Sleep Apnea

My father and I had a conversation the other day in which he suggested that I get tested for sleep apnea. It is not the first time that I have thought about it, but it is the first time that I really considered it.

Both of my parents have it, but it never really seemed real to me, at least as something that I would have to be worried about. I spent a few minutes wondering if it was possible and then I went online and looked it up.
Signs and Symptoms
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Loud snoring
  • Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings with shortness of breath
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
I don't feel excessively tired, at least I don't think so. I have young children and have gone through spells in which I haven't slept as much as I wanted to. It is called a child who is teething, so I never really thought much of that.

As for snoring that has been a claim to fame for years. My sisters used to complain that my snoring would keep them awake. My parents compared me to a train and that was when I was 10.

I have an exgirlfriend who once confessed to a mutual friend that after we broke up she had to turn on the television to fall asleep because without my snoring it was too quiet and she couldn't sleep.

Did I mention that I have broken my nose five times.

Ok, I snore. On to the next sign/symptom which in plain English asks if I stop breathing when I sleep. And the answer is no, or so I am told. And I don't recall waking up feeling short of breath either.

I have been known to wake up with a dry mouth, but that is usually associated with running the heater and or very hot evenings. So again, I never thought twice about it.

But the old Mayo Clinic post did say:

"People with obstructive sleep apnea may not be aware that their sleep was interrupted. In fact, many people with this type of sleep apnea think they sleep well all night."

Ok, maybe there is something to this and maybe there isn't. So I checked out the risk factors and saw:

Excess weight. A fat or thick neck tends to narrow the airway in your throat. A possible indicator of obstructive sleep apnea is if the diameter of a man's neck is larger than 17 inches, or if a woman's neck is larger than 16 inches around. Fat deposits around your upper airway may be a factor in obstructing your breathing during sleep. However, thin people also can develop sleep apnea.

I have a 17.5 inch neck. It was 17 inches by the time I was 20. I didn't have any extra weight then and I still sounded like a locomotive.

Ok, this post has gone on long enough. What really irks me is feeling like I am getting older and less bullet proof. That is peculiar and that is a little strange to me.

4 comments:

Bill said...

Hey Jack we have more in common than I though.

First of all I now know we can trade shirts, and second I am scheduled for a sleep test at the Royal Ottawa Hospital in mid February, to see just how much sleep apnea may be effecting my sleep.

Unfortunately the night time device to deal with sleep apnea reminds me of a scold bridle but My wife says if it improves my health she is going to force me to wear the thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Branks_dsc05369.jpg

That said it is said to improve awareness and concentration, as well as reduce the risk of a heart attack.

I say listen to your father.

Jack Steiner said...

Bill,

That Scold bridle is kind of cool.Not that I want to wear one, I just found it to be interesting.

I do plan on getting checked out, it would be nice to sleep better.

StepIma said...

I only just saw this, but hope it's not too late to comment.

My dad has sleep apnea and it really is a scary thing -- if you have it you genuinely stop breathing for a moment or two while you sleep. And most doctors agree that breathing is an important thing for people to do :)

One way to check for it is, have your wife pay attention the next time you're sleeping deeply and snoring. If after a snore she hears you turn quiet, then gasp for air before the next one, that's sleep apnea. It's probably not the only sign, but it's what tipped my mother off that something was wrong.

I hope it's nothing of course...

Jack Steiner said...

Hi SI,

Thanks.

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