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  1. #1
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    Sleep apnea and performance biking

    Please, this is no joke.
    Does anyone here know of someone with "sleep apnea" who is also a performance biker?
    Let me define performance biker as someone capable of 100 miles in six hours (including stops).

    I have checked on Google and various reports. There is a proven "weak" correlation of exercise and improved apnea. The test subjects did not do performance biking as I defined. I have a few friends and business friends suffering from apnea. They treat it with an breathing apparatus sort of. Not good.

  2. #2
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    I've always assumed the two were mutually exclusive.

  3. #3
    Roadkill byte_speed's Avatar
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    I have sleep apnea which the doctor said was pretty severe (more than 100 episodes per hour in the sleep test). I don't meet your qualifications for performance as I've never been able to ride long distances, about 50 to 60 miles seems to be my limit. I rode 40 mi in just under 2 hr last weekend without too much effort. My resting heart rate is usually under 40 bpm, which I suspect may be related to the apnea. I've been riding about 20 years at about 2500 mi/year with 3400 mi/yr the last 2 years.

    I sleep with a mouthpiece that holds my lower jaw forward to treat the apnea. Probably not quite as effective as the air pumps, but it works for me and is a lot easier if I want to travel. I'm not sure how to comment on the effects of the sleep apnea on my cycling. I started treatment for high blood pressure about the same time as I was diagnosed with the sleep disorder (again probably related). I noticed a fairly significant decrease in my running speed at the time, but my on bike performance wasn't affected much.

    I attribute the reduced performance noted to the blood pressure medicine. I have been treating both ailments about 6 years. The blood pressure doesn't require as much treatment now, but my bike performance creeps a bit lower every year (nothing to do with my age of 58, I'm sure).
    Last edited by byte_speed; 06-14-07 at 09:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Ooo, I've got another excuse

    I've got sleep apnoea too. Wear the face mask to bed. Snore like blazes the moment I fall to sleep without it but never snore with it. Before the face mask, I was one of those falling asleep at the traffic lights, anywhere anytime. I wasn't riding the bike at that point (before face mask) but I clearly remember often walking up the hallway just bouncing off the walls as I staggered. I was an accident looking for somewhere inconvenient to happen.

    That face mask and pump saved my life and changed it. I'm nowhere near as tired as I once was, nor am I a hyper energetic person - I still need a lot of sleep and when I do, I sleep like a lump of old concrete. Knock an hour off my sleep time and I pay for it.

    I'm no performance athlete, more your recreational cyclist who does enough of it to have his family amazed at where I turn up on the bike. I've ridden a metric century, regularly ride 25km over some pretty tough terrain and often ride over 50km on a weekend when the kids are with their mother's (single dad syndrome).

    I got back on the bike about nearly two years after going onto the pump. I wouldn't like to claim any improvement in my level of tiredness thanks to the cycling. Yes, my heart rate has dropped (now 55) and I can maintain some pretty decent heartrates, but I'd regard that as a result of having a fitter body.

    Basically, and this is completely non-medical, just someone interpretting the things his body is doing to him, the fitter your cardio system is, the stronger your lungs, the less fat you carry around with you, the stronger your muscles, the less effect sleep apnoea is going to have on you. Therefore, cycling helps the problem, but it's no cure, it's not going to get off the air pump.

    BTW, I tried the mouthpiece, back in the days when they were experimental. I used to put it in at night, then wake up in the morning with it neatly placed on the table next to the bed. No memory of taking it out, always placed neatly so I must have done it deliberately, and still dog tired. I guess you can say it didn't work for me

    Richard
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  5. #5
    SEMPER FI HAMMER MAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by byte_speed
    I have sleep apnea which the doctor said was pretty severe (more than 100 episodes per hour in the sleep test). I don't meet your qualifications for performance as I've never been able to ride long distances, about 50 to 60 miles seems to be my limit. I rode 40 mi in just under 2 hr last weekend without too much effort. My resting heart rate is usually under 40 bpm, which I suspect may be related to the apnea. I've been riding about 20 years at about 2500 mi/year with 3400 mi/yr the last 2 years.

    I sleep with a mouthpiece that holds my lower jaw forward to treat the apnea. Probably not quite as effective as the air pumps, but it works for me and is a lot easier if I want to travel. I'm not sure how to comment on the effects of the sleep apnea on my cycling. I started treatment for high blood pressure about the same time as I was diagnosed with the sleep disorder (again probably related). I noticed a fairly significant decrease in my running speed at the time, but my on bike performance wasn't affected much.

    I attribute the reduced performance noted to the blood pressure medicine. I have been treating both ailments about 6 years. The blood pressure doesn't require as much treatment now, but my bike performance creeps a bit lower every year (nothing to do with my age of 58, I'm sure).

    curious I also suffer from what they term as a sleep desruptive problem, almost verges on sleep apena.
    I also or did use the Tap II device but lost the set screw that is used to adjust the device forward.
    I have tried places like Home depot, Lowes, to find the set screw do you have any ideas where one can order the set-screw from?
    " Advantages must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"
    He conquers who endures

  6. #6
    Roadkill byte_speed's Avatar
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    There are a number of companies that make similar devices, and I can't recall the make of my device, but it's not the Tap II. Not that it matters, I wouldn't know where to get a screw for mine either. I just go back to the dentist that fitted it in the first place if I have problems. Or contact the manufacturer if you know who they are.

    It sounds like your case isn't as bad as mine, but I would replace the whole device if I lost a screw and couldn't find one, it makes a lot of difference. My story isn't as dramatic as europa's, but a good night's sleep makes a huge difference. My wife sleeps better too with me having the device, no obnoxious snoring.

    Google knows all, this appears to be the manufacturer of the TAP II: http://www.amisleep.com

    Good luck

  7. #7
    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    I was diagnosed with the disorder several years ago and even submitted self to sleep study but when I was scheduled to be fitted with the machine, I didn't show up. I snore loudly and at times others hear me stop breathing for a period of time. I don't think there's a relation to the apnea I have with my cycling. I ride longer distances of 50+ miles and have been waking up not as tired as in the past and don't fall asleep as usual. Perhaps excercise (cycling) help?

  8. #8
    Roadkill byte_speed's Avatar
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    There are a number of companies that make similar devices, and I can't recall the make of my device, but it's not the Tap II. Not that it matters, I wouldn't know where to get a screw for mine either. I just go back to the dentist that fitted it in the first place if I have problems. Or contact the manufacturer if you know who they are.

    It sounds like your case isn't as bad as mine, but I would replace the whole device if I lost a screw and couldn't find one, it makes a lot of difference. My story isn't as dramatic as europa's, but a good night's sleep makes a huge difference. My wife sleeps better too with me having the device, no obnoxious snoring.

    Google knows all, this appears to be the manufacturer of the TAP II: http://www.amisleep.com

    Good luck

  9. #9
    SEMPER FI HAMMER MAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by byte_speed
    There are a number of companies that make similar devices, and I can't recall the make of my device, but it's not the Tap II. Not that it matters, I wouldn't know where to get a screw for mine either. I just go back to the dentist that fitted it in the first place if I have problems. Or contact the manufacturer if you know who they are.

    It sounds like your case isn't as bad as mine, but I would replace the whole device if I lost a screw and couldn't find one, it makes a lot of difference. My story isn't as dramatic as europa's, but a good night's sleep makes a huge difference. My wife sleeps better too with me having the device, no obnoxious snoring.

    Google knows all, this appears to be the manufacturer of the TAP II: http://www.amisleep.com

    Good luck
    I just called them.{airway management** since I got the device @ Veteran Affairs this is where I need to get the screw from.
    The VA wants me to come in for a complete new fitting, talking to the above people they said there should be no problem in getting just a set- screw so they said they would call the VA and see about getting the set-screw.
    It would be nice as the lack of sleep really disrupts everything

    I really don't believe it causes a real big problem with my cycling, but on the other hand since sleep is essential for repairing the body, resting and recovery it seem that lack of sleep instead of getting enough would hamper your cycling/exercising somewhere along the line as it sure hampers my ordinary activities of just trying to stay awake.
    " Advantages must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"
    He conquers who endures

  10. #10
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    To all the respondents above, many thanks. I will share your comments with my friends.

    I hear you say that there may be some improvement from cycling hard.
    Also, Apnea does not keep you from cycling.

    BTW, that is what the clinical studies said.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link
    I've always assumed the two were mutually exclusive.
    This one friend I have is doing strength exercise like weights. His upper body shows that. He is quite strong. But he suffers from Apnea big time and is exploring surgery.
    I have this opinion that lots of biking is good for CV as well as lungs. I bike a lot. Over 10,000 miles in the last 12 months. No matter how bad I feel, I feel better after a bike ride.
    I am thinking he may benefit from shifting to biking.
    Based on above responses and Google, that is not a sure thing. But it also will not kill him.

  12. #12
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    Cycling can improve apnea IF you are over weight and/or lack general muscle tone by improving those factors. But if he is already fit, cycling won't change his apnea. If the surgery he's considering is just soft tissue removal (which is painful, I've had it done 4 times), any improvement may only be short term (the latest studies are showing 85-90% of patients redevelop symptoms within a year).

    If he's looking at having his jaw broken and expanded with orthodontia, that is showing great results BUT it is expensive (as much as $10,000 and rarely is covered by insurance) and it takes 18 months to 4 years for the complete treatment.

    The dental devices work well for some people but others end up with permanent jaw displacement and then need braces to correct it. That treatment method has become very controversial within the dental community (I'm not criticizing the people who have had success with the Tap devices, I wish I was a good candidate for one).

    That basically leaves the CPAP machine, which AT BEST, at can only describe as a love/hate relationship for most users.

    If I was your friend, I'd search out a dentist or orthodontist that specializes in the treatment of adult apnea and get a full set of images to evaluate the size of his airway and jaw structure before I'd decide on any of the options (if he hasn't already).

    Regardless of all the above, hell yes you should get him into cycling

  13. #13
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Weight loss, weight loss, weight loss - it may actually cure it by a shrinking of the tissues causing the blockage.

    Also, there are some ENT guys who will actually surgically remove the excess tissues causing the blockage. I know a couple of guys who swear by this.

    While I think SA is a real probnlem, I also think that the medical world, where an untold number of expensive and hopefully profitable "sleep clinics" have commenced, has gone overboard in diagnosing it in just about everybody. At least that happened in my case.
    Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone

  14. #14
    Senior Member mtnbk3000's Avatar
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    i have sleep apnea and it doens't affect my ridding, i have never ridden 100miles, but 100 mile sof mountain bikign would take more than 6 hours
    hi

  15. #15
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    See guys, this is the 50+ at its best. I am reporting a real issue and get real life answers for and from my friends.

    Friend Gerhard is 6'2", 36" waist, over 200# and lifts weights, occasional swimmer. He could and should drop 20#. He is miserable with Apnea and his HR is affected also. I set a bug in his ear about long distance biking. He is listening. He is desperate. I think (not so humbly) that I am good role model (for now, fingers crossed).

    Friend Allen is a type A personality (so am I), used to smoke until he nearly died from Apnea, heart attack, too much drinking, great guy, Golfer, so so exerciser. Needs a machine to sleep. He is a tough case. Spends money and must make money so he can spend more. Will he bike? Perhaps if he sees the light. Allen is not stupid, just in a rut.

    And here am I. Bike 50 miles/day at least. Down to 183# from 240# a few years back. Trying to spread the gospel of biking for health.

  16. #16
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcarp

    That basically leaves the CPAP machine, which AT BEST, at can only describe as a love/hate relationship for most users.
    That's it for me too. The doctor said he was surprised my SA was so bad since I was only a little overweight.

    I rode before I was fitted with a cpap. I don't think my rides were affected, but then long rides back then on an ever so uncomfortable hybrid were only about 45-50 miles.

    I need at least 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night to be any good the next day. But with even less sleep than that I have no trouble riding longer distances(60+ miles).
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
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  17. #17
    Rail Trail Jockey Gr8Day2ride's Avatar
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    I've been using a CPAP for 6 or 7 years. I've lost 40 pounds and am still dependant on it. It is true that muscle tone and exess weight contribute to SA. Those of you who suffer and don't seek help are foolish. I was a chronic loud snorer for years. My motivation to seek help came after I ran off the road asleep during the day and nearly killed a pedestrian. Pride is never strong enough to have to bear that guilt.

    Biking has helped me get back in shape and reduce my weight. At 52, any ride is a good ride in my book. What's better than the fresh air and sunshine to mak you feel alive!

  18. #18
    'Fraid I can't do that Robbie59's Avatar
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    I guess I'm fairly close to your definition of a performance cyclist. I also run several times a week and lift weights 1x per week when riding and twice per week in the winter. I have pretty severe sleep apnea, treated with cpap. I would apparently have SA regardless of my weight or conditioning due to structure of soft tissue in my neck/throat. When I had my study, the tech told me the worst case she ever saw was an 18 year-old kid who was tall and skinny. If you have SA, its not a given that losing weight will "cure" it. And if your lungs/heart/body can't get oxygen, conditioning won't save you in the long run.

    The progression of SA is generally pulmonary hypertension, stroke, heart failure, or respiratory failure. If you have it and are ignoring treatment, you're really playing roulette with your long-term health. I can't say that I enjoy wearing a cpap mask but there is no question that the quality of my sleep has improved immensely. I can now get into that deep REM sleep mode whereas before my autonomic nervous system wouldn't let my body go there because it "knew" I wouldn't come back.
    Last edited by Robbie59; 06-16-07 at 08:12 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie59
    I guess I'm fairly close to your definition of a performance cyclist. I also run several times a week and lift weights 1x per week when riding and twice per week in the winter. I have pretty severe sleep apnea, treated with cpap. I would apparently have SA regardless of my weight or conditioning due to structure of soft tissue in my neck/throat. When I had my study, the tech told me the worst case she ever saw was an 18 year-old kid who was tall and skinny. If you have SA, its not a given that losing weight will "cure" it. And if your lungs/heart/body can't get oxygen, conditioning won't save you in the long run.

    The progression of SA is generally pulmonary hypertension, stroke, heart failure, or respiratory failure. If you have it and are ignoring treatment, you're really playing roulette with your long-term health. I can't say that I enjoy wearing a cpap mask but there is no question that the quality of my sleep has improved immensely. I can now get into that deep REM sleep mode whereas before my autonomic nervous system wouldn't let my body go there because it "knew" I wouldn't come back.
    I want you to know that I and my friends studied your response. Thanks. Very informative.

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