Jun 2, 2012

Read this - it could save your life.

I have had a problem for the last couple of years. It's kind of embarrassing because I couldn't explain to people how fatigued I was. I would get 10 hours sleep a night and wake up feeling terrible. I would take afternoon naps. Imagine only having about eight hours a day to do all the things that other people do.  It always seemed like I was running late, not coping and could even seem like I was being lazy. So I just stopped talking about it.  Sometimes if things were really bad, I would say I was really tired or I was ill. The doctor checked my thyroid, tested for diabetes, and all the usual conditions associated with chronic fatigue. Nothing!

My blood pressure had been good all my life, low in fact. Now it was rising and I had to go on medication. At one time it was as high as 200/105. People would tell me, you are overdoing it, just rest more, just exercise more, you know the type of thing. Everyone was trying to be helpful. 

One of my friends mentioned to me - that it's not "normal" to be so sleepy during the day. This really got me thinking. I went back and saw my doctor - and at the risk of being seen as a hypochondriac I also said "I feel like I can't breath". My doctor suggested I have a sleep study.

When the results came back it said I had sleep apnoea. That is, I stop breathing when I try to sleep and that wakes me up again, so I rarely get into the REM stage. Famous people who have been diagnosed or suspected of sleep  apnoea  include Billy Connolly, Brahms, Adam Savage, and Rosie O'Donnell. 

It's always been thought of as an old man's disease, or a disease of overweight people. But that isn't so. Anyone can get obstructive sleep apnoea  just because you don't have much room in your mouth and throat. 

However, it is recommended you try to loose weight and don't drink alcohol and practise a good sleep hygiene routine to ensure the best nights sleep. For me and others diagnosed as severe - one option is to use a CPAP machine. I am going to be fitted next week, and I'm hoping to get some good sleep. 

If you suspect that you, or someone you love suffers from this condition then please see your doctor. It can lead to chronic heart conditions and all sorts of other health problems. 

Also, check with your government organisations to see if you are entitled to some rebates for the extra electricity needed to run the machine. 
The home sleep study in Australia costs $489.70 or $459.70 for concession/pensioners. Medicare covers $279.70 and you have to pay the difference. Make sure you go to a fully qualified centre or it will not be covered. 
If you are trialing the CPAP machine before you buy it, or you cannot afford to buy one, then it costs $200 deposit and $100 a month or $70 for pensioners. 
Machines can be bought second hand but they must be calibrated by a qualified technologist. 
New machines cost somewhere between $1500 and $2500 in Australia. 

For more info check out http://www.sleepoz.org.au/ or  http://www.cpapaustralia.com.au or the sleep disorders clinic where you live. 

1 comment:

  1. Well Kate...talk about Wired for Sound! My hubby has mild sleep apnoea, refuses to be tested and would totally refuse to use the machine. Sometimes if I wake in the middle of the night or am having trouble sleeping, I notice he is not breathing and give him a NUDGE...lucky I don't give him a PUNCH cos of his refusal to go to the Drs about it. Thanks for sharing, I know it is hard to share health problems with others because it leaves you feeling very vulnerable.
    Just one more point.....Did they also test your B12 levels...I hope so


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