The Biggest Misconception Regarding Your Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

A recent survey conducted by Jazz Pharmaceuticals revealed that 1/3 of patients with a sleep apnea diagnosis also suffered from a medical condition known as Excessive Daytime Sleepiness which caused them to miss out on activities and negatively impacted their quality of life on multiple levels. A common misconception regarding a sleep apnea diagnosis is that a CPAP machine is the final solution, but research shows otherwise.

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You May Need More Than a CPAP Machine

Are you tired of being tired? Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is often accompanied by a medical condition known as Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) even after the introduction of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) breathing machine into the patient’s lifestyle after their initial sleep apnea diagnosis.

A Patient With a Sleep Apnea Diagnosis Often Suffers In More Ways Than One

Actually, tired is a poor adjective to describe the exhaustion that patients with a sleep apnea diagnosis and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness experience. Their daily level of weariness extends beyond the comprehension of the average individual. In fact, people who suffer from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness also suffer from being misunderstood on a chronic scale by their friends and loved ones.

Clinical studies show that nearly 3 out of 4 people with a sleep apnea diagnosis experienced Excessive Daytime Sleepiness before receiving a CPAP machine. Unfortunately, one study found that 1 out of 3 sleep apnea patients still suffered from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in spite of CPAP machine compliance.

Interview with Sleep Expert and Sleep Apnea Patient Courtesy of Jazz Pharmaceuticals

I had the distinct honor and privilege of conducting an interview with sleep expert, Dr. Richard Bogan, and Kim Oxender regarding Excessive Daytime Sleepiness related to a sleep apnea diagnosis.

Kaitlin: Hi! Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. I really appreciate it. I'm just going to start in with an introduction for our listeners/readers. We're all familiar with that tired feeling we experience during the day. However, for many people, the exhaustion, they feel may be a real medical condition known as excessive daytime sleepiness related to sleep apnea, which can negatively impact job performance, personal relationships, and quality of life. Dr. Richard Bogan is a sleep expert and he joins us today, along with Kim Oxender, who will share her personal story, living with excessive daytime sleepiness related to sleep apnea. Welcome!

Dr. Richard Bogan and Kim Oxender: Thank you, thank you!

Kaitlin: Dr. Bogan, and I have some suggested questions for you today. What is excessive daytime sleepiness related to sleep apnea and who is at risk?

Dr. Richard Bogan: Yes, excessive daytime sleepiness is a chronic medical condition associated with obstructive sleep apnea. What we know is that there are nearly 22 million adults who have obstructive sleep apnea, and one of the more prominent symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea is excessive daytime sleepiness. Even despite therapy, we can see persistent excessive daytime sleepiness. These individuals are sleepy, and they have trouble staying awake. They may spontaneously doze, they're fighting sleep, but importantly they're all tired, but it's a different kind of tired.

Kaitlin: Why is it important to raise awareness about this medical condition?

Dr. Richard Bogan: There is emerging science that shows that there is actually brain dysfunction, and what we also know is that these individuals who have excessive daytime sleepiness have problems in terms of brain function. They have trouble with focus, concentration, memory, and attention span. They also have problems with mood and low motivation. All of these things have an impact on quality of life in these individuals.

Kaitlin: Yes. Thank you. Do you know how recent the medical studies are that have been conducted concerning sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness?

Dr. Richard Bogan: Yes. There is current science that shows that there is evidence in patients with excessive daytime sleepiness (with sleep apnea) that there's evidence of brain dysfunction. And importantly, what that does is it translates into these quality of life issues. The website has lots of information including the Harris poll, which was sponsored by Jazz Pharmaceuticals that actually quantifies the degree of impairment that these individuals have. They took a group of individuals with obstructive apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness and looked at workplace performance issues, interpersonal relationships, and social interaction. All of those things were negatively impacted by this. And these were individuals who had sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

Kaitlin: What are some of the most classic signs of impact for any listeners/readers who may feel they are affected by this?

Dr. Richard Bogan: Well, what's important to know is that many of the patients don't know that they are symptomatic. They have sleep apnea, they're being treated by their physician, and they basically assume that this is who I am and what I am, but they still have residual or persistent, excessive daytime sleepiness. Thus it's important for them to talk to their doctor about their symptoms and recognize what's going on.

Kaitlin: Oh, absolutely. That's very true. What is the difference between excessive daytime sleepiness related to sleep apnea and general sleepiness that the average person experiences?

Dr. Richard Bogan: Yes. I think it's the chronicity. This is a chronic disorder. These individuals are chronically, excessively sleepy and sometimes even despite adequate total sleep time, all the time, they still have these symptoms that I referred to in terms of the brain dysfunction and the excessive daytime sleepiness.

Kaitlin: Wow. Where can live viewers and listeners go for more information and helpful resources?

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Dr. Richard Bogan: Yes, the website. ADifferentKindOfTired.com again has lots of information in terms of really helping the individuals quantify their symptoms. What kind of symptoms am I having and with what effect on my quality of life? What should I expect? How do I talk to my doctor? How sleepy am I compared to the rest of the world? Because again, many of these individuals do not know how much impaired they are.

Kaitlin: Wow. I didn't know that about sleep apnea. It's understandable when people would just keep assuming that they’re tired, but they wouldn't really understand how severely it was affecting their brain and the rest of their body. Thank you so much, Dr. Bogan, for your insight and for agreeing to this interview. You've been so helpful in helping the average person to understand what sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness are, and how these conditions affect people on a daily basis. I have some questions for Kim now. What prompted you to have a conversation with your doctor about excessive daytime sleepiness related to your sleep apnea and how were you first diagnosed?

Kim Oxender: Well, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea probably 20 years ago and I started using a breathing machine. I still struggled with that, but I think the turning point came (my husband and I ride motorcycles a lot for promoting things and just for relaxation time), and it got the point where I would be falling asleep on the back of the bike. And my husband was like, “All right, I'm tired of you being tired all the time. We need to go back to the doctor.” So just going back to my doctor and explaining to him how tired I was (from not just working all day, just being tired.) I was getting the proper amount of sleep and diet, but I was still very tired and couldn't focus. So then there are other avenues that the doctors can help you with.

Kaitlin: Wow. Yes, I can't imagine, that must have been really frustrating to be that tired all the time. How has excessive daytime sleepiness related to your sleep apnea impacted your daily life since?

Kim Oxender: Well, actually it is very hard because like, at the end of the day or all day long, I can’t even concentrate to do tasks as simple as house cleaning and preparing a meal. For example, just thinking about, “Oh gosh, what are we going to make for dinner tonight?” I'm just too tired to even want to mess with that. It's just a different kind of tired again. Sometimes you can't even explain it to your doctor. You just have to keep telling him over and over, and they can help you with medications.

Kaitlin: Wow. Yes, I'm also sorry to hear that. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Kim Oxender: Thank you!

Kaitlin: I know that can't be easy to have to discuss, but I really appreciate it. I hope that this interview will help other people who may be suffering from this to talk to a doctor and do some research because I know about some recent studies that have come out concerning this condition, and it really is devastating to your brain if you don't get the right equipment and help you need. Was getting your breathing machine like the first time when you really started to get any rest at all?

Kim Oxender: Well, I don’t have problems sleeping. So, the sleeping by itself wasn't the issue, that just helped me get more relaxed sleep. But no matter how much sleep I get, I am still so very tired.

Kaitlin: Okay. Thank you. What role does the support from your husband and loved ones play in helping to manage life with this medical condition?

Kim Oxender: They have been very helpful, very understanding and very frustrated at the same time. That's the point where my husband got to the point where he was just tired of me being tired all the time, so that was like the kick in the butt that I needed to go back to the doctor.

Kaitlin: Oh, okay. Yes, I'm sure. Do you feel like your loved ones first noticed that you were the one suffering with it, but did you feel like you were the one who kept saying, “Oh, you know, I'll be fine. I just need to get more sleep or something.” Did you feel like you just kept living in denial or did it, did you really want to go to the doctor has just as much. At

Kim: At first it was like, “All right, I'll be fine. I just need to take a nap or take my energy drink,” or “I'm just tired because I have sleep apnea.” Well, that's not exactly all it is, and my husband pushed me to the point to just go to the doctor. I was tired of upsetting him because I was tired all the time.

Kaitlin: Yes, I can't imagine. What information would you share with someone who thinks he or she may be experiencing excessive sleepiness related to sleep apnea?

Kim: First of all, that life is too short to be tired, especially tired all the time. When there is treatment out there, go to your doctor. Don't be afraid because it's embarrassing sometimes with your doctor when you don't know what's going on and you know that you're tired and you think you're doing the treatment you should be. Don't be afraid to tell your doctor because they can help you in other directions that you need to go.

Kaitlin: That's great advice. Thank you so much, Kim.

Kim Oxender: Thank you.

Kaitlin: That concludes our interview for today. Thank you so much, Dr. Bogan and Kim, for agreeing to do this interview and for shedding light on this medical condition and how this affects people on a daily basis and that it's not just a matter of getting the medical equipment to help their sleep apnea. It continues to affect them on a daily basis.

Dr. Richard Bogan and Kim Oxender: Thank you, Thank you!

Conclusion

In conclusion, are you tired of being tired? If you have a sleep apnea diagnosis, your risk of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is increased and may be responsible for your daily exhaustion. Talk to your doctor today about EDS and the treatment options that are available!

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