Not long after, I started a course of auto-titrating positive airway pressure (AutoPAP). Literally within a week’s time, I had knocked my AHI (which measures the severity of sleep apnea by way of the Apnea Hypopnea Index) from 11 to less than 3.
Today, I routinely get AHI readings of 1.5. I also sleep through entire nights about 95 percent of the time. That’s pretty awesome for a post-menopausal woman!
It’s great to be in charge
So yes, my OSA is controlled. So is my fatigue, which arrives as the result of multiple conditions: OSA, RA, and MS. My cognitive fog is gone, I stopped using Provigil within the month following AutoPAP therapy and now rarely nap at all (maybe 5 or 6 times a year versus daily).
I have become one of those people who really can’t sleep without PAP therapy… and that’s just fine by me. My sleep is more sound, I awaken energized, I have more dreams, and my congestion problems are a thing of the past, thanks to the humidity option that is part of my therapy.
That also means I rarely get upper respiratory infections anymore. Should I get a head cold or the flu, PAP therapy tends to lessen their severity and shorten their length (again, props to warm, moist air, which is a lovely benefit of this treatment).
Do you want to take charge?
If you are thinking you might have sleep apnea (because you snore loudly, struggle to stay asleep all night, awaken with headaches or a raw throat, or are told you gasp in your sleep), don’t fear a diagnosis. Without a diagnosis, you cannot access a PAP therapy most appropriate to your needs.
Pay now or pay later: your choice
If you don’t have insurance, don’t despair. Cash options reduce costs somewhat, but you’ll still have to pay. However, it’s far cheaper to treat sleep apnea now than it is to cover the cost of open-heart surgery, disability caused by stroke, cancer or diabetes. An ounce of prevention is, indeed, worth a pound of cure.
Fear of the unknown is not an excuse not to try
Not sure you will tolerate it? Fear not. The mask, headgear, and PAP delivery options are so much better than the old days. I barely even notice I’m wearing mine at all, and I don’t have any of the problems people complain about (which are often the result of choosing the wrong mask or not adjusting the mask fit properly).
The machine itself is whisper-quiet and portable. I travel all the time without a problem. My bed partner much prefers it to my old snoring, gasping, cranky self, besides.
So heck yeah… Happy Anniversary to me and my PAP therapy… I cannot say enough things about how it has given me back my life!