Peru - sleep apnea & high altitude

Oct 1st, 2008, 05:58 PM
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Peru - sleep apnea & high altitude

Has anyone had experience with sleep apnea and the high altitude of Cusco and Lake Titicaca?

My husband uses a C-Pap breathing apparatus at night ... I think there are a lot of other people who also use one, and we are wondering how the lower levels of oxygen would affect a person with sleep apnea, if at all.
scdreamer is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2008, 03:58 AM
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We have just arrived in Chile after 2 months in Peru staying at altitudes of up to 4500m. On arrival in Cusco by plane I was badly afffected by the altitude - shortness of breath and the worst headache I have ever had! Oxygen helped, arrival by plane did not (to sudden a change). My wife was fine however. There is know real way of telling how it could affect individuls although, I beleive that those people with respiratory or circulatory problems are particularly at risk (does apnea count as a respiratory problem?)

I know little of sleep apnea and I really think you should approach a medical professional for this advice rathe rthan a travel forum. Altitude sickness can kill and I have read some horrific stories on this and other forums
crellston is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2008, 05:17 AM
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Your husband should talk to his doctor about this. When I used CPAP at even Yellowstone NP altitudes, I had difficulties with breathing at night. This is serious stuff. This dialog belongs in a doctor's office.
Kinkazote is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2008, 07:10 AM
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Thanks for the responses - my husband already has a call in to his doctor. We were just hoping to see if anyone else had had experience with using a CPAP at high altitude.
scdreamer is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2008, 03:24 PM
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Prevention and treatment of high-altitude sleep disorders. Acetazolamide (125 mg orally at bedtime) has been shown to decrease periodic breathing and apnea, ... - 65k -
qwovadis is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2008, 06:45 PM
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I do not know what problems he would have with C-Pap in Cusco

....but if you are thinking of doing Macchu Picchu also..then note that Cusco is higher in altitude than Macchu Picchu.

What he may have to do is have his C-Pap adjusted to a higher level of pressure for when he is in Cusco.

The level of oxygen is NOT lower in Cusco!!

You husband already has an airway problem ..that is why he is on C-Pap.

About Acetazolamide.. hmmm ! this may help, but talk to your doctor and see what he thinks.

If you want to see if you get any side effects from Acetazolamide...then try it leave for Cusco.

Without getting too technical...Acetazolamide works by stimulating your breathing...forcing you to breath more what degree it would stimulate your husband's breathing is not easy to say.

Let us know what your doctor says.


Percy is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2008, 07:25 PM
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My wife uses a C-Pap.....this is her first year with it. We spent 6 weeks at our Colorado cabin this summer and she had no problems with using it. Our altitude is 9300 ft.
tptr is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 02:25 AM
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Thank you Percy and tptr - that is the kind of information we were looking for - basically experiences others may have had. My husband's doctor says much the same as what you both have written ... the sleep-apnea problem is not in being able to process oxygen, but rather in keeping the airway open while one is asleep and in a relaxed state. For very high altitudes, it is sometimes recommended that the pressure on the CPAP be set at a higher level. Thanks again for your posts.
scdreamer is offline  

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