|My bald head, and a new friend!|
The sleep study showed I have Moderate Sleep Apnea with my oxygen levels dipping into the high eighties. It also revealed that I wake an average of 24 times a night do to this condition, giving me barley even one hour in deep REM sleep. This would explain why I am exhausted constantly, and never feel rested upon waking. I see my Sleep Specialist this week to talk about sleep aid devices.
My ANS Testing unfortunately didn't have the greatest data due to my inability to preform a few of the tests adequately. Many of the breathing maneuvers that can indicate internal autonomic involvement were not done to a satisfactory enough level to produce data, this is because my lungs were to weak to execute them. The good news is that the tilt table test alone was able to give us a firm diagnosis of my dysautonomia subset: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. What my physician thought was originally stand alone Autonomic Neuropathy due to my connective tissue disease, turned out to be a whooping case of POTS as well. POTS is a condition where postural changes, such as supine to upright, cause an abnormally large increase in heart rate (at least 30bpm.) Upon standing my vascular system has to work too hard to maintain blood pressure, and blood flow to the brain due to my faulty autonomic system which doesn't tell my vessels to constrict correctly. Patients end up having very low blood levels, or more specifically a decrease in the volume of blood plasma with positional changes causing: tachycardia, low blood pressure, and fainting among other symptoms. I have been prescribed quite a few different medications in an attempt to assist this condition, though the most helpful so far has been high doses of sodium; 6 Grams a day! This helps keep my plasma levels higher which wards off my fainting spells and severely low BP. I meet with my specialist the first week of December to discus the results in detail, and hopefully get a few more answers on how the POTS ties in with the Autonomic Neuropathy.
|On set with the film crew!|
In other news, some wonderful awareness opportunities have been in the works lately! I had the pleasure of filming a short documentary for a wonderful organization called Faith Counts this past week. The video will be in production over the next month and I cannot wait to share the finished product with you all! I also had the honor of speaking to class of nursing students at a college in my area. I was invited to share my personal Scleroderma experience with the future faces of patient care and couldn't have been more excited! It looks like there will be a few more opportunities to share my experience in this manner and I am really looking forward to it! I love speaking to medical students because I get to use all the acquired medical lingo from my many years spent as a professional patient -- and I don't even have to explain the acronyms! haha I cant wait for my next college speaking gig in January!