Re: Sleeping with Oxygen

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Posted by Doc Greg on September 17, 1998 at 17:40:05:

In Reply to: Sleeping with Oxygen posted by Steve on September 17, 1998 at 06:59:47:

There is, actually, a strong association with sleep apnea and headaches (specifically clusters). This is not to say that you definitely have sleep apnea...but is a strong possibility. If you are married, or have someone in the room with you, ask them if you ever have periods when you seem to stop breathing (short pauses), or if you are a loud snorer. These are all strong signs. It is often caused by the collapse of your upper airway (tounge, roof of your mouth, etc). The CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine is used to keep a constant air pressure in your mouth to keep the airway open. Sleep apnic people have a definite drop in the amount of oxygen in their blood...and CPAP machines work terrifically. They are, however, not very comfortable at night. But, and I can't believe any of you would disagree, it is sure a hell of a lot better than a cluster.
Sleeping with O2 is a possibility, but I have to warn is not good for you. Oxygen is actually toxic to our lungs. Anything over room air literally causes damage to the lung tissue. Short periods (stopping an attack) is usually considered OK...the damage is minimal compared to the damage of the pain. Long term use, however, can cause long term damage. 2 liter flow is not a lot...and many people have lived a long time with that flow. But you are hurting your lungs. A CPAP machine has no associated side effects, and if effective, preferable.
I'm not telling you not to use the oxygen. Just keep it in mind. I know there are more than a few times I would gladly cut a limb off if it would stop the pain.

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