links for 2010-02-09

Continue Readinglinks for 2010-02-09

I have glue in my hair

I had two health appointments last night and this morning: my follow-up sleep study to see how well I’m doing on my CPAP machine, and my follow-up cardiologist appointment to see how I’m doing after my surgery.

I didn’t manage to get all the glue washed out of my hair from the electrodes that were glued there for my sleep study last night. I had 16 of them attached to my head and face and other body parts. This time, though, I had fewer things to deal with; I had only one microphone glued to my neck rather than 2, and no breathing tubes, because I had the machine.

One of the things they mentioned, that I noticed, too; I have dreams again. I’m actually sleeping long enough to fall into REM sleep and have dreams, which I wasn’t doing before; their study showed I wasn’t getting any REM sleep at all. This had probably been going on for years actually, which you can tell if you look at the dreams section of my journal, where there’s a gap of about three years between dreams that I remember enough to write down. So the return of dreaming is a really Good Thing, as Martha would say.

The cardiologist’s appointment was really short and not much happened. I expected to have a electrocardiogram, but they didn’t do one. And Dr. Yee didn’t even realize I had the heart valve surgery; he had to take notes. He listened to my heart and said everything sounded good. I should be walking a mile a day, or biking, etc. I also should be able to lift whatever I normally lifted before surgery. I’m supposed to see him again in on October 17th at 9:00 am and they’ll do an electrocardiogram then, and then again once a year for the next several years to monitor how my heart is doing.

While I was in the waiting room, I was watching the health channel they have on TV — same one that I wrote about before, with the dog trained to detect a woman’s epileptic seizures before she had them, to warn her so she could prepare. Turns out the channel I was watching is Accent Health. Here’s a news article on the subject.

I made notes this time because the program today was on healthy eating; they said studies show that lycopene in tomatoes can reduce women’s risk of heart disease by 30% if you eat 1/4 cup of tomato sauce a day. I wonder how that translates to V-8 juice.

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CPAP Breathing Machine

I’ve been using the breathing machine for my sleep apnea since Thursday evening, and I think it’s a success. I feel much better rested now and able to concentrate. The mask part of the machine is somewhat annoying; I can’t read before falling asleep because I can’t wear my glasses, and I have to take my earrings out because they’re in the way. But I’m slept much more soundly.

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Sleep Study Results

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Sleep apnea is defined as the absence of airflow at the nose and mouth for longer than 10 seconds during sleep. Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) is described as the occurrence of more than 30 apnea episodes over a seven-hour period of nocturnal sleep.

My doctor says I had 150 – 160 episodes during my study where I either stopped breathing or had severe shallow breathing, causing me to awaken. I also had a slight drop in oxygen levels. So my sleep apnea is classified as severe. This is causing a severe disruption in my sleep, which helps explain why I’m tired all the time, in addition to my tiredness from the heart valve problem.

Sleep Apnea Information and Resources
The solution is that I have to have a C-PAP breathing machine and mask to use at night, which I go to get set up tomorrow. I also have to lose weight, which might be the cause of the problem, or which might help contribute to other factors that are the actual cause. I’ve always have trouble with snoring and waking up, though, even back when I was thin. My roommates in college used to complain about it. So I suspect that my weight isn’t the only cause.

Interestingly, weight gain is also listed as one of the symptoms sleep apnea — meaning having apnea contributes to weight gain.

Sleep Apnea as a Cause of Obesity
Obesity and sleep apnea are a chicken and egg problem. It is not always clear which condition is responsible for the other. For example, obesity is often a risk factor and possibly a cause of sleep apnea, but it is also likely that sleep apnea increases the risk for weight gain:

Some studies indicate that sleep apnea disrupts rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which, in turn, increases the risk for obesity.

Research indicates that animals deprived of REM sleep tend to eat more.

People with apnea may also become too tired to exercise and so put on weight.

He also said that I have to let the anesthesiologist know about this before surgery, so they don’t take my breathing tube out too early after surgery while I’m still under sedation, because I could get oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Which makes me remember when I was coming out of sedation after my appendectomy, and how I couldn’t breathe and the nurses kept coming over and shaking me and telling me to breathe. No wonder I’m stupid.

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