View Full Version : OT: Central sleep apnea

05-14-2012, 01:51 PM
I just got back from a trip to Kelowna in southern BC last week. I went down for a three day sleep study to check out my probable narcolepsy. That investigation was quickly forgotten when it was discovered that I have a very severe case of Idiopathic Central Sleep Apnea (ICSA). ICSA is not related to regular sleep apnea where breathing is made difficult by closing of the airway in the nose/throat area. It is not related other than it causes breathing problems. It has nothing to do with weight or snoring.

It is not known what causes it but the root problem is that the brain stem, which controls breathing, is not telling the body to breath. It it is probably a result of some form of brain stem damage, either trauma or biological. It is the brain stem that controls the autonomic (automatic) functions of the body such as heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. In my case I am "forgetting" to breath an average of 73 times per hour while sleeping.

This is definitely A Bad Thing. For unknown reasons my oxygen level is not falling below 91. That is probably because I have larger than usual lung capacity. That is a Good Thing but the primary problem still exists. When the CO2 builds up enough regardless of how much oxygen is available the fore brain panics and goes into wakefulness to take over from the brain stem and restart breathing.

That means I am waking up nearly all the way or sometimes completely about once per minute. As you might imagine that isn't a very good way to get a good night's sleep. According to the EEG I am awake almost all night even though I appear to be sleeping.

There are no cures or treatments for the root problem but there are treatments to correct low oxygen. In my case the low oxygen is not the primary issue. I would like to know if anybody else on this forum has a similar problem and what, if anything was effective in treating it. Possibilities given by the doctor are a special Automatic Servo Ventilator (ASV) type of CPAP machine but it isn't certain to do much good. They are also very expensive, from $2000 to $9000 and that I cannot afford right now. There are some drugs that don't sound very appealing at all because of possible nasty side effects. But then, breathing is also rather desirable.

Plain oxygen is also a possibility but in my case I don't need oxygen, I need something to kick my breathing into action.

Practically nothing is known about this problem so I figure there might be somebody here with some experience.

Alistair Hosie
05-14-2012, 02:18 PM
I have this too and am on cpap for twenty years or more they give the machines here for free and I am onm my fourth machine anytime I need masks etc I just telephone them.I thought canada would have had the same policy.Alistair

A.K. Boomer
05-14-2012, 02:29 PM
That really sucks Evan, you don't sleep much to begin with and when you do you aren't really sleeping?

I have some issues with it - it's like I need to get worn out to get a really good nights sleep and that's even becoming challenged as Im incapable of "sleeping in" anymore,,, thats been for quite sometime, Hope you get it figured out...

05-14-2012, 02:31 PM
Contrary to popular misconception we do not have national or "free" health care. The provincial health insurance plan costs us about $1400 per year in premiums and only covers basic health care. That doesn't include drugs or most treatment devices and definitely does not cover any sort of CPAP unless you are on welfare. Extended health care is available from the same providers as in the US such as Blue Cross but is very expensive. I don't have any coverage and my wife's job doesn't have any benefits.

Rich Carlstedt
05-14-2012, 03:00 PM
Have the same problem Evan.
Mine was 39 events ( times ) an hour
Difference is that my oxygen would drop and the heart goes nuts.
Went on a VPAP machine. Must be like your comment, as it changes pressure to adapt to the breathing situation. Most CPAP machines do a contatant 5 (PSI ?) when operating. This one starts at 8 and goes to 15/20. When it senses that you stop breathing, the pressure goes up, forcing the lungs/brain to work.
My machine cost a little over 2 K$ but boy was it worth it.
I tell the Doc, that I will break someone's arm if they tried to take it away.
My events are down to 5, and as you said, no fix for that.

What a difference in life !

PM me if I can help anymore

05-14-2012, 03:03 PM
Not sure where you are located but CPAP machines are a lot cheaper below the 49th. My Blue Cross covered mine and I actually sleep now. I had terrific muscle pain that never went away until I started using. I have been on a full mask for about 8 months now. I was having over 50 episodes an hour continually not breathing.
In the Vancouver area there are services that provide a CPAP loaner to see it it will work through your specialist. The big thing is the "compliance" factor. Some people do not like an appliance on their face. For me not much different than at work. I was already trained to a mask.

05-14-2012, 04:00 PM
Thanks for the reply Rich. That is the sort of thing I need to know. The pressures is in inches water column.

Hobbyman, are you talking about the same type of sleep apnea? Was your oxygen going low? Unfortunately I am sure there is nobody here that does loaners of the VPAP type machine. They are just too expensive, even in the US.

I am already scheduled to go back for testing on a couple of types of machines in three weeks but there isn't much point if I can't afford to buy a machine. It's a 1000 km round trip and needs an overnight stay with those extra expenses. Right now I am asset rich and cash poor.

I don't know how I will take to wearing a mask at night. While I have no problem with masks when required for safety sleeping may be another story.

05-14-2012, 04:32 PM
Blah! make your own evan!

I recommend iron lung style. big tube, sealed at one end by a diaphram, little spandex neck seal and a little gear motor at the bottom operating the large diaphram via eccentric.

05-14-2012, 04:49 PM
I have that too, about 40 events per hour. I get up tired and just get more tired as the day drags on. I take a couple of No Doze (caffeine tablets) with lunch to keep from falling asleep running a machine in the afternoon. No health insurance, can't afford any treatments. I am trying to get my income level up to where I can try something. I have been this way all my life, but only in the last few years was able to put a name to it. I have had 2 sleep studies when I had jobs with insurance, but once they found out the problem they would not pay any more to do something about it.

05-14-2012, 05:04 PM
I have had this problem since at least the 1970s, possibly nearly all my life. In 1979 I was in Virginia at the Xerox training center and had a really bad attack of what I now know was this problem. It was the worst I have ever had. That night as I fell asleep I stopped breathing and it woke me up completely. I immediately drifted off again and immediately woke up again, right out of air. This went on all night long and every time I was just drifting off I would stop breathing and not start again until I woke up completely, gasping for breath. I don't know what made it so bad that time but that was the worst. I have had dreams of being underwater and not being able to get to the surface. I'm not afraid of water or swimming, when I was young I could swim the length of an Olympic pool underwater.

Mine must be especially bad because I also stop breathing when I am awake and concentrating hard on something. Of course, I am already awake so it isn't a big deal except that I have to purposely take another breath.

05-14-2012, 05:06 PM
I may still have a machine that I can give away. Its about 7 years old but hasn't seen extensive use, less than 1 year in total. It would need to be examined and a new mask obtained.

05-14-2012, 05:11 PM
What kind of machine is it? According to the Doc a regular obstructive sleep apnea machine won't work.

05-14-2012, 07:12 PM
What kind of machine is it? According to the Doc a regular obstructive sleep apnea machine won't work.

I have central sleep apnea, and the regular CPAP machine *does* help. Apparently few people have all of one kind of apnea; as I understand it, most people have a mix of types. A CPAP won't be complete fix for CSA, but if it can keep you from having a heart attack, it's worth the trouble. That's how I found out I had sleep apnea...

Some medical plans replace a CPAP machine every two or three years; you can sometimes find the old ones on Craigslist or eBay. There are several types of mask; you might have to experiment to find something you can put up with.

I had a *very* hard time getting used to the CPAP machine. The mask traps a bit of CO2, and I felt like I was smothering even with enough pressure to make my ears pop. Some of the newer masks vent quite a bit of air to try to correct for that. During the time I was trying to get used to the CPAP I acquired a "pulse oximeter", which is the little finger-clip thingie that measures your blood oxygen level. I found out that I quit breathing more in the early morning than I did when I first went to bed; splitting my sleep schedule up helped a bit; I wasn't working a job that prevented it.

I had checked into oxygen assist, but it turned out to be a regulatory nightmare in the USA. I didn't trust what might be in welding bottles, but I found out about those osmotic separators tire shops use to get nitrogen to fill tires. They keep the nitrogen and throw the oxygen away; I planned to buy the filter and run an air line from the shop. But about that time I got used to the CPAP and my wake counts went down enough to not worry about extreme measures.

05-14-2012, 07:22 PM

You are correct in that a regular CPAP machine will not work. You do in fact need the auto SV machine. It is the only thing that will work for folks with complex central sleep apnea.

An auto SV unit is basically a non invasive ventilator. It will "push" enough air to cause ventilation, or breathing. It is very effective, and I have seen it work wonders for folks who need it.

The central sleep apnea is something that we normally see in pt's that have pretty significant heart condition (like CHF), or renal failure. The process of respiration is very complex and difficult to explain. The body has a delay in the system, and has to play "catch up", our doc refers to it as a loop - gain effect. The body over ventilates the oxygen shoots up, and then "doesn't breathe" untill the oxygen goes way low, then it tries to catch up again, and over ventilates......

I've been wearing a cpap for about ten years. I'm also a pain in the arse sleep study tech that applies all those darn wires that everyone loves. I've been doing it about ten years as well. The auto sv is something that fairly new. It does work, given that two things happen. One, you wear it. and two, that you make sure that the mask has no large leaks. The machine's logarithm is based on tidal volume. If you leak large amounts of air, the machine can't adjust itself properly.

I look at cpap therapy, and auto sv as taking a medicine for our medical condition. Some people take their meds, and some don't . Everyone has to make the conscious decision to take it or not. It's only your health at stake, nobody else's.

I hope some of this rambling helped.

Brock in Ar (RPSGT,RST)

05-14-2012, 08:20 PM
Lots of good information guys. Thanks for responding. How will the mask work with my full beard? I can't shave as it tears up my face regardless of what I use to shave. That is the main reason I have had a full beard since I got out of the army. Also, my beard grows incredibly fast which was always a huge problem in the army.

Incidentally, I do have mild atrial fibrillation which is probably a result of minor damage from low oxygen at various times over the years. It isn't bad enough to warrant treatment at this time but I don't want it to become worse.


How common is it for people to have normal (above 90) O2 with a high number of events like I have? What difference will it make to what I need?

05-14-2012, 08:26 PM
Trim the beard down for best results.

05-14-2012, 09:05 PM
I am addicted to my cpac machine, I cannot sleep without it.
Had a hard time finding a mask that worked, always was trying the full face one and they would never keep a seal. Finally got a nasal pillow one and
it is used every night and nap times. The nasal one should work
even with the beard.


05-14-2012, 09:16 PM
Its likely just a regular cpap. Can't find out more tonight, but soon after, I'll give details.

05-14-2012, 09:20 PM
Not common to see that. Although i did see it last week in a young man (30's). Treatment will probably be the same. The one thing that is constant is that every person is unique. Based on blood chemistry an phsycal characteristics of each individual, each persons treatment will be specialized for them.

What im dancing around is that breathing is a very fine balancing act with chemicals in the blood stream. Lots of thing affects that ballance. Even body position can affect a change.

05-14-2012, 09:52 PM
I also have central apnea but with a twist. If I lay on my back, awake or asleep, I will stop breathing. It happens with such predictable regularity I can demonstrate it to skeptical doctors in their office. I have a fixed-rate cpap because my doctor did not believe me, and the insurance company would not spring for a variable-rate machine. I was willing to buy my own but could not get a prescription. My cpap machine does me no good at all when I'm on my back, and actually works best by keeping me awake longer than normal.

When I took my sleep study they did not allow me to sleep on my side or stomach, and I warned them the numbers would be alarming. I did not complete a full minute without an apnea event all night long. They would not re-run the test with me in my normal sleep position.

I never stop breathing while laying on my stomach or either side so long as I am rolled forward slightly. I'm concerned about this because next week I'm having a hip replaced and will be required to lay on my back a lot and that's just not going to work.

When I stop breathing while asleep I'm aware of it and will roll over automatically. Years ago before I knew what was going on I'd sleep on my back all night long.

In my investigations I've also learned that too much cpap pressure will increase the likelihood of apnea becoming central apnea. Home shop types are warned not to fiddle with the program!! :)

05-14-2012, 09:54 PM
I have used a Cpap machine for more than 10 years, it helps some, but not all.Something I have seemed to notice is that the flatter a person lays the worse the problem is. Laying part way back in a recliner seems to help as I don't seem to need the Cpap. It's not a nights sleep, but works as a nap.

05-14-2012, 09:59 PM
Laying part way back in a recliner seems to help as I don't seem to need the Cpap. It's not a nights sleep, but works as a nap.

About 15 years ago my wife bought me a very comfortable recliner and that was the biggest learning point for me and my apnea. That is when I learned I had it awake or asleep. Leaning back in the recliner and reading I noticed I was constantly gasping. So I started paying attention to my breathing, and created a film of me in the chair using a motion detector. As I'd pass from being awake to asleep the gasping became regular as a drum beat. It wasn't until I'd had a heart attack that I learned how dangerous that was.

I haven't used that chair since I saw the video.

05-14-2012, 10:43 PM
Absoutely correct. Cheyne stokes respirations are often times relieved by positional changes. CSR usually "goes away" when sleeping on the side and in REM sleep.

When checking in at hospital make sure they are aware of this.

05-14-2012, 10:47 PM
For folk that have a cpap and dont use it.....

Hey its only breathing. How important is that?!?

Sex and air are only important when your not getting any !

05-14-2012, 11:33 PM
How will the mask work with my full beard? I can't shave as it tears up my face regardless of what I use to shave

That's why I have a full beard. Peculiarly enough, leakage around the perimeter of the mask doesn't seem to be a problem.

If yours leaks for some reason, they have another rig that's a tube that passes over your upper lip, with two conical nozzles that go up your nose. I don't think I could stand such a thing, but a friend claims he likes his much better than the mask type.

05-14-2012, 11:37 PM
I've used a CPAP for obstructive sleep apnea for 15 years . I have a beard, and the nose pillow mask works well for me. Make sure you're using the best size pillow insert for your face, or it will leak and cause nose pain. I'm still very tired during the day, and I'm investigating whether I may also have Central Sleep Apnea. One of the biggest problems I've had is getting competent sleep studies done. I've had six sleep studies over the last 15 years, and probably only two were done in a competent manner. It took three studies alone to correctly diagnose the obstructive sleep apnea ! If you have a technical background, it's easy to see that sleep studies are only pseudo-science at this point, and the validity of the results vary widely lab to lab. To combat the daytime drowsiness problem, Provigil or Ritalin are often used, but they have limitations and side effects , and are certainly not a cure, but just a crutch.
For the last three months, I've been trying a home sleep diagnostic device called the Zeo . It employs a headband and wireless receiving module which measures brain waves, and provides a computer printout the next morning of my sleep stages. It's an interesting device, but has limitations. For instance, the data sampling frequency is every 30 seconds, which may miss short periods of awakening. ( The normal bar chart printouts show data in 5 minute increments, which is too infrequent , but the numerical data they provide are based on 30 second intervals) . There is a way to print out data in 30 second intervals if you transfer your data to a spread sheet program. The data will show your sleep patterns as you alternate from awakening to light sleep to REM sleep to deep sleep .
The ZEO device is not expensive ( around $100) and may provide some helpful information.

Your Old Dog
05-14-2012, 11:37 PM
Evan, I'm OSA, not your type. I have C-Flex machines that I use. Mine is set at 11 liters. My OSA rate was judged "severe" at 118 episodes per hour. If it comes down to it, you don't want the mask if you can make do with the nose pillows. I used the triangular mask for 10 years and they suck. The nose pillows are FAR more comfortable and last forever. The nose mask wears out about every 6 months but the deteriorate first. The design is such that one chamber for each nostril is filled with air which is then self-sealing against the inside of your nose. You barely have to tighten the straps at all, just enough to hold them in place over your nose. The mask requires strap pressure and can be painful and the strap gets stretched from body heat, body oder and rash on the back of the neck.....real fun!

Learn to dress the hose over your head, behind the pillow and over to the machine, it's far more comfortable for your upper lip which is incredibly sensitive. If you look you may find one that also runs on 12 Volts but you have to look. Very handy in my neighborhood which loses power about 4 times a year.

When you use these mask you have to breath and exhale through your nose. That means the pressure coming into your nose will try to explode your cheeks/lips unless you learn to sleep with your tongue lightly touching the roof of your mouth to shut off the mouth area from the incoming air. It is possible to do but takes constant effort. Also, if you have a deviated septum those BreathRightStrips work really well BUT NOT THE IMITATORS. I use alcohol wipes like used for taking shots to wipe the oil off my nose and then apply the Strip. I have a beard and the nose mask (not face mask of mouth and nose) seals just above your mustache and below the nose and covers the nose so beard wasn't a problem. A full face mask would be an entirely different matter.

I been broke my entire life and things like this were always disasters. I'm not broke anymore, actually I'm setting pretty as they say. If I can be of financial help I'm only too glad to help.

05-15-2012, 12:39 AM
Wow. It sure is nice to have friends. I really appreciate the assistance and offers. If I find myself in dire straights you might hear from me YOD. I have learned in recent years from my disabilities that I cannot always go it alone and some times when help is offered one should take it.

I am lucky that I am not suffering from low O2 levels. That gives me a lot more flexibility in dealing with this problem for now. As I said, it is likely because of large lung capacity which is just a fluke of nature. I haven't measured it in recent times but when I was young my forced vital capacity was about six litres. The average is around four. Also, I just this evening figured out the answer to a medical question that has been bugging me for years. My doctors also have been puzzled but never knew what to make of it.

My hemoglobin count has always been at or slightly above the maximum and didn't even go down much when I was undergoing phelbotomies for too much iron. It dawned on me this evening that it is almost certainly because of this breathing problem. The effect is the same as being at high altitude and the response of the body is to ramp up the hemoglobin as high as it can. It is a normal accommodation response to hypoxia. There must be times when my oxygen is below normal for whatever reasons.

That together with the lung capacity is preventing me from running out of O2. It doesn't stop the buildup of CO2 though and that is what finally triggers the brain to take notice.

05-15-2012, 12:39 AM
Hobbyman, are you talking about the same type of sleep apnea? Was your oxygen going low? Unfortunately I am sure there is nobody here that does loaners of the VPAP type machine. They are just too expensive, even in the US.

Yes my oxygen was going very low. I would wake up gasping for air. the unit I have senses my breathing. Once it is up and running it only gently pushes air into me. If I stop breathing then it responds.
Sorry to hear that you don't have extended. I had the option of a reduced pension and I took the reduced pension with blue cross extended health. They charged well over double the US price to blue cross. If I had not been covered I would have bought a unit in Washington state. I live about five miles away from a border crossing.
My unit is a Phillips Respironics. The memory chip is good for about 11 months of nights sleeping. The Respiratory therapist downloads and reviews the data log with me every six months now.
I really believe that it will extend my life preventing heart attack or whatever.
http://www.westcaremedical.com/ This is the outfit that supplied me through my specialist.

05-15-2012, 03:06 AM
I was diagnosed with OSA and bought the CPAP machine, as far as I know the OSA was due to my weight (127 kg at the time) I had a lot of trouble sleeping due to the noise from the machine and exhaled air. Now I am below 110kg and the machine is in the cupboard.

A.K. Boomer
05-15-2012, 08:33 AM
Like many have mentioned If I sleep on my back I wake myself up constantly, it seems to happen in the middle of a snore (which is the only time I snore is on my back) like I quit breathing and then something triggers a major response and then im up for a split second then the pattern repeats over and over all night long, hardly a way to get some good quality R.E.M.

Like many have mentioned it happens in a lazyboy chair or something similar,
I generally don't sleep on my back in bed - I sleep on my side and do not have this problem at all, I have a full length body pillow (its a stuffed carp - very fashionable) and this makes side sleeping much better and when positioned right with my pillow takes the load off of my shoulder joints that give me trouble...

Gives new meaning to the term "sleeping with the fishes" --- there's really nothing to be afraid of... it can actually be kinda fun...

05-15-2012, 11:24 AM
In addition to my several sleep lab studies, and the Zeo brain wave monitor, I've also rigged up an air flowmeter in my CPAP hose, and taken a 6 hour video tape of the flowmeter variations. Using the CPAP, when I breathe in, the air flow in the hose increases , and when I exhale the flow decreases. The pattern is quite easy to see . I'm using a flowmeter with a tapered glass body, and using a wooden thread spool for a puck, to replace the aluminum puck that comes with the flowmeter. I use a small flashlight to illuminate the flowmeter as I take the video tape. ( I'm using my old VHS camcorder, hooked to a VCR at the 6 hour rate.) The sound on the tape recording is also useful, since it helps to explain any temporary variations in the flowmeter action, such as if I roll over, cough, or take a deep breath . I watched all 6 hours of my last video tape, and except for a few minutes of shallow breathing about 5 AM, my breathing rhythm was consistent and regular. I suppose if I could get myself and the flowmeter into the video, it might be even better. While this setup doesn't measure blood oxygen or detect momentary awakenings, it's still a good additional piece of information.

05-15-2012, 12:42 PM
Evan: The machine is a ResMed S8 and has a HumidAire 3i humidifier. It was put into service Jan 2007, and used only until July when my mother fell ill, and was hospitalized until she died in November.

Of course, an agency would probably need to set it up for you

05-15-2012, 12:43 PM
I am building a breath monitor today that will interface to the computer beside the chair I sleep in. It will measure chest and gut expansions on two channels using a pair of stretch belts that produce a resistance change when they stretch. That will control the oscillator frequency of a couple of 555 timers and they will connect to the two channels of the sound card line input.

The recording software is Audacity with the display set to frequency. It is able to capture up to several years of data on the hard drive with sampling resolution of 8000 samples per second.

I am also doing research on how the respiratory system works. Respiration is controlled by CO2 levels in the blood via the chemosensors in the brain and 9th and 10th nerves that connect to sensors on the aorta. The brain does not use O2 levels as a measurement. It doesn't even respond directly to CO2 either but actually measures the H+ ion concentration of the blood which is the pH level. CO2 is the main determinant of H+ ion concentration on a short term basis but other factors play a big role too.

In particular, the acid/base balance of the circulation will modulate the respiratory response. This is a feature that is most applicable to central apnea since it is the response of the sensor system that is faulty in central apnea.

I am looking to modify the chemosensor response via diet by making my blood slightly more acid. By using the breath monitor I will be able to determine how effective various foods are when eaten just before bed time. The breath chemosensors are very sensitive to alterations in the acid/base balance and I think this may be a viable approach to controlling central sleep apnea.

05-15-2012, 12:45 PM

I will look it up and see if it is the right type. Even if it isn't I greatly appreciate the offer.

05-15-2012, 12:56 PM
Evan: It is of no use to me. Better that someone who may need it may have it.

05-15-2012, 01:14 PM
I looked up the device. That looks like the top of the line at the time. Although it isn't a servo unit it does have exhalation pressure relief and it may have a chance of being useful for me. I have an appointment in three weeks at the sleep clinic for testing how CPAP and VPAP work for me. It would be excellent if I could take that machine with me as I am sure they would include it in the test.

I will PM you my details and e-mail plus phone number.

Many, many thanks. If it isn't suitable I will return it. If it is suitable I will find a surprise to send you instead. In any event I will of course cover the shipping.

John Stevenson
05-15-2012, 01:33 PM
I been broke my entire life and things like this were always disasters. I'm not broke anymore, actually I'm setting pretty as they say. If I can be of financial help I'm only too glad to help.

Sod Evan, send new Bridgeport........................

05-16-2012, 10:47 AM
While fiddling around last night making something to measure my chest expansions it occurred to me that I was going about this the hard way. Instead I merely hooked a mic to my glasses and recorded my breathing during last night. Very informative.

I don't snore at all. I just plain stop breathing for up to half a minute. The pattern is very regular and goes on for a long time. Over a little more than two hours I was breathing in the apnea pattern for about one hour continuously.

This is what it looks like for me. Normally I should breath 12 breaths per minute but am only averaging 8.


05-16-2012, 11:09 AM
The nice thing about Audacity is you can change the tempo to anything you like, so just tweak it and you'll be fine :D

Seriously, it's good you're discovering all this because dying in your sleep is a hell of a thing to wake up to.

05-16-2012, 11:38 AM
It sure is spooky listening to the recording. Makes me shiver on the long pauses.

05-16-2012, 12:41 PM
It sure is spooky listening to the recording. Makes me shiver on the long pauses.

I rode across country on my Harley with a group a few years ago and on the way back many of us took different routes. The fellow I rode back with is a big guy, strong lungs (plays bagpipe). Some here know him, too. As soon as he fell asleep his apnea kicked in and there were times I thought I should wake him. Several gaps of more than 60 seconds between breaths!

I started harassing him as did others in our riding circle and he went in for the sleep study and now has a CPAP machine and battery pack that fits in his Harley's tour pak. He won't leave home without it and feels much better than without it. Speaking of windy, http://metalworkingathome.com/images/bagofcats.mpg :)

05-16-2012, 02:44 PM
I would suggest that anybody that has a problem with daytime sleepiness should do what I did and record their breathing while sleeping and have a listen. Very easy to do and could be a lifesaver. I wish I had thought of it a long time ago. I am very surprised that none of my doctors in the past haven't suggested it. My problem with not being able to stay awake has been a major problem for many years.

It wasn't until 2005 that my doctor at the time suggested a pulse/oximeter study. I now know that is worthless for a negative finding as it does not detect the sort of sleep apnea that I have. My blood oxygen doesn't fall low enough to indicate a problem but the problem is there anyway. While I am not suffering from lack of oxygen I am certainly suffering from lack of sleep. Every time my breathing stops it prevents me from falling into deep sleep. That is very bad for your body in the long term. It is during deep sleep that your body does the repairs.

A pulse oximeter can rule sleep apnea in but it cannot rule it out.

05-16-2012, 04:19 PM
Now that u can determine that your next breath is overdue, is there a way to somehow prod or jostle yourself to either remind or train your brain to take another breath?

05-16-2012, 04:38 PM
This might not be suitable for you if you always sleep in a chair, but just the other day I heard about a startup here that makes a sleep position trainer to combat apneu.

It appears to be a simple unit strapped to your chest that vibrates if you lie on your back. It helps to train you to sleep on your side. You could easily whip up something similar with an accelerometer, a vibration motor and a small microcontroller.


05-16-2012, 05:47 PM
I used to feel tired all day long too, but have never had a sleep study. One thing though, I've been taking Prilosec for 20 years and my doctor finally told me to take vitamin B12. That has made me feel much more alert. But I still don't seem to sleep really well. The "automatic" alarm clock usually wakes me an hour before the real alarm clock goes off at 4:00 AM.

05-16-2012, 10:48 PM
How about something like this?? it would seem to apply? http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-8159.1990.tb02108.x/abstract or even better this http://www.breathingpacemakers.com/breathing-pacemakers/introduction.html which specifically mentions central sleep apnea!