Hi everyone! I posted this on another thread and several had asked me to respond with more info, but by the time I did, the post had gotten buried and no one responded again after I provided the info, so I’m making a fresh thread
I have been using CPAP for 2 years but still periodically experience very upsetting symptoms of breathlessness right as I’m falling asleep, even when I’m wearing my mask. I say very upsetting because they wake me up over and over again repeatedly, sometimes for as long as two hours, as if my machine is not catching my events quickly enough.
I use a RemStar Auto with A-Flex, and my range is 9 -15 cm. I don’t use the ramp feature. I do use the A-flex, and I’ve tried it at all different levels (1-3).
My AHI for a night is typically between 1.5-2, so three different doctors have not been interested in helping me figure out why I’m having these symptoms. They just say, “But your AHI is good and you’re on an auto-titrating machine, so I don’t see how there can be a problem.”
However, I still have some nights where I suddenly get breathless as I’m dozing off. It happens when I am almost all the way asleep, so I have a hard time believing it is a mental thing. I can be relaxed and feeling fine breathing with the machine as I’m getting sleepy, but every time I drift off, I wake up with a large breath and the feeling of adrenaline sort of spreading through my body. (I was tested for heart problems before I got my sleep study and everything checked out perfectly, so it’s not that).
I tend to have more RERAs and hypopneas than anything, with a flew clear airways. On Sleepyhead, it looks as though RERAs are not counted in my overall AHI.
Below is a link to Sleepyhead data of one such night when I had a breathless feeling. I had four clear airways, four hypopneas, and two RERAs in the space of about fifteen minutes. I kept waking up over and over. http://imgur.com/o9NHw1U http://imgur.com/2DxSYGz http://imgur.com/MAzdfY8 http://imgur.com/5bOcT26
Here are screen shots of typical data from another night. As you can see, still a lot of events clustered together. On this nights, I don't remember waking up. http://imgur.com/9GcwLiu http://imgur.com/WEA6LIy http://imgur.com/cRX9zdC
Sometimes I will have nights with almost no events at all (perhaps 2 the entire night and no RERAs). Other nights look like the above. Some nights I have trouble falling asleep because of it for 1-2 hours; other nights I don't. It does tend to happen more often when I'm anxious or tense, but not always.
One thing I had considered: has anyone looked into Resmed's CPAP machine that supposedly has an algorithm specifically for female breathing patterns? I read that they are beginning to discover female breathing patterns are a bit different than male patterns and may need different algorithms in their PAP machines to fully address breathing problems. Anyone read about this/heard from your doctor about it/think this could be contributing to my problem?
I am anxious to find an answer for this and resolve it somehow. It's affecting my life because it makes me lose sleep at random times, and it prevents me from doing certain things like taking night-time cold medication or Dramamine or other meds I might need from time to time that affect drowsiness (as they tend to make the breathless waking symptoms worse and last longer).
Thanks for any help you can give! If anyone has suggestions of how I might get my doctor to better understand my concerns, I'm open to it.