Podcast #14: Your Sleep Apnea Questions Answered

In this episode, I answer 13 of your questions that I get through my blog, email, and conta
ct me page. This is completely live and unscripted. I have no ideal what Kathy will ask me. See below for a list of the questions.
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1. How much do you charge for a office visit or procedure? 
2. How can I make an appointment to see you?
3. Various questions about specific medical issues.
4. What’s the difference between upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
5. Will sleeping pills work for upper airway resistance syndrome?
6. Does sleep apnea cause brain damage? 
7. Are apneas more damaging on the brain than hypopneas?
8. What’s the relationship between depression and sleep apnea?
9. How do dental extractions affect sleep apnea?
10. Can nasal surgery cause sleep apnea later in life?
11. What’s the link between reflux and sleep apnea?
12. Can sleep apnea cause dizziness?
13. What questions should I be asking my doctor?
Show Notes:
Podcast 13: Which surgeon do  you recommend?
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5 thoughts on “Podcast #14: Your Sleep Apnea Questions Answered

  1. I have typical facial features for osa – flat face, small top jaw, deviated right septum, too many teeth. I think I always slept ok until giving up smoking in my 50’s. I realised I had a problem when I knew what time it was when I woke up because it was always 3 hours after going down. Stupidly I took up smoking again and my sleeping returned more or less to normal but the problem returned when I gave up smoking a few years ago. Around that time I also had a few bouts of farmers lung the last one with lots of nasal mucous including what I found out were obstructive apnea events after it set me googling and finding out about OSA and your site. I went to the Doctors but because I am thin they dismissed the possibility. Eventually I got rid of the mucous through nasal douches and using nasal strips at night – I am a mouth breather – but the sleeplessness continued. So I struggled on improving my sleep hygiene as best I could but with no effect. So now I have gone back to a different Doctor and said the magic word apneas, got reffered to a sleep clinic and have just completed an oximeter sleep study. So after a long absence I revisit your site and come across UARS and realise that that must be my story. Last night while finally feeling a little sleepy after 3 hours awake I notice at least 3 episodes of it: the first one a tingly/warm sensation in the back of my top palate just as I am falling asleep and then two separate exhale snores with the same effect. I call these episodes falling awake. I suppose they are a sort of sleep start.

    I have two points to make. Firstly what is it about smoking that seems to supress my uars. Could it be nitric oxide which is a key control substance in the brain re sleep and arousal and very prevalent in tobacco smoke? If so could this be a therapy somehow?

    Secondly that as in my example above and as you say you can have apneas without really getting them at all. There is no oxygen shortage or breathlessness because your body woke you up or kept you awake before it could happen. During my obstructive sleep apnea phase I found my body learnt to predict in this way. At one point I decided to raise my pillow which meant if I nodded off my head could fall forward and cut my airway. When it happened this caused an immense explosion’ in my head and heart to wake me. But when it happened a second time a night or two later I just got an ‘explosion’ – sleep start – below each ear. As the jaw relaxed it told me what was going to happen next and woke me.

    Thank you for all the work you do on this site and., well, good luck to all us sleepless ones.

  2. Peter,

    Thanks for sharing.

    Nicotine is a stimulant so not only will it make you feel more awake, it can also prevent you from reaching deeper levels of sleep, when your muscles are more relaxed.

    Also, bending your neck forward will close off your airway.

    Lastly, any kind of snoring or obstruction on nasal exhalation is suspicious of expiratory palatal obstruction, which I’ve describe previously on this blog.

  3. The point I was trying to make was that I did not have UARS when I smoked only when I stopped smoking. I gave up smoking in 2000 and then had sleep problems. I started smoking again in about 2008 and the sleep problem receded. Within less than one month of stopping smoking in early 2013 the sleeping problem came back.

  4. Yes, the more relaxed your muscles, the more likely you’ll have obstructed breathing, leading to more symptoms. I can’t prove this…just a possible theory.

  5. OK I understand. Sorry. I also seem to sleep less/more if I have a busy/slow day. Would the same argument apply i.e. hard work means deeper sleep to recover therefore more disturbance from relaxed musculature? Also why when I wake must I spend 2 – 3 hrs, say one sleep cycle, awake without dropping off? Thank you for your answers and apologies if I am asking too much. ‘