There is a space for "comments" at the bottom of the last page - "Epilogue." Any comments will be deeply appreciated. Thank you.
Charley

 

Sleep Apnea    ..is the cessation of breathing while asleep.  CPAP, "continuous positive air pressure" consists of an air pump attached with a hose to a mask over the nose or nose and mouth to maintain pressure in the airway and keep it open for breathing. 

 


CPAP Claptrap 003.jpg


As you can see, CPAP is an unnatural, uncomfortable device. Nevertheless CPAP has helped many, many people who can tolerate it. This includes 2 neighbors within a hundred meters of my house. Some of the equipment used with CPAP includes nasal masks, full face masks which cover the nose and mouth, and "nasal pillows" which are inserts in the nostrils. The device which is used is then attached to a tube in turn attached to the breathing machine. There are chin straps to hopefully cause breathing through the nose only, and various straps, headgear to hold the masks, nasal pillows, in place. 


Conventional wisdom,says that there is no cure for sleep apnea. I can say that there is an alternative, painless, no risk, inexpensive, convenient, potential cure without the use of CPAP. For me this alternative cure worked, and perhaps will work for many others. I know it has worked for many with whom I have been in contact. This cure is a program to tone and strengthen the throat, tongue, and mouth musculature. In doing so, the soft palate may be prevented from flopping back and blocking the airway. I have cured my sleep apnea. This has been confirmed by a nocturnal oxymeter,two polysomnography tests, and most important, observations by my Wife. I no longer stop breathing while asleep, and my blood oxygen saturation stays at a high level. My mental acuity and energy level had degraded substantially before the singing exercises. Both have been restored. I now feel like a "million dollar bill", and have a lot of pep.  We took a 6000 mile motor trip back in Summer 2006 unencumbered by the CPAP equipment.  We were able to visit England that fall - the same way - just the CDs. All that CPAP stuff was on my closet shelf and later given to our local hospital. I started the Singing for Snorers exercises in 2005 and have now been without sleep apnea for over 8 years. If you have questions my e-mail address is huppster.1924@yahoo.com   The program: Singing for Snorers may be addressed on the website www.singingforsnorers.com  It is inexpensive. ... consists of three CDs with "sing along exercises" and an instruction booklet. The other essential ingredient, as with any exercise program,  is a willing and dedicated participant. 


In the past I had done a lot of singing in various choirs and quartets. But over the years, without singing, my voice range had shrunk dramatically  and degraded in quality.  In addition to curing my sleep apnea, the exercises have given me a better feeling in my throat, extended my vocal range, and improved the control of my voice dramatically.  It is again fun to sing and I now (2011) sing in a Barbershop harmony quartet.


My Experience


I had sleep apnea for two or more decades.  My Wife would observe that during the night I would stop breathing. She would jostle me awake until I took a breath. Perhaps 10 years ago I awoke one night gasping for air feeling terrible. I was able to walk for a half hour or so until I recovered, but was very afraid of a future life feeling like that.  I know now that my blood oxygen saturation had dipped to a very low level. 


One of our heart/lung team's purposes is to saturate the blood with oxygen.  The diaphragm moves down, drawing air into the lungs.  The blood picks up oxygen so that the Hemoglobin can carry it to every cell in your body. Each of these cells needs oxygen to function.  If you stop breathing,  or your air flow is reduced too much, the cells do not get enough oxygen. Your ability to function recedes.


Early in 2005, I finally sought help, was diagnosed with sleep apnea, AHI of 40, and told to use CPAP. The local equipment providers were less than ideal. I tried what they prescribed without success. Being a research scientist, I found where to get other equipment and tried everything, the full face masks, nasal masks, nasal pillows, and used the latest self titrating pressure machine with  humidifier.  I experimented extensively to improve mask fit, and tried to make the CPAP work.  None of the equipment performed as promised. It did not work for me.  I could not get a good nights sleep. My Wife was disturbed by the noise and could not get a good nights sleep either. My life seemed to be over. 

When I discovered and used the Singing for Snorers exercises intensively and religiously. My apnea was cured!


Notes on the conventional diagnosis and treatment.


Present standard diagnosis and treatment used by medical professionals and therapists is flawed and in my view only marginally effective. Medical Doctors may be our best trained professionals, and there are very smart research workers studying sleep. There is a big knowledge gap between them and the sleep doctors/therapists/CPAP providers.   An appraisal and discussion of the present metric for measuring sleep apnea is : http://www.sleepnet.com/tech2/ messages/357.html


The present standard diagnosis uses Polysomnography, a tool that measures many body functions. It is a great research tool, in that the correlation between these various parameters can be observed for whatever information might be revealed.


Note:  The following does not reflect the current predominant school of thought in the medical community. However, Dr Isadore Rosenfeld on his Fox TV show "Sunday Housecall" stated that a recent study revealed that this Polysomnography (the overnight stay in a "sleep lab") with the attendant expense, was not needed and that your Doctor could tell you whether or not you had sleep apnea.  March 10, 2007.  I have found two studies, one in Australia, another in Canada with the same conclusion, that Polysomnography is not needed. Dr Rosenfeld has retired, but I respect his opinion.

When using Polysomnography, the metric for determining whether or not the patient has sleep apnea and the severity is presented as AHI.  AHI is the arithmetic sum of apneas (cessation of breath for 10 seconds OR LONGER) and hypopneas (air flow reduced 30% for 10 seconds OR LONGER) divided by the number of hours to get events per hour. (This was the hypopnea standard when I first wrote this paragraph.) Everyone has hypopneas to some degree.  Listen to your bed partner's breathing.  The air flow will increase or decrease depending on body movement, and many other factors. Although AHI is the "gold standard" for measuring the severity of sleep apnea, there are three published "standards" for measuring and scoring hypopneas. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2635578/ This is an Australian study. It points out that there are three different AHI scores obtained by three published "gold standards"! Whichever standard is used, if the AHI exceeds a certain threshold (this threshold has changed from time to time), the patient is told that he must use CPAP.  My research reveals that nearly half of those who are told to use it DO NOT.  This half is then labeled by the medical community as "non compliant".

Here is what I consider a valid analogy.  If half the people who went to a restaurant did not eat the food, would you label them "non-compliant"? .. or conclude that there was something wrong with the food?  In short, half decide that the cure, CPAP,  is worse than the disease.  Here is some of the paraphernalia I tried including the various masks, latest breathing machine with humidifier, chin straps.  This equipment must be disassembled and cleaned on a daily basis.  As stated, it  was unnatural, CPAP Paraphanalia 1-27-2006 001.jpguncomfortable, hurt my face, and was noisy. I could not get a good night's sleep nor could my partner.


Alternative treatment


The doctor who conducted a clinical research study of the Singing for Snorers program at a hospital in England points out that the Singing for Snorers program is painless, inexpensive, no risk, and simple. The exercises work the muscle groups that support and move the soft palate.  After doing the exercises, if you consciously try to make the snoring noise you will find the soft palate is now so much tighter that it requires a very powerful breath to get it to vibrate and make a noise. My wife reports that now, along with not having any apneas, I don't snore any more.


In my car, with a CD player, I do the exercises while on errands and can still drive safely.


After several months of the Singing for Snorers program my apnea was cured. I now, like a normal person, lay down at the end of the day, breath naturally, comfortably, and SLEEP.    ..and really appreciate the luxury of being able to do this!


Published in 2009, a study in Brazil confirms the theory of cure by toning and exercising the musculature in the mouth,throat, and tongue. The URL is http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/cgi/content/short/179/10/962 This study used speech therapy sounds instead of the musical syllables in the Singing for Snorers exercises. There is no doubt in my mind that the Singing for Snorers exercises are easier (and fun) to do. I have talked with perhaps 150 people who have asked about the exercises as a result of reading this web page. I do not have an exact count, but perhaps 25 have told me that their apnea was cured using the exercises created by Alise Ojay. Today, April 1013, I am 88 years old and still no apnea!