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General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
JennyLouWho
 
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Is It Possible to Have Apnea While Awake?

Postby JennyLouWho on Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 pm

I have what may be a really silly question....IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE APNEA WHILE AWAKE? My DH says that while I am reading, watching tv, cross stitching etc. (anything that I get "lost"in), it seems that I am holding my breath or not breathing for a time. He says it is very similar to what he had observed as I slept before CPAP. Is this possible?? And if so...why would one do this? Thanks for all your help.


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robbieh
 
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Postby robbieh on Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:34 pm

I do the same thing...hold my breathe that is, especially when playing computer games or when I am tense. I have no idea why. I also grit my teeth. Makes no sense but there you are!

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Postby Wolfmarsh on Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:38 am

Yeah, i really think its possible. Lots of times i choke or snort and realized i havent been breathing, especially when I am laying down on the couch watching tv.

I have really severe OSA though, during my sleep study, my average was 168.

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Postby jabberwock on Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:09 am

I also find myself frequently holding my breath, or just kind of forgetting to breath. I don't know why I do it. I guess it might be compared to a central apnea, where my brain forgets to tell me to breathe ??

Bonnie

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Re: Is It Possible to Have Apnea While Awake?

Postby Sergey45 on Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:59 am

JennyLouWho wrote:I have what may be a really silly question....IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE APNEA WHILE AWAKE? My DH says that while I am reading, watching tv, cross stitching etc. (anything that I get "lost"in), it seems that I am holding my breath or not breathing for a time. He says it is very similar to what he had observed as I slept before CPAP. Is this possible?? And if so...why would one do this? Thanks for all your help.


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Re: Is It Possible to Have Apnea While Awake?

Postby Patrick A on Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:12 am

Sergey45 wrote:
JennyLouWho wrote:I have what may be a really silly question....IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE APNEA WHILE AWAKE? My DH says that while I am reading, watching tv, cross stitching etc. (anything that I get "lost"in), it seems that I am holding my breath or not breathing for a time. He says it is very similar to what he had observed as I slept before CPAP. Is this possible?? And if so...why would one do this? Thanks for all your help.

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Postby atruvirgo on Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:49 am

Same here! I thought it was just me! Glad to hear I am not alone. I do hold my breath...often.... I don't know why but I thought it was stress. I even asked my MD if I was holding my breath while asleep and possibly didnlt have true apnea. He never answered me.

So from the responses here I would conclude that for some unknown reason we all do hold our breaths or forget to breath even while awake.

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Xian
 
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Postby Xian on Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:55 am

A different take on this: I am experiencing sleep apnea when I am awake, but only when I meditate (stress reduction strategy... it works!). I think a lot of people would consider stitching, knitting, computer games etc to be "meditative"... gets your brain to function in a different mode, very much like some stages of sleep. For me though, it does not happen if I meditate sitting up, only if I meditate laying on my back (which I stopped doing, for obvious reasons... how can you relax when you are afraid of chocking!!!). So I do believe it is very much related to sleep apnea.

So, are any of you knitting laying down on your backs??? :shock:

Seriously though, I think “holding your breath” is very different from sleep apnea. I am sure a lot of people do it when concentrating on something else (have you ever taken an aerobic/ab class… can you remember the instructor telling you to not forget to breath???). I think even my dog stops breathing when he concentrates on trying to catch that squirrel!!! My personal opinion (no expert here!) is that it has little to do with sleep apnea, and I doubt you would “die” while knitting or playing a computer game!

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JennyLouWho
 
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Apnea While Awake

Postby JennyLouWho on Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:13 am

Thank you all for your quick and informative replies! (I can ALWAYS count on my buddies here!) It IS reassuring to know that I am not the only one who does this. My DH said that it is not so much as holding my breath, for he observes me breathing normally (although I do not take near as many breaths as he does normally anyway....is this part of OSA?) as it is that it seems to him that I just, as someone said....FORGET to breathe. I was not even aware of it. Now, I am overly conscience of my breathing, which disrupts my normal breathing pattern; but I guess that will go away. I think I will ask my pulmonologist when I next see him and get his opinion.Seems like it would make sense to me since, as I understand it, some OSA patients have some mis-wiring (or something) in their brains that causes one to "forget to breathe". I also need to ask him about my deviated septum. I was told years ago that I have one. Also, enlarged tonsils. What is y'alls experience with that. Should I consider surgery for this or not? Didn't think it was a big deal years ago, but....maybe so?????? Do I need to schedule a trip to the ENT do y'all think????

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Postby jabberwock on Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:31 am

Regarding surgery, I have read an awful lot of messages that say that surgery such as you describe will not "cure" sleep apnea, so I wouldn't have anything done if that is your goal.

If, however, you experience difficulty breathing because of the deviated septum and/or enlarged tonsils, corrective surgery may improve your cpap therapy since the air would have a more open pathway to follow and may reduce your titrated pressure.

Just my opinion.

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apnea while awake

Postby Catnapper on Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:43 am

When I first started with cpap I definitely became more aware of my breathing all the time. All my life I have held my breath when I am concentrating on something - say like threading a needle or anything that required me to be still or quiet. I wondered the same thing about awake apneas. I think I was just holding my breath, not closing the airway because of an obstruction. It was an intentional act even if I was not fully aware of it, just a behavior I had utilized through life.

Now that I am a more experienced hosehead, I seldom notice my daytime breathing so much. I have noticed that I don't hold my breath as often either. I would guess that over time you will become less aware of your breathing as you get past the newness of cpap.

This cpap stuff takes time to become accustomed to it. There are lots of new feelings to discover. You will be surprised at how many of them are good.


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Holding Breath

Postby jilkurtz on Wed Jun 27, 2007 11:28 am

My pulmonologist says everybody has a different level of CO2 that triggers their breathing mechanism. I regularly stop breathing and always have. Part of it is having huge lungs (when I was a kid I could stay underwater for 4 minutes at a time).

So, once I got the machine, I started watching. I have a swift face mask and can wear glasses and read while wearing it. I put my gear on when I go to bed and read before falling asleep. Sometimes that takes and hour or more.

If it's more than an hour I will get up and take a sleeping pill. On these occasions I check the machine and it regularly registers 10 hypopneas in the previos hour - and I've been awake the whole time!

I'm not so concerned about my AHI index anymore - because the bulk of it is hypopneas and that is just the way I normally breath. If the apneas are below 5, I'm happy and can pretty much ignor an AHI of 11 because 9 or 10 of it is the hypopneas.

jill


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Postby split_city on Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:03 am

Xian wrote:Seriously though, I think “holding your breath” is very different from sleep apnea.


Exactly right. However, central sleep apnea is kinda like holding your breath.

You would never have an obstructive event while awake. Muscles around the airway keep the airway open when you're awake, even in severe sleep apnea patients.

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Re: Holding Breath

Postby split_city on Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:08 am

jilkurtz wrote:My pulmonologist says everybody has a different level of CO2 that triggers their breathing mechanism. I regularly stop breathing and always have. Part of it is having huge lungs (when I was a kid I could stay underwater for 4 minutes at a time).


Very true. Taking a deep breath dilutes the CO2 stores in your lungs. As breathing is regulated by CO2 levels in the blood, you don't feel the urge to breath as much after a deep breath e.g. a yawn. Furthermore, when you wake up, you tend to overbreathe via big breaths. This blows off your CO2 stores which makes you underbreathe. Unfortunately, your upper airway muscles are regulated by CO2. Low CO2 --> switches off muscles. Therefore, your airway is vulnerable to collapse when you start breathing again (when you fall asleep) because these muscles are switched off

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Postby DawnTCB on Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:18 am

It would also seem to me that daytime "apneas" while you are awake would not be as damaging as true sleep apneas, because (a) you are not losing your restorative sleep which causes all the long-term effects, and (b) it is not possible to hold your breath until you die.

That said, I catch myself doing it too, mostly when concentrating but occasionally when I am just "lost" in something. It definitely feels weird. :D

Dawn

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