Follow-up Appointment After My Sleep Study

I have been writing my sleep apnea story chronologically, so if you haven’t read my previous stories you might want to go back and check them out. Thank you for following along. I hope that my story can connect with some of you and that it helps you on your sleep disorder journey.

Reviewing my sleep study results with my doctor

I had a follow-up appointment scheduled with my doctor. We reviewed my sleep study and he told me that I was averaging 62 apneas an hour. I really had no idea what this meant.

He explained that in my case, the muscles in my throat become too relaxed and caused my airway to be blocked. When this happens, I actually stop breathing. Every time that I stop breathing my sleep is disturbed. The brain actually wakes you up so that you can breathe. Most of the time I wasn’t aware that my brain was “waking up.” This can prevent you from entering deep sleep.

The risks of untreated sleep apnea

My doctor went over the complications of untreated sleep apnea. I originally came to see the pulmonologist because I was experiencing complications; struggling to stay awake, waking up with headaches, and not feeling refreshed. My doctor explained another complication, sleep apnea could actually kill me. 

He explained that untreated sleep apnea can put extra strain on my heart. When you have sudden drops in blood oxygen levels, which can happen during an apnea, it can increase my blood pressure and put extra strain on my cardiovascular system. My doctor explained that these complications increase my risk of having a heart attack or stroke. 

He took the time to go over the seriousness of these complications. By doing so, it motivated me to commit myself to use my CPAP on a nightly basis.

How can CPAP help?

My pulmonologist explained to me that wearing CPAP on a nightly basis will keep my airways open. This will prevent the apneas from happening and allow me to enter deep sleep. This type of sleep is important for feeling refreshed. 

He explained that by using CPAP regularly, I will also greatly reduce my risk for heart attacks and or stroke. I was only in my early 20’s and it wasn't something that was even on my radar. Stokes and heart attacks only happen to older people, right? The doctor explained that when dealing with sleep apnea that I should be very concerned about that possibility if I don’t properly treat my condition.

New prescription, new journey

He wrote my prescription for the CPAP and submitted it to the medical supply company that worked with my insurance. I was hoping to bring my CPAP home that day but I had to wait a few more weeks. My doctor explained that the medical supply company should be in touch with me in a few days and that they would schedule an appointment to bring it to my home and teach me how to use and maintain my machine.

He asked if I had any other questions or concerns, I didn’t. I left his office feeling confident that I could properly treat my sleep apnea. Then I had to wait until my CPAP was delivered.

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