was sitting on my computer having a cup of coffee almost falling asleep in my chair. I opened up the Internet and typed all my symptoms into Google. Here I was expecting to see my death sentence right in front of me, except instead, the results came up for sleep apnea. Throughout my twenty years of living, I have never heard of such thing. So of course I did my research and I could not be more amazed at how everything they were describing was my life.

That week I decided to visit my doctor. I sat in the waiting room and listened to children crying and screaming because even though I am twenty years old, I still see a pediatrician. It was finally my turn to go in, and I was so glad because I don’t think I could of handled another minute in that waiting room. So I hoped up on the examination bed and waiting for my doctor to come in. I described what was happening, even showed her some clips from my video and told her about the research I’ve done.

She began with a series of questions about family history and any medical issues I may have. She asked about my sleeping schedule, how loud I snore, what kinds of sounds I make while I sleep and how I function after a good nights rest. At first I looked at her like she was a little crazy expecting me to know how loud I snore.

I had a physical test done after that and found out I had an enlarged uvula. I think I stared at my throat with my mouth open for a good five minutes. The next part was exciting. I was going to do a polysomnogram, which records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate and blood pressure as I sleep among with other things. I slept overnight at a facility with wires connected to pretty much every part of my body.

A few weeks later my doctor called me and I indeed had sleep apnea. She said it was nothing to worry about. I would most likely just need a mouth piece of a breathing device to help me. Because medicines typically aren’t used to treat the condition, I would just have to make some lifestyle changes. It doesn’t bother me too much, I just feel bad for my future husband!

people face every day

By: Magali R

There are many common disorders that people face every day. One common sleeping disorder is Snoring. It is a common problem among all ages and both genders. It affects approximately ninety million adults and thirty-seven million on a regular basis. It affects mostly men and people who are overweight, forty-five percent snore occasionally. Two of the main problems that they face are health problems can occur and annoyance for the bed partner of the person who snores. Not only do they disrupt the sleep pattern of those close but they also disturb their own. Snoring is one of the most common symptoms associated with OSA and is caused by vibration of the soft tissues obstructing the pharynx during sleep. However, most people who snore do not have OSA. The prevalence of snoring in the general population varies widely (from 15 to 54 percent) mainly because most studies rely on self-reporting by patients. Despite the evidence that snoring is a major burden to our society, the management of patients with primary snoring or mild OSA has been poorly investigated. Treatment of primary snoring varies widely and includes avoiding alcohol and sedatives, avoiding lying flat on the back to sleep, weight loss, treatment of nasal problems, palate and upper airway surgeries, and use of dental sleep devices. This study demonstrates a promising, noninvasive treatment for large populations suffering from snoring, the snorers and their bed partners, that are largely omitted from research and treatment,” said Barbara Phillips, MD, FCCP, and President-Designate, American College of Chest Physicians, and Medical Director, Sleep Laboratory at the University Of Kentucky College Of Medicine. “Frankly, this will change the advice that I give to my patients who snore. And that’s a lot of people.” The researchers also looked at people with untreated sleep breathing problems versus those without the sleep breathing problems and also untreated versus treated people with sleep breathing problems. The study found that people with sleep breathing problems were diagnosed with MCI an average of nearly 10 years earlier than people who did not have sleep breathing problems. For example, when researchers examined only people who developed MCI or Alzheimer’s disease during the study, those with sleep breathing problems developed MCI at an average age of 77, compared to an average age of 90 for those who did not have sleep breathing problems. Among that group, those who had sleep breathing problems also developed Alzheimer’s disease five years earlier than those who did not have sleep breathing problems, at an average age of 83 versus 88.The researchers found that people who treated their sleep breathing problems with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine were diagnosed with MCI about 10 years later than people whose problems were not treated, or at age 82 instead of age 72. This is a frequent problem within marriages that nobody is paying enough attention to,” said Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, founder of the Sleep Disorders Center at Rush. “Couples who struggle with sleep apnea have a high-divorce rate. Can we save marriages by treating sleep apnea? It’s a question we hope to answer. “The Married Couples Sleep Study is evaluating 10 couples in which the male has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. After completing surveys about sleepiness, marriage satisfaction, and quality of life, the couple spends the night in the sleep lab where technicians determine each partner’s quality and quantity of sleep. Following two weeks of treatment, the diagnostic tests and surveys are repeated. It really messes up a marriage.

My father was a slim

By: Philip M

My father was a slim, fit and very active man who competed in triathlons back in the early 1990’s.   I have seen many photos and VHS tapes of him racing but, now he is unable to race.  He only watches from the sidelines because of the substantial amount of weight he has gained, tipping the scales to almost 300 pounds.

I believe that the reason my dad has gained so much weight is from the long hours of rotating shifts working as a Police Officer for the last 24 years.  The accumulating stress has not only compromised his body but, has compromised his overall health.

My dad’s health is truly a concern now because he has a sleep disorder with snoring issues.   The noise is so loud and irritating during the night that he and my mom have not slept in the same room for six years.  He sleeps on the couch.  It seems as if my mom is punishing him for doing it on purpose.  And when we went away on a family vacation, we had to get a hotel with two private rooms just so my dad could sleep alone.  I can remember how the intensity and escalation of his snoring would vibrate the bedroom doors like intermittent earthquakes.  It was so bad that we had to increase the volume on the television full blast to hear it.  It probably sounded like a party was going on in the room and was very embarrassing.

So, my mother begged my dad to be evaluated for his snoring because it was causing family havoc and keeping us awake at night.  However, my dad would just shrug the suggestion off and deny his snoring problem.  It was not until my grandfather was hospitalized and my dad spent several nights there with him.  One night, when my dad fell asleep, his snoring was so excruciating loud and erratic that a doctor came in from the hallway.   This doctor, unassociated with my grandfather, woke my dad up and explained how bad his snoring was and how it is causing sleep apnea.  He suggested a sleep study as soon as possible.   That spontaneous, stern warning from the unknown physician frightened my dad to finally schedule a sleep study test as my mother had wanted all along.

My dad completed his two night sleep study in July 2014.  His results were astonishing!  On average in one night, sleep apnea had caused him to wake up sixty-one times with an oxygen saturation level of 83%.  Even as a freshman in college, I know that the numbers prove to be a significant health issue.  By mid- August, my dad came home with a CPAP machine and I called him Darth Vader from Star Wars when he put the face mask on.  To our surprise, my dad actually liked the CPAP machine because it helped him sleep more soundly, gave him more energy during the day and pulse oxygenation increased to 96%.

It is now January 2015, and my dad continues to use the machine faithfully each night.  Our family just traveled to the University of Maryland and we obtained a hotel room with just two double beds this time.  With the CPAP machine on during the night, the entire family was able to sleep in harmony and the television volume down to the minimum.  It was the most relaxing mini vacations we have had in a long time.  We still call my dad Darth Vader but, we have now added Princess Leia because my parents are back to sleeping together in the same room.

So far, the biggest success of the CPAP therapy has helped my dad lose fifteen pounds.  He no longer gets up in the middle of the night to binge eat and he recently purchased a new bicycle to start exercising.   There is a long road ahead of him but, I will encourage him to train for triathlons and would love to see him race again.  This time, I will be the one on the sidelines!

How did sleep apnea or CPAP therapy affect your life or the lives of those around you?

By: Madison W


42 Million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a life threatening disorder that commonly goes undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder caused by the partial or complete collapse of the airway during sleep. This condition is much more than a sleeping disorder, it can cause a myriad of other health effects such as headaches, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain. 75 percent of severe cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed because it cannot be detected in a routine doctor visit. Because sleep apnea causes sleep loss, fatigue and drowsiness during the day are a common sign and side effect. Addressing signs of sleep apnea can improve your life dramatically.

Sleep apnea is often caused by the relaxation of the muscles in the soft palate or tongue. When someone who suffers from sleep apnea lies down to go to sleep at night, their airway is constricted and does not allow adequate oxygen into the lungs. The brain senses lower oxygen levels in the blood and quickly jolts the body awake. Because this jolt of alertness happens so quickly, most people do not remember it. Loud snoring or sudden bursts of snoring are common symptoms. Because the person with sleep apnea cannot detect the symptoms, it is very important that their sleeping partner alerts them of possible problems. Some types of sleep apnea, such as Central Sleep Apnea, are caused by the inability of the brain to send correct signals to the muscles that allow you to breathe. Central Sleep Apnea, called CSA, is less common than Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA.

My Biology and Environmental Science teacher, Amy Vohsing, is a perfect example of someone who has been affected by sleep apnea. Her story starts in 2005 when she had trouble waking up from anesthesia after a small surgery for varicose veins.  Her doctor suggested that she undergo a sleep study to be sure that sleep apnea is not what kept her asleep for so long. With three children and a full time job, her schedule did not allow for extra medical tests, so she ignored the suggestion and went on with her daily life. Since then, she has had several other surgeries with zero anesthetic problems, making her think that her sleeping patterns were completely normal. Eleven years later, a different doctor also suggested that she undergo a sleep study before her upcoming knee surgery. She reluctantly agreed to participate as did her husband. She was shocked to find out that she had been waking up an average of 34.5 times per hour.

Amy was an excellent candidate for a CPAP machine, which stands for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.” The image that many think of a CPAP Machine is a large, noisy machine with a mask that straps around the mouth and nose. Amy was pleasantly surprised to receive a very small, silent device that fits into her nostrils. After trying CPAP for a few days, she said, “This is the best that I have slept in 30 years! Is this really what sleep is like?” She claims that she feels energetic and no longer feels tired and drowsy in the afternoon. “I use to just want to collapse half way through the day.” she said. Nightly trips to the bathroom and a few hours of sleep were normal before she began sleeping with CPAP therapy.  After her experience with CPAP, she feels more awake and refreshed than she ever has before! This disorder is incredibly common, but most don’t even realize that they suffer from it. The only way to know if you are a victim of sleep apnea is to participate in a sleep study. Ask a doctor and protect yourself from the sleep apnea, the monster hiding under your bed.


There are two types of sleep apnea

By: Madison N

Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans every year. There are also people that have not yet figured out that they too have sleep apnea.  Treating sleep apnea is extremely important to the persons’ well being. After a certain period of time being untreated, you could suffer from heart attack.


There are two types of sleep apnea, which are OSA and CSA. OSA also known as obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two. This takes place because of the blockage of airway due to the soft tissue collapsing in the throat while sleeping. CSA, which is central sleep apnea, is in fact not caused by the blockage of the airway. During sleep the brain fails by not telling the muscles to breathe. This typically happens to someone that has an unstable respiratory control center.


The effects of sleep apnea can be very scary if not taken care of. It can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, heart failure and many more life threatening health problems. It cannot only affect your health but your daily tasks at work, school, or operating a motor vehicle. Someone with untreated sleep apnea could stop breathing nearly 100 times during one nights sleep. It is extremely important to treat sleep apnea as soon as possible because of the long lasting health problems it could cause.


Many Americans that struggle from obstructive sleep apnea use a CPAP machine every night. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and it is a mask that covers your nose and mouth. It increases air pressure through the airway so it does not collapse while their sleeping. Although it may not be the most comfortable thing to use it offers help to those suffering from OSA. The CPAP machine is the most widely used because it is effective and non-surgical.


Sleep apnea has had a direct effect on my family. My grandpa was diagnosed with sleep apnea a little over 5 years ago. Although we were thankful that we found the problem, it was still very scary. The thought of my grandpa not breathing while sleeping was terrifying to my 13 year old self. He has slept with a CPAP machine for 5 years now and it has resolved all of his problems.


Many doctors have said my grandpa was a strong candid for sleep apnea. Males are typically more susceptible to obstructive sleep apnea. He also is overweight, has a family history of sleep apnea, and has sinus problems.  He was also at high risk because he was over the age of 40. He was not only slightly over the age of 40, he was 75 when he was diagnosed. You could also be at risk if you have gastroesophageal reflux, large tonsils, large tongue, or have a large neck size. My grandma also struggle from sleep apnea so I will be cautious when I become an adult. My mother goes to the doctor very often because both of her parents have sleep apnea and she hopes she can treat it as soon as possible before it leads to more problems down the road.