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lew

Sleep apnea & headaches

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My daughters 39 years old now and has suffered from headaches most of her life, both migrain & "regular"

 

She's had every test known to man and can often control them with medicine but someone suggested recentely that it could be caused in part because of sleep apnea. She went to a sleep clinic last Wednesday where they hooked her up to monitors and she spent the night. Today she went back for the results and sure enuff, she has sleep apnea and according to the results, she actually stops breathing on average 95 times per hour....that's hard to imagine.

 

She had a long talk with the folks at the clinic today and she has to get an oxygen machine to wear while she's asleep and they seem to think that it may do alot to stop many of the headaches that she often wakes up with.

 

The machine they recommended is $1900 but evidentely OHIP picks up alot of the tab and her insurance policy thru work will pick up most, if not all of the balance.

 

I'm just curious to know if any of you fine folks have suffered from alot of headaches, have sleep apnea, and did the oxygen at night help to reduce or eliminate your headaches ??

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Lew, yes I've got a borderline case of sleep apnea, they did the test, yada, yada, plugged me into the Darth Vader air compressor, what a fight. Went back several times for different masks, full face, nose only, the best I did was 2 hours. The last horrible episode had me wake up with about 50 psi inside me and ready to hurl..very far. I guess somehow it was filling my gastro intestinal tract for quite a while. Anyway, burped and pharted for an eternity. Next morning the machine went back. There is another alternative they advertise, it's a dental fitting that prevnets snoring, advertised a lot on the radio. Here's the link: http://torontodentalcare.ca/dental_services/snoring.html

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Interesting stuff about the dental fittings Fisherman, but snoring isn't her problem, it's more about the headaches and that hopefully the extra oxygen may be able to somehow reduce them.

 

And Wayne, I know all about my bud in Burlington, but the bad headaches were never his main problem.

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Been on the CPAP for a couple of years now. The frequency of my migraines has reduced considerably. Machine don't work worth a darn if the sinuses are plugged. A drawback during allergy season.

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The frequency of my migraines has reduced considerably.

 

 

Thanks Bruce, that's encouraging to hear.

 

I'm one of the fortunate ones who never gets headaches, but when I see my daughter in so much pain somedays it makes me wish I could trade places with her sometimes.

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CPAP can be a life changer and a life saver. Don't hesitate. Go for it. Haven't missed a night beginning July 18, 2008. There are lots of options for the type of mask. Find one that works.

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Hey Lew, I can't speak to the relationship between sleep apnea and headaches, but my dad used to have crazy headaches and sleep apnea, Chiropractic helped both considerably.

 

THere was an issue with his neck and Chiro dealt with it very well.

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Lew most places to get those CPAP machines will let you try it for 1 month before you have to pay anything. Then she will be able to try a lot of differents masks. I have been suffering from migraines for most of my life too. I went to the sleep clinics and I too had sleep apnea. I tried the CPAP machine for a month and tried a whole bunch of different masks and I could not get used to sleeping with a mask. Thank God I didn't pay all that money before hand.

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Have to admit it took 2 months to get used to the mask. However, even if the mask is only worn part of the nightit is still beneficial.

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I've got three people very close to me who wear the "Vader Mask" They won't say "wash my winky" though??? (new Arthor movie line). They swear by them. Took them a bit to get used to using it. They have noticed less headaches and fatigue by using them.

 

I toss and turn too much to be able to use one? I figure I would die of suffication like a boa constrictor if I tried....

 

A rumour I have heard, but cannot confirm. If you are prescribed the kit, you must ALWAYS use it. It records when you do and such. If you get in an accident and have been found guilty of not using your kit you could be charged?

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A rumour I have heard, but cannot confirm. If you are prescribed the kit, you must ALWAYS use it. It records when you do and such. If you get in an accident and have been found guilty of not using your kit you could be charged?

CPAP is also used in treatment of narcolepsy, which is a more serious condition. Not only do you risk being charged, your insurance would be void and you would face immediate suspension of the drivers license. The doctor also faces being in deep doodoo.

Cosequences similar to driving as an epileptic.

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Have a friend with severe sleep apnea - diagnosed at 35'ish - and the machine was a life saver. He swears by it. Not sure if he had headaches though..

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FINALLY, a topic I know something about. :P

 

For years I suffered from headaches, but I never connected it to sleep apnea because when I made a conscious effort to eradicate any trace of aspartame and monosodium glutamate from my diet, they went away. I *rarely* ever get a headache anymore. MSG in particular is difficult to avoid, because they put that into almost EVERYTHING, even things you would think there's no reason to put it in, there it is. Even if your daughter's headaches are not related to MSG intake, it can't hurt to cut it out.

 

That being said, here's a bit of my sleep apnea story...

 

Back in very late 2005, I was starting to get pains in my chest a lot. I weighed less then than I do now, too (though I'm currently working on it harder than I ever have). I kept going into the ER and they always told me my heart was fine. I had to talk to a counselor, as they thought it was due to stress. They didn't find a problem. Anyhow, it would come and go. Sometimes, I couldn't breathe, it was very painful and scary. I almost passed out at work and had to lay down on the floor in the hallway one day. A day or two later, I had such severe pain in my chest and such a sense of dread overcame me, I was terrified to lay down to sleep. I really believed that if I tried to sleep, I would not wake up. I went again to the ER. They stuck me with some kind of needle and I don't even know what it was to this day, and at the time I didn't even realize what was going on, nor did I care. I thought I was - and I likely was - on the verge of dying. They also gave me a referral to the sleep clinic.

 

It is a bit of a blur from that point until the sleep clinic appointment, which was sometime in 2006 I believe. I felt somewhat better, but I was on meds for the pain. I also acquired a family doctor, but he was fairly useless - just kept telling me to lose weight, and I spied his notepad once, where he had written "Depressed?" on it... Uh, I wasn't depressed. Anyhow, about a week or whatever after my sleep clinic appointment, I got my results. I went in to talk to the sleep doctor, and he assured me it had little to do with my weight, and that he had it himself, and supposedly about 1 in 3 or 1 in 5 people have it and most don't even know. Anyhow, I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. My AHI was only 31 - I believe "severe" begins at 30. Severe sleep apnea requires either invasive surgery or a CPAP machine (there's another type of machine that does bring air in and pulls it out, I forget the name right now). The dental appliance options are not going to do anything for severe cases of sleep apnea, only mild and sometimes moderate cases... I asked. I really didn't like the idea of having to use a mask to sleep at night... An AHI of 95 is very severe.

 

What happens is, when you have an apnea or hypopnea while sleeping, you stop breathing in or out, some flaps of skin in your windpipe (lol, I don't remember the correct terminology here) cuts off the flow of oxygen. Your brain sends a shot of adrenalin through your body, and you start breathing again (a partner might notice this as a snore or a snort, when it's really your body gasping for life). This happens to me 31 times in an hour, and to your daughter 95 times in an hour... Your body will grow more and more tolerant or immune to, and fatigued by the adrenalin, so the risk of death increases the more it happens. Dental appliances will pull the bottom jaw ahead, opening up the airways, but again, only works for milder cases than mine. CPAP will force air down to the lungs (not actual oxygen - there's no tank, just whatever is in the room in the air), essentially ensuring you continue to breath all night long. This is the way it was explained to me by the doctor, more or less.

 

So anyhow, the shop lent me a machine to try it out, and some device to track my oxygen levels overnight and the first morning after, I had felt better than I'd felt in many, many years. I couldn't believe the difference! I've been using a machine ever since, and yeah, it sucks, but it's just something I have to do now. It makes traveling a pain, and camping a rarity. But I feel a whole lot better than I ever did before. I've been exercising every other day since March and eating better, and getting out of the house a lot more lately. I'm hopeful that when I get my weight down, my sleep apnea severity will lessen, but I'm not banking on it. It can't hurt, and it'll benefit me in a multitude of other ways.

 

One other thing to consider is the type of mask. I started off with a nose-only but ended up my mouth would open in the night and that renders it wholly ineffective. A full-mask is what I would really recommend, so you can be sure it's going to work. AND it will work if you're stuffed up with a cold, since it can force air in through the mouth. The only real downside to it is the rash on my face from the rubber part of the mask. :\ But it's that, or potentially die. I wear the mask.

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Lew I have sleep apnea also the mask help's me alot in the fall and winter ,I can't use it spring and fall due to allergies but I do not get headaches when I use it .And there is no recording device in it .I had similar readings as your daughter and it helps me alot when I'm not plugged up and I can't use the full face mask.

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There are two types of sleep apnea, Central and Obstructive. They differ from causes. Obstructive is a blockage or collapse of the upper airway (could be from large necks, tongues, etc) and central is a result perhaps a neurological or central nervous system lapse. Both can be independent or mixed. Mixed is starting to become more and more common. The important thing is to continue to use the equipment. I have seen a great deal of improvement in many CPAP users. Generally the gov will cover 75% of the cost of the CPAP unit under a program called the ADP (Assisted Devices Program), Oxygen coverage falls under the HOP (Home Oxygen Program). Both programs are for Ontario.

Again,

The important thing is to continue to use the equipment.

Hope this helps with some background info.

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Lew I have sleep apnea also the mask help's me alot in the fall and winter ,I can't use it spring and fall due to allergies but I do not get headaches when I use it .And there is no recording device in it .I had similar readings as your daughter and it helps me alot when I'm not plugged up and I can't use the full face mask.

 

There are a lot of different kinds of full-face masks, so maybe you just need to find the right one? They should let you try them on at the store and test seal and fit, etc. I tried a bunch and only found one that would work well for me.

 

For data recording, are you sure yours doesn't have that feature? My machine does have a card that records data, and the machine itself stores data and I can browse it from the menus (it's not detailed, mostly just summaries for certain ranges). I don't know anything about them checking the card, and I'm not sure if my machine would operate without the card in the slot.. I know if I ran Windows on my PC I could buy a little USB card reader and software to see detailed data, like what they use at Shoppers Home Care or other similar companies. Even the bottom-of-the-line machine I borrowed originally also had a card that stored data but no way to browse it. They could check at Shoppers though, and show me the data. I think you have to pay for them to show you the data, though. There's probably card readers and software for any cards out there.

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The headaches are almost certainly coming off a lack of oxygen. The membranes surrounding the brain (Where the pain comes from in headaches) are full of blood vessels, so a lack of oxygen (and more importantly build up of carbon dioxide) that would come from stopping breathing 95 times an hour will manifest somehow. The membrane is going to start cramping, which causes the headaches. In severe cases the membranes can become inflamed which hurts even more. The CPAP will definitely help. Whether the CPAP is uncomfortable or not, sleep apnea puts a real strain on the heart long term and she needs the mask. Hopefully when she uses the CPAP, the headaches will go away or at least lessen. The masks are not as "darth vaderish" as they used to be, some are even cloth now, but some of the guys above will know alot more about what is available than me.

 

I just did a sleep test and thankfully I don't have apnea, but do have delayed sleep phase disorder whatever the hell that is.

 

Good luck!

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Lew,

 

The CPAP machine is worth each and every penny!!

 

The machine provides constant air pressure into the throat so that the soft palet does not collapse thus blocking your airway.

 

WHAT A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE!!!

 

No more head-splitting migraines.....no more high blood pressure.

 

Tell your daughter not to hesitate!!

 

Meely :sleeping_02: <-------- That's a joke....

Edited by Meely

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Lew,

 

The CPAP machine is worth each and every penny!!

 

The machine provides constant air pressure into the throat so that the soft palet does not collapse thus blocking your airway.

 

WHAT A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE!!!

 

No more head-splitting migraines.....no more high blood pressure.

 

Tell your daughter not to hesitate!!

 

Meely :sleeping_02: <-------- That's a joke....

 

I was wondering when you might chime in.

 

Lew...everything the big guy says X2 :clapping:

 

I am a fellow Darth Vader since 2004

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts & input and I'll be sending this post to my daughter for her to read today.

 

I'm actually kind of surprised that no doctor has ever sent her for testing for apnea for her headaches when it seems so many folks have it and have been helped with the masks.

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Thanks for posting this Lew. I have been suffering with what I think is sinusitis for a long time now. Had surgery to fix a deviated septum and my headaches/forehead pressure still persist. I think the next step will be a sleeping test as I definetely do snore and feel tired in the mornings.

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The doctors didn't think of prescribing a sleep study because your daughter probably didn't present the classic symptoms associated with sleep apnea (loud snoring, always feeling tired, etc). If she did and was diagnosed, there would also be a chance that the doctor would be forced to have her driver's license revoked unless she agreed to CPAP therapy (public safety issue with falling asleep at the wheel).

 

I suffer from severe sleep apnea. Since I've been diagnosed, I've been using a CPAP, and it's made a considerable difference in my life. Yes, it's a pain to wear the mask, and probably something you never get completely used to -- but hey, now I can get up at 4am fully refreshed and get on the water for that early morning bite. :)

 

Anyway, the government does subsidize your first CPAP machine if purchased locally through an approved vendor (who will help with the paperwork). If she has private insurance (through her employer or otherwise), then that should take care of almost all of the remaining balance, depending on coverage.

 

However -- if she doesn't have private coverage, it's worth looking into getting a sleep apnea machine shipped from the US, which is legal, although she won't be entitled to receive a government subsidy. That said, I believe that Canadian prices are heavily inflated (because of the subsidy). You have more choice (with better machines with more features and more control over your machine), and the costs are substantially less -- even without subsidy.

 

It's an option worth considering if cost is an issue, or if your daughter eventually wants a backup machine, replacement or just more control over her therapy. If she's interested -- make sure she holds on to her prescription (or makes a copy of it if she gets her first machine locally). She'll need it as a condition of purchase since it's a medical device.

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Thanks for posting this Lew...I had the sleep apnea test a couple of months ago and figured I failed as I don't remember sleeping at all but evidently I did drop off for about fifteen minutes just before they came at 05:00am to wake us up (I was awake) and they said I do stop breathing when I'm asleep...

 

My doc now wants me to go back to the clinic and talk with the nuerologist and maybe try a mask...I have to let him know on Tuesday when I see him...

 

Both Meely and CPH swear by the CPAP but another friend of yours and mine tried the mask but couldn't sleep with it...seeing as I suffer from a mild case of claustrophobia I kinda wonder if I'm in the same category but I am willing to give it a try...dunno.gif

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