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My First Apnea?

Posted Jun 26 2009 6:01pm

Dr. Mack Jones suggested that I get tested for sleep apnea in response to my last post about feeling depressed all last week from what I thought was the gloomy weather. He may have a point here. Last week, as I was dozing off to sleep, my wife did mention that I stopped breathing suddenly and started breathing again after a short snort. I vaguely remember it happening. It was also a time when my nose was a little stuffy. Technically, this wasn’t an apnea, since it lasted only a brief second or two. On a sleep study, it would be classified as a respiratory event related arousal (RERA).

 

Having just passed my 42nd birthday, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this was bound to happen eventually. I’ve said again and again that all modern humans are susceptible to breathing problems while sleeping, and I’m no exception. The only comfort I take is the fact that I did undergo a sleep study many years ago to see what it was like, and it revealed an AHI of 1, which is considered "within normal limits."  It did show that I had some mild disruptions in my deep sleep stages. I suspect it may creep up slowly as I get older. Fortunately, my weight has not changed—if anything, it’s gone down since I began running regularly. 

 

More recently, I’ve been sleeping well, and my energy level is pretty good, despite that fact that our 5 month old has been up at night repeatedly due to teething.

 

There’s now even more reason for me to follow the advice I give to my patients: don’t eat late, exercise regularly, keep your nose clear, and don’t sleep on your back. The one thing I’ll have to work on is to try sleeping more on my side since that brief obstructive episode happened while I was on my back. I’ll keep you posted.

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