Sunday, January 2, 2011

The truth is that people of all sizes get OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).

After being on a special super-high-fat diet for my epilepsy, I was at my lowest weight in decades.  That is when I was diagnosed with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).  I mention this because people falsely assume that only fat people get sleep apnea.  This is a dangerous assumption because it can prevent lean people from getting tested even when they show symptoms.  And it can prevent fat people from getting tested because they feel guilty that their fat caused the problem.  The truth is that people of all sizes get OSA.

I was determined to find a treatment that included self-care and self-acceptance ... not the party line that includes a recommendation to lose weight.  Losing weight is NOT AN ACTION!  Eating healthy and exercising are actions ... and I already was doing those.  I was not going to go on a restrictive, deprivational diet and exercise compulsively to be smaller than my natural weight.  Yo-yo dieting was not going to help my OSA.  And all dieting is likely to be yo-yo dieting.  I wanted to find a real solution to my health issue.

I was unable to tolerate the CPAP for many reasons.  I really tried.  As  matter of fact, I am so good at resolving issues with CPAP that I often coach clients through the process until they can use their own CPAP comfortably.  For myself, I simply could not use this option because the CPAP gave me a constant headache 24 hours a day.  Even my most ingenious problem solving did not help.  I kept searching for alternatives.

I am happy to tell you, that after years of research, I found a simple treatment solution that completely resolved my OSA.  Instead, I wear a little oral appliance that moves my jaw forward and I had my soft pallet stiffened with Pillar Implants. Each one improved my breathing substantially, but did not give complete relief.  Both of them together totally resolved my severe OAS.  I was thrilled when my sleep study confirmed ZERO apneas per hour!!

It turns out that many people never get tested for sleep apnea because they simply do not want to use the CPAP.  50% of those who are prescribed CPAP do not use their machines.  We really need better means of treatment.  If you have or fear you might have OSA, please do the problem solving so that you can wear your CPAP or look into these alternative treatments.  Please check out my site where I have written up the process for getting your own oral appliance and soft pallet implants.

Self-care means getting treatment for those illnesses or conditions that effect your life.  Instead of embarking on a yo-yo diet experience, participate in problem solving for your self-care and self-acceptance.  My quality self-care paid off on this one.  It was a long and arduous process.  If my journey can save you some time and effort, I am honored to share my story.

6 comments:

living400lbs said...

Well...CPAP is certainly better than tracheostomy, which was the standard treatment for server apnea when my mother inquired about my [thin] father's penchant for ceasing breathing multiple times an hour.

That said, yes, if an appliance works or you don't mind surgery, those are also options.

living400lbs said...

SEVERE apnea. Sigh.

PegE said...

I'm glad you found a solution that works for you, Kelly. I'm curious -- has your research shown any effectiveness of various kinds of exercises on sleep apnea? I think there was a NY Times article (and some YouTube videos...?) a few months ago about mouth exercises that allegedly alleviate sleep apnea.I've also heard that playing the didgeridoo can alleviate sleep apnea! (I think by its effect on the soft palate.) Do you know if that's true?

Kelly Bliss said...

Hi living400lbs, Surgery for OSA is an interesting topic. It is one of the most painful surgery recoveries of all procedures. And surgery only has a 50% success rate on average! This seems like a lot of pain for only a 50/50 shot of working.

CPAP really works, IF you use it properly every single time you sleep and IF you can tolerate it. But only 50% of people seem to be able to do both.

Some of my clients who use CPAP have tried the oral appliance WITH their CPAP. They were able to use a much lower pressure resulting in fewer side effects and less air leaks.

Kelly Bliss said...

Hi PegE,

I really, really thought about trying the didgeridoo, but the cost was prohibitive. Yes, from what I have read, this can tone the muscles in the throat area. A toned muscle is a muscle that remains somewhat contracted even when at rest. This means that when you are sleeping your throat muscles would keep their wakeful position much better. It seems to me that this is likely to help.

I have seen other exercises for the neck and throat area that are said to benefit in the same way. However, I learned a long time ago that I cannot get myself to exercise unless I have a class in front of me waiting to teach, and these just don't seem like group exercises. LOL.

James Mills said...

It may seem like an unlikely solution but I'm glad it worked for you. I'll try to see if I can have the same results.
sleep apnea centers

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