Sunday, April 1, 2012

Apnea and Me

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I may, and probably do, have sleep apnea. Apnea is the short cessation of breathing. During sleep this can occur hundreds of times. It is often accompanied by snoring, usually loud snoring as those around me claim. But snoring alone is not the only symptom. When a person stops breathing, the brain sends a message to make them cough or something similar which wakens them to some degree so they start breathing again.

One of the bigger concerns is the strain this can put on the heart over time. The other consequence is fatigue.

Oh for nap!

For years I have gotten by on about 7 hours of sleep. Until the last couple of years, that has always been enough for me. I wake bright eyed and bushy tailed. But over the last couple of years, a change has crept into the quality of my sleep and that change has been the apnea.

Now instead of feeling rested in the morning, I often feel like I haven’t slept. Sadly, sometimes that is the case. I wake many times during the night. I am consciously aware of every time I turn over in my sleep. Sometimes when I wake, I cannot get back to sleep for a long time. I am aware that I have just coughed. My husband says at other times, it sounds like I am choking and I don’t wake up at all.

During the day, moments of inactivity-of which there are few! – are met with a sudden and overwhelming fatigue and desire to nap. Some evenings, I fall asleep watching TV as early as 7 or 8 o’clock. If I stop moving or focusing on something specific, I can fall asleep. My energy is zapped all the time and I have to pick and choose what I can get done in a day. Usually exercising isn’t among them because it will wipe me out.

I chalked much of this up to getting older and getting heavier. At 267.5, almost anything I do, leaves me short of breath and tired. It wasn’t until, as a writer, I did an article for a client on CPAP machines that I put the pieces together and saw my doctor. 

She said what I describe is a classic case of sleep apnea but in order to get treatment, I need a sleep study, something my insurance company was reluctant to approve. Finally they have though, and I get to go on the 24th of this month. I am hoping with the official diagnosis and the CPAP machine to treat it, my husband and I will both sleep better and I will reacquaint myself with my former energy levels and slimmer self. I’ll keep you “posted.”


Angel said...

Good luck, Theresa. I hope you get the help you need and start feeling a lot better.

Amanda Dollak said...

Problems with sleep are always the worst! I hope that your doctors help you, so you can get back to your old self again.

Marie Anne said...

I'm so glad you're able to get in and get it checked. Apnea can be a real problem, and so easily treated.

Wendy H said...

A family member of mine has that. The CPAP has helped a lot I am told.

Have a great week!

Katy said...

Visiting from A to Z challenge; My dad has sleep apnea, and the CPAP machine has done wonders for him. Hope it helps you too!

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