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Friday, January 20, 2012

Another Disorder

As a component of my mental health treatment plan I try to consider and investigate problems that are not related to bipolar depression but could contribute to depression.  One area of concern is the quality of my sleep.

It doesn't seem to matter if I get 7, 10, or even 12 or more hours of sleep each night.  Regardless of the amount of sleep I get I still wake up tired and fatigued.

So, back in September I started the process of determining whether I have sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is a disorder of the sleep process where the body strains to get air.  It can have very significant effects on an individual including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Because of my health insurance I had to see my GP to get a referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician.  In October my GP referred me based on my conversation with him (no testing).

Next, I setup an appointment with the ENT physician.  She talked with me and stuck a probe thingee up my nose.  This confirmed something I already knew.  My left nostril does not allow for the free flow of air.  My septum is deviated.  I also have some flow disruption from nose inflammation caused by allergies.

Finally, at the end of last month I took a sleep test.  It confirmed that I have moderate sleep apnea.  I didn't get many details but the results from my sleep study affirmed I need some help in this area.

So, this week I got to try out a sleep machine.  The machine is called a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP).  I tried a CPAP when I was previously diagnosed back in 2008.  I returned it because I was having a difficult time getting used to a mask around my face.

Also, I was a little overweight and drank alcohol back then.  Being overweight constricts the airway.  Drinking relaxes tissue in the airway also causing the airway to collapse.  So at that time I decided I'd get in better shape and quit drinking to see if that reduced my apnea.  It did some.  My snoring decreased.

Well, I tried the CPAP overnight this week and have not received the results.  I struggled to keep the mask on during the night as I did back in 2008.  Each time I woke up during the night I could tell the CPAP wasn't working as designed because there were air leaks at the mask seal.

From all the testing I have bad, good, and possibly more bad news.  It's bad that I still have apnea.  It's good that it is only moderate and treatment should reduce my tiredness.  And it could be bad if I continue to struggle with the CPAP.

The bottom line is with apnea I now have two disorders going on in my head: bipolar depression and sleep apnea.  I wonder if there are other things causing depression that I don't know about?  By the way, because of my insurance it has taken four months and counting to get this far.


  1. Hi, my doctor send me to specialist and I have on this week sleeping test,after many month´s waiting. Funny but I hope they find something if it helps my sleeping. the doctor said I maybe have an apnea also :) T: päivi

    1. I hope the tests lead you to a healthier sleep.

  2. I too had sleep apnea and had to follow "procedure" before the insurance approve my surgery, it took a year and half for insurance to agree with surgery.

    First doctor prescribe allergies medicine, had to go back and say it didn't work.

    Second doctor requested sleep apnea test, received CPAP, had to go back and compliant that it was annoying and keep waking me up and I can't get use to it.

    Third doctor requested for surgery and noted all the thing we tried to the insurance.

    Forth approval from insurance to have the surgery. ��

    Now I do get better sleep.

    1. Thanks for relating your experience Jung.