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Dr. F
Dr. F, Board Certified MD
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 266
Experience:  Neurosurgeon with more than 20 years experience in practice and teaching.
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The past year I have been having hypnopomic hallucinations

Customer Question

The past year I have been having hypnopomic hallucinations due to sleep apnea. You can bet the next day I feel like a human slug. I was able to suppress the problem for a while with the tennis ball trick to keep me from sleeping on my back. Now I seem to have "learned" how to sleep with a tennis ball gouging my spine. Any suggestions for a low tech approach to the problem. I wonder too at age 65 if all this is tough on the heart.
John
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. F replied 4 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
Dr. F :

Welcome to JustAnswer. I will do my best to help you

Dr. F :

Have you had any sort of formal work up for your sleep problem?

Dr. F :

Besides you sleepiness and hallucunations, how do you know you have sleep apnea? Do you have some one who has observed the apnea, and told you about snoring?

Dr. F :

Do you have other health problems like high blood pressure? ...and what is your height and weight?

Customer :

Yes, I have had hypertension for many years. I measure the blood pressure frequently and my primary care physician is satisfied. She minimized the sleep apnea problem, but, in all fairness, I think it has gotten more severe this last year. I had the first hallucination five years ago. A few months later I visited an old girl friend in Hawaii. She said I had sleep apnea--her first husband had it. Yeas before that I had a snoring problem. My girl friend (at that time) used to tap my shoulder and I would roll over on my side which solved the snoring completely. Later in Hawaii my old friend observed me when I slept on my side and said it seemed to solve the sleep apnea problem, but said I snored lightly (an acceptable level).

Customer :

I have never had a workup. I am 6'3," 230 lbs, about 30 lbs. overweight.

Customer :

I can doze off almost any time during the day, fortunately never while driving. I have not been able to read stiff literature for some time, one of the few joys left (literature relating to my profession--mathematics).

Customer :

I have suffered another distinct depression-related sleep problem all my adult life. In 1995 I got wonderful relief from this problem with Zoloft. I still take 100 mg/day and it still works wonders for this aspect of my sleep problems.

Dr. F :

With all that you have related above, particularly the high blood pressure, as well as the concern you express over your heart, it is in your best interest to have a formal sleep study. You are the right age , sex and physiognomy to have sleep apnea. This may well contribute to your high blood pressure, and can induce significant cardiac problems if left untreated.

Dr. F :

Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2010 Jul;8(7):981-94.


Obstructive sleep apnea: novel trigger and potential therapeutic target for cardiac arrhythmias.


Chan KH, Wilcox I.


Department of Cardiology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



Abstract


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing, is prevalent and frequently underdiagnosed in our community. Although presenting with predominantly respiratory symptoms, the most serious complications from OSA are cardiovascular, including arrhythmias, disease of the sinus node and conducting system, and sudden cardiac death. The acute and chronic effects of OSA on the cardiovascular system, which include major effects on autonomic function during sleep and wakefulness, are potent contributors to the development and persistence of cardiac arrhythmias. Although large randomized studies are currently lacking, treatment of OSA may be an important primary or additional therapy to supplement the use of drugs or devices in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias



 

Dr. F :

There are low tech treatments, including a number of commercially available pillows to keep you in the right position, various mouthguards and nasal strips.

Dr. F :

A sleep study, done at a specialized center, usually managed by a pulmonary specialist or neurologist is what you need. If you are found to have sleep apnea, and are treated, you should improve in many ways, including your ability to read the literature you wish, and the hallucinations should subside.

Dr. F :

I hope that helps

Dr. F :

Thank you for the opportunity to help you. To give me credit for my time and effort, please press the ACCEPT button for this answer. After that, I will still be glad to answer additional questions until you are satisfied.

A Positive Feedback and/or Bonus is welcomed and appreciated.



This answer is for information only. It cannot and should not be substituted for or the recommendation of your doctor


 

Customer :

Thank you Dr. F. will do.

Dr. F :

You are welcome. Let me know how it goes.

Dr. F :

Thank you for the opportunity to help you. To give me credit for my time and effort, please press the ACCEPT button for this answer. After that, I will still be glad to answer additional questions until you are satisfied.

A Positive Feedback and/or Bonus is welcomed and appreciated.



This answer is for information only. It cannot and should not be substituted for or the recommendation of your doctor


 

Customer :

I certainly will. I will make an appointment with my HMO. They have a sleep center in their network if not in my neighborhood.

Dr. F :

Thank you for the opportunity to help you. To give me credit for my time and effort, please press the ACCEPT button for this answer. After that, I will still be glad to answer additional questions until you are satisfied.

A Positive Feedback and/or Bonus is welcomed and appreciated.







Dr. F, Board Certified MD
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 266
Experience: Neurosurgeon with more than 20 years experience in practice and teaching.
Dr. F and other Neurology Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Dear Dr. F.:
It has been some time since we communicated. Meanwhile I go a physical and talked to the doctor about my sleep apnea problem. An EKG revealed an arrhythmia, a trigeminal ventricular extra stroke, but the doctor said it is probably harmless (maybe I should switch to decaf?). Also, a follow up echo cardiogram revealed no additional concerns. Meanwhile, I have been experimenting with replacing the tennis ball in my night shirt with metallic objects, objects which make rolling over on the back during sleep uncomfortable, but not sharp enough to puncture or scratch the skin. I have completely eliminated the hallucinations and get a much better night's sleep. My philosophy is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." However, early in January I have appointments with two people in a pulmonology group to get their take on the issue.

Your answers to my original letter prompted me to take care of the problem, and I appreciate that.

Regards, XXXXX XXXXX

No more unwanted night visitors such as polar bears, coyotes, Middle Middle Eastern men and boys, chimerical figures including temple guardians and gargoyles, Asian women, etc. Once I had an entire girl's rowing team rowing through my bedroom.

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Dr. F
Dr. F
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Neurosurgeon with more than 20 years experience in practice and teaching.