OT: anyone have sleep apnea here? Need to help my hubby

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HabsHockeyFan
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 3130
   Posted 1/2/2008 6:31 AM (GMT -7)   
My husband has increasingly gained weight since we met.  He always was a snorer and he has always had the apnea since I have known him.  It is just getting worse.  He has a new symptom that I was wondering if it is apnea related.
This past summer, he was getting out of bed and sort of passed out.  I don't know a better way to describe it, but he got glassy eyed and went to his knees from sitting on the edge of the bed.  Now it happened again the morning of the first--he was sitting on the side of the bed and "passed out" onto me.  I was asleep and not fully awake, but I almost think he twitched a little too.
I am very scared, but I can't make him go to a doctor again.  He was told to go to an apnea clinic, but never did---we both know it is the weight and he won't use an O2 mask.  Please tell me this is a part of apnea and not some new problem.
Dx'd '90 (emergency rupture), symptoms ignored long before that, '03 fistulas and bad flagyl reactions, B12 weekly, Pentasa [until I surrender to the bigger meds]
I'm riding on the escalator of life....


grouchygut1
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/2/2008 6:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Habs,
Sleep Apnea can cause many health problems and if severe enough, he could die in his sleep. I don't want to scare you, but I have worked in the med field for 20 years and just graduated nursing school. He has to see a doctor. It sound like to me, it could be his blood pressure dropping suddenly when he stands up, it is called orthostatic hypotension. Just a guess, good luck.

Stef17
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1811
   Posted 1/2/2008 7:17 AM (GMT -7)   
My hubby has it too -bad. I just watched the Biggest Loser last night and the doc said that if you lose 15% of your body weight it cuts out sleep apnea problems by 50%!!!! Is your hubby open to the idea of losing some weight? Can you do the burst-into-tears and "I'm-so-afraid-for-you" thing? Will that work to get him to go to the doc? Can you just force him? That's scary. I bet his blood pressure was low from being asleep and he just tried to get up too fast.

belleenstein
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 1010
   Posted 1/2/2008 8:14 AM (GMT -7)   
It took me five years to convince my husband to seek help for his sleep apnea. It was so bad that I could no longer sleep in the same room. Even two rooms away, if I awakened in the night, I would lie in bed listening to the silence, almost holding my breath in sympathy with him, just waiting for him to breathe and then get agitated by the sounds of him struggling to get air in. When he finally agreed to see a respirologist, it was only "for me", as though his sleep apnea was a problem for me not for him.

By that time, he was falling asleep at his desk at work, he was unable to function after supper in the evenings, falling asleep in the middle of conversations and basically just zoning out in front of the television. I was terrified when he drove. Even though his anxiety levels while driving are enough to make him hyper-vigilant, he admitted that he was finding it hard to stay awake behind the wheel.

We were lucky. He didn't have to go into a sleep clinic for assessment. Instead, the assessment was conducted at home using a monitor that was downloaded and read after the fact. The results were even worse than I imagined. At his appointment I had estimated that he was awakening (they call it arousals) five or ten times an hour. He was actually having up to 35 arousals an hour. That is when the oxygen saturation in your blood is so low that your hypothalmus kicks into survival mode. You start awake and that gets you breathing again. You may not come to full consciousness but you can imagine how much it affects the restfulness of your sleep.

Needless to say, a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine was immediately ordered and he has come to realize he needs it to survive. The difference in him was immediate. He regained energy he thought he'd lost due to age and began to enjoy life again. As much as he hates using his machine (he is a mouth-breather and needs a complete face mask, not just the small nasal mask) life without it just isn't imaginable.

His blood pressure is better and he has lost 40 pounds in the last year, mostly, I think, because he now has the energy to be active. He has another 30 to go before he is back to the weight he was before his troubles began.

The best part of all is that my husband has rejoined me in bed. That time apart has made us both realize how much comfort we take from each others' presence through the nights. I felt like I had abandoned him when I made the decision that, for my own health, I couldn't sleep in the same room with him anymore. But I think that was the catalyst that eventually prompted him to seek help.

Have you ever recorded your husband sleeping? I was driven to do that at one point, and while it was embarrassing and painful for him to listen to himself --he described the noise as a whole zoo full of animals -- he needed to hear what he was putting himself through every night.

From my experience, I know that i could never have "forced" him to seek help. Indeed, I am friendly with the respirologist who used to run the local sleep lab. When I described my husband's symptoms he was prepared to order the CPAP equipment and set everything up in advance of an appointment with just the GPs referral in hand (at that time the wait list locally for this service was more than a year). Even with that incentive, I couldn't get him to act. Not then. He had to be ready to deal with it.

All you can do is continue to express your concerns about what this is doing to his health and to point out the ways in which you see it impacting on him and on your relationship. Has his energy levels dipped? What about his interest in sex? Is he nodding off in the evening? What about driving? Try to help him figure out why he is so reluctant -- is it embarrassment, fear of the discomfort? Is he living in denial?

Clearly he is at risk. The passing out is most likely, as other posters have noted, due to positional hypotension, but it is not normal and should be assessed.

Good luck. Dealing with husbands who are reluctant to take charge of their health issues can be frustrating, but hopefully you can find a way to be his partner in the process not his opponent.
Belleenstein:

30+ years living with Crohn's.


TerryMSU
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 1/2/2008 8:47 AM (GMT -7)   
I suffered from sleep apnea that was related to predisone.  After the test, the doctor put me on a CPAP and I immediately slept much better.  When I got off the predisone, I no longer needed the CPAP.  I was not particularly heavy (actually quite thin).  I strongly recommend it.  My dad was much as Habs hsuband was.  He fought against the CPAP until my mom hen-pecked him enough to get him to do thge CPAP thing.  He had a lot of trouble getting a good fit on the mask, but finally got it right.  Don't give up and he will eventually get used to it.
 
By the way, I fought against going to the doctor too.  One night, I actually woke my self up with my snoring.  That was enough.  Man was I loud!
 
Terry
Diagnosed with Crohn's of Duodenum at U of M Ann Arbor in 1978.  Multiple small bowel blockages since then.  3 surgeries for blockages  (resections) including 1978.  On Azathioprine (Azasan) at 250mG per day,  Finally tapered off Prednisone (Hopefully). 


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/2/2008 9:00 AM (GMT -7)   

Good Morning,

Great Info shared with you already.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where you stop breathing during the night, often hundreds of times and for as long as a minute or more. When you prevent breathing, oxygen levels in your blood fall and levels of carbon dioxide increase. This causes the heart to pump more strongly and occasionally to beat irregularly, or even to stop altogether for several seconds. Your chest and diaphragm muscles work harder and your blood pressure increases. Eventually, the brain senses that your body is in trouble and wakes you sufficiently for you to start breathing.

What you described, IMHO, could be orthostatic hypotension which was already mentioned or you might look into having his Blood Sugars checked for hypoglycemia.  Another major cause of fainting is a slow heart rate.

He does need to see a physician as fainting is not normal, something is going on somewhere.  You might tell him that going to the physician's on his own beats an ambulance ride if he passes out and you cannot wake him up :)

My hubby does not like to go either but I am not to proud to harp at him.

Keep posting and know we care.

Kitt


 
Co-Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
Co-Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression, GERD, Osteoarthritis
*Wife of a Crohnie*
******www.healingwell.com/donate***
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
 


HabsHockeyFan
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 3130
   Posted 1/2/2008 9:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone! I thought about the hypotension thing---I used to be hypotensive before I gained weight. Funny how you meet the right guy and you both gain weight.

I had a serious talk with him yesterday for as long as he would listen. basically, I told him I can't live without him and jokingly that the life insurance on him isn't enough to let him kick off. I strongly presented what happened to him and didn't let him brush it off like he does. Problem is the more I push, the less likely he is to do anything. I have already started exercising in the middle of the living room floor in front of him--he just might start doing it with me if I keep this up. We have always joked that "If I ever start to look like that person (pointing out a fat sloppy person we see), let me know. Well, someone used him as the fat example and said our quote to his wife. Al overheard them and that kicked him a little.

I like the tape recording idea. he might pay attention to that, but I have to walk the line between interesting and pushing him the other way. I have the same GP as him and will bring this up at my next appointment. I got used to him not breathing in spurts and could sleep through it, but now I can't again. I am so scared that I could lose the guy that it took me 35 years to find.

Thanks everyone for your help and support
Dx'd '90 (emergency rupture), symptoms ignored long before that, '03 fistulas and bad flagyl reactions, B12 weekly, Pentasa [until I surrender to the bigger meds]
I'm riding on the escalator of life....


lamb61
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 1719
   Posted 1/2/2008 9:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Habs, Try and convince him to have a sleep study done. My hubby did this last summer because we all complained about his snoring. He was dx with sleep apnea and got a machine to use at night. It works wonders no more snoring and he's not tired all day now. Does he know anyone with an apnea/breathing machine? Maybe if he talked to them he might change his mind. Good luck getting him to go, keep us updated.
 


karendee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1642
   Posted 1/2/2008 2:52 PM (GMT -7)   

My youngest son had sleep apnea due to his tonsils being so large. we had them removed 12/21/07. He used to fall asleep all the time- in the car he would fall asleep in just a minute or two and he always had bags under his eyes. Now he even looks more rested with out the apnea. I am amazed that 10 days after surgery he is so much better and such a different kid!

 

I hope you can convince your hubby to get medical attention. Maybe letting him know how worried you are about him would help?

 

Good luck!

Karen


 ...

Karen (Karendee)

Diagnosed w/ Crohn’s Disease  March 2007 On 150mg Azathioprine (generic Imuran), Pentasa, & Entocort (take zofran for nausea now)

Diagnosed w/  Fibromyalgia May 2007 also on Soma

Also have Arthritis, and feel like I am falling apart sometimes...


clavman
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 1/3/2008 3:05 PM (GMT -7)   
I work with 2 people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and swear by the CPAP.
I was diagnosed as having sleep apnea towards the end of 2006. Never felt like I had it in the first place, but sleep study said I did. I didn't want to do it either, but did it for my wife and kid. I tried the CPAP mask and could not sleep at all with it on or the BPAP(the next step). Doc said only other option was surgery which may or may not work. Fortunately(??) for me, I got sick with Crohn's disease, went from 160 lbs to 140 lbs and was pronounced cured of the sleep apnea. Strange how life works sometimes.
Hmm, now I wonder what can I contract that would cure my Crohn's?? Unfortunately, I am sure that if there were something, it would only be something even worse.
Bob
47 years old
Dx 3/07 Moderate Crohn's in terminal ileum-Probably had it for years earlier
Rx Prednisone initially for 8 weeks-40mg/day then tapered down to 0
    Currently on Pentasa-2000mg/day


FallColors
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1220
   Posted 1/3/2008 8:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I know from experience that when pleading doesn't work, a good dose of reality can do the trick. State very clearly that sleep apnea is very likely to kill him. Therefore, you need to prepare for this event. Ask him to explain your life insurance plan and investment plan. Let him see that you are investigating Social Security death benefits and ask him to get information about his work's retirement plan death benefits. Bring home funeral home advertisements, ask him to pick out a casket, and plan his own funeral service. And prepare a will, living will, power to attorneys, etc.

I am quite serious! All these things are good to do anyway. And if it gets him to realize how serious his condition is, he might help himself!!

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/3/2008 8:31 PM (GMT -7)   

Hey there,

Hopefully his physician will lay it on the line...........he needs to go to the sleep lab and be tested.  It is painless............lol, he just has to sleep.  The CPAP machines are much better than the earlier ones and less cumbersome. My FIL has one as many of the patients at the hospital had them.  They are compact and he can take it with him whereever you go if he needs one.

He will feel so much better if that is his problem and it could very well be.

Gentle hugs to you and you are a wonderful advocate for your husband.

Kitt


 
Co-Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
Co-Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression, GERD, Osteoarthritis
*Wife of a Crohnie*
******www.healingwell.com/donate***
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
 


HabsHockeyFan
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 3130
   Posted 1/4/2008 5:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone! I am still scared for him, but am finding ways to convince of the seriousness of this problem. I make short spurts of VERY serious discussions that do not let him talk. Just 5 minutes of "You are going to die on me. I do not want that. I do not want to be alone with your family!" I always end with a slightly humorous remark, but still a VERY serious tone--it is making him listen without turning him off.
He has a bad sinus cold so exercise beyond working outside all day in 10degree weather is not happening, but that is my next goal.
I really appreciate all of your support!!!!
Dx'd '90 (emergency rupture), symptoms ignored long before that, '03 fistulas and bad flagyl reactions, B12 weekly, Pentasa [until I surrender to the bigger meds]
I'm riding on the escalator of life....

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