Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing is interrupted in sleep. Patients suffering from it usually snores loudly and there are also times when the brain forgets to tell the muscles to breathe. A reporter named Jay Hancock was suffering from moderately high sleep apnea. He was told to take a test at home which costed around $365. Then after getting the results the sleep-treatment center, they sent him CPAP machine which amounted to $600. After this the doctors recommended him to come for an overnight test which costed him about $1900 to titrate the CPCP air pump to optimal level.
The reporter asked the technician about the titration process, to which she said the machine that titrates the CPAP is called an ASV ( adaptive servo-ventilation) a machine that costs about 4000$ and one sitting isn’t enough, the reporter would need more than one sitting to calibrate the optimal pump pressure.
Really scared and concerned about the astronomical cost of the treatment for this condition the reporter did some research on his own, he found that most of the machines are very costly that treat a disease that occurs so frequently in the population. He also found the seep medicine industry is thriving on its expensive treatments and expansive definition of apnea as well as other sleep disorders.
The reporter also found that almost everyone breathes irregularly during sleep, it happens to different individuals at different time at night especially during REM sleep. REM sleep is characterized by rapid eye movement and dreaming. He also found that blood oxygen level also fluctuates during sleep slightly. According to the studies conducted in Europe under the international classification of sleep disorders shows that the large population suffers from the condition of sleep apnea, they complain of tiredness and other sleep related problems. The swiss city of Lausanne conducted a study it found that 50 % of its male population and 23 % of its female population to have sleep apnea diagnosis. The ages of the patients are 40 or older.
Other studies showed that sleep apnea was diagnosed even when the patients showed no drowsiness, the study was conducted by Erna Sif Arnardottir, the results surprised everyone. AASM ( America academy of sleep medicine) recommends broad screening people with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, against having sleep apnea even if they never complained about sleep problems. The US preventive services task force takes a more conservative view along with the European researchers, they feel there is insufficient evidence to support widespread screening of patients those who show no symptoms.
The reporter was given the diagnosis of central sleep apnea. The reporter concluded although he may have apnea but it was moderate and the high reading was a by product of the machine. The same thing happens to 5% to 15 % of the general population.
The reporter then conducted experiments on his sleep positions and readings on the home test machine. He found that he scored better when he slept on his side. Compared to the 26 interruptions when he slept on his back to 10 interruptions when he slept on his side in an hour.
He saw a marked improvement in his sleep when he slept on his side. After buying a oximeter and using a smartphone app he recorded the sleep interruptions and oxygen levels through out the night. This is also known as positional therapy. This, however, was not recommended to him by the specialists. This therapy is available on the official AASM website.
The reporter recommend to ditch the money wasting machines, like CPAP machines, surgery, mouth appliances and try other cheap alternatives, which seems to work far better than bulky expensive machines.
Most patients interviewed by the reporter said they donot like the machines in their beds. It may not help everyone, but it often takes practice to sleep on one’s side but it’s a lucrative alternative than sleeping with a machine in bed. [AB/KHN]