This is inspiring blog post that I came across from Dr Steven Park who is a world famous otolaryngologist who has dedicated his life to treating and educating the public on sleep disorder breathing. If you want to learn more about sleep apnea I highly recommend visiting his website at www.doctorstevenpark.com.
I posted this blog, because over 50% of sleep apnea patients give up on their CPAP treatment with in the first 3 months. If you are going on CPAP for the first time here are couple of things you want to keep in mind if you want the treatment to be successful.
It takes time for your throat muscles to build up to sleeping with CPAP pressure. This might take a couple weeks or sometimes even a couple months. So many people give up within the first couple of days without knowing that the body does eventually adjust to sleeping with CPAP pressure, it just takes time! You need to give it a chance of couple months and not a couple of days. And always remember to use the ramp feature on your CPAP machine to help adjust to the pressure.
You might need try several different masks to find the mask that works for you. Some people develop marks on the bridge of their nose and might need to switch to a nasal pillows mask or try mask liners. You might be constantly waking up in the middle of the night because you are opening your mouth while your sleeping with a nasal mask and you might to need to switch to a full face mask.
Just keep in mind about CPAP masks that there is no perfect mask out there. You might always have problems here and there with mask leaks and marks on your face when you wake up the morning. You just need to find the mask that keeps you breathing and sleeping at night the best. The one that works the best for you!
So what ever treatment you decide, keep on talking about the problems that you are experiencing with your doctor or dentist or CPAP equipment company. But whatever you do… don’t keep quiet and don’t ever give up!
And now Dr Steven Park’s blog:
Winston Churchill and Sleep Apnea
October 27, 2015
You’re probably guessing that I’m going to suggest that Winston Churchill had obstructive sleep apnea. He probably did, but that’s not the focus of this blog post. One of his more famous quotes, is “Never, never, never give up.” Unfortunately, many people with obstructive sleep apnea give up much too early. But time and time again, I see that people who are relentless usually find something that works. It can be one option after trying 10 different options. Or they may need to layer on two or 3 different options.
John was one such patient. He came to me after struggling with 3 different types of positive airway pressure machines (CPAP, APAP, bilevel), 4 different masks, and an oral appliance. We ended up doing palate and tongue base surgery. Surprisingly, he wasn’t disappointed when surgery didn’t help that much. His plan was to go back to trying his dental appliance again, which he preferred to CPAP. After a few weeks, he was happy to report that the dental appliance was working much better compared to before surgery. He tried CPAP as well, and was able to use it better after his pressure was lowered.
Jaime is a fashion designer that was struggling with APAP for the past 3 months. The machine reported perfect compliance, with no leaks, minimal apneas and 7 hours of use every night. She tried 3 different masks, without any success. Her DME (CPAP equipment company) suggested that she try a constant pressure rather than an automatic setting. Within 3 days of starting, Jaime called to say that she’s sleeping much better. This is in line with studies showing that some patients prefer APAP (automatic) over CPAP (constant) pressures, and some prefer CPAP over APAP.
Peter is a 60 year old man who came to see me with a list of 10 surgical procedures for obstructive sleep apnea, including 2 nasal procedures, 3 soft palate procedures, 3 tongue base and epiglottic procedures, and 2 jaw operations. I didn’t see any obvious areas of persistent obstruction on exam, so I was reluctant to offer any more procedures. However, sleep endoscopy showed severe collapse behind the soft palate. He underwent further soft palate surgery by another surgeon, with much improved sleep quality.
These are examples of patients that did not give up. I bet there are many more sleep apnea sufferers that have tried multiple options, but give up just before they find something that works for them.
Napoleon Hill, in his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” tells a story about a man who invested everything he had to mine for gold in colorado. He found a small vein, but it stopped all of a sudden. He kept drilling and drilling, but to no avail. Eventually he gave up and sold all his mining equipment to a junk man for a few hundred dollars. The junk man called in a mining engineer who determined that they should drill 3 more feet. Sure enough, there it was.
I’m not here to say that everyone who persists and never give up will be successful in overcoming sleep apnea. What I see is that more more persistent you are, the more likely that you’ll be able to find something that works for you. In addition to persistence, expert counsel is also needed at the right times. I realize that the above examples are on the extreme side, but I see this happening far too often for it to be a coincidence.
If you have a similar success story, I’d like to hear from you. How much did you have to persist, and how did seeking expert advice help you?