Question: Can one have an apnea diagnosis that is a false positive? Male, 50-some, 20 min’s cardio per day >5 days a week, play hockey on weekends, 6’4″, 212lbs, bmi 25.5
Diagnosis from RT shop, but I felt no improvement after two month cpap rental trial. Not logical to spend $3K on that.What else could it be?NBTD in Alberta.

Answer: Hi NBTD, Thanks for writing in. While obesity is a strong risk factor for sleep apnea, it is by no means required. I have met people with sleep apnea from petite young women to chiseled middle-aged men. My uncle in fact, a lean construction worker in his early fifties, recently underwent UPPP surgery to correct his apneas. Fat tissue around the neck increases the likelihood that your airway can get obstructed, but there are plenty of other ways your pipes can get sucked shut repeatedly through the night.On the subject of your diagnosis, were you able to obtain a copy of your results? How many apneas did the test results suggest you have (ask or look for the AHI, or apnea/hypopnea index, which tells you how many episodes you had per hour)? Can you get yourself recorded during the night so that you can see the apneas yourself? If you can, you may be able to know more conclusively yourself whether you have
obstructive sleep apnea, and you’ll either feel more compelled to take action against it or be better prepared to seek other answers.If you conclude that you do, perhaps it is the treatment type that is not presently effective for you rather than the diagnosis. CPAP is known as the most effective treatment for sleep apnea, but only if the machine is calibrated correctly to your own circumstance. The airway pressure it creates has to be the right amount in order to keep your airway open continuously. So perhaps you would benefit from having your machine adjusted after telling your doctor you are not seeing results from the current calibration. If that does not work, there are other effective treatments for sleep apnea, but most of them do involve surgery.However, if after checking your test results and/or recording yourself during the night you find you do not have sleep apnea, then at least you can provide that information to your doctor (or to a new doctor for a fresh perspective) and get back to the drawing board to address your issue. Is it excessive daytime sleepiness that you are experiencing? Are there any other symptoms?

Thanks for your question and good luck,
Kevin