Sleep Study – Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This one I have been quiet embarrassed talking about. I’m not overly sure why, never mind the fact I’ve always had issues with my weight which I am embarrassed enough about, but a fatty that snores…and loudly for that matter, it’s not something I wanted to shout from the roof tops. As well as that I found people weren’t that kind about it. The snoring started when I was only somewhat overweight, at least that is when people started telling me I was snoring. Some friends were kind about it, some were not at all. So I stopped going anywhere that I needed to sleep near others and I’d always get a separate hotel room if I went away with friends.

That was fine for a few years, until I moved in with my boyfriend and he couldn’t get any sleep, he also said he was worried because I would stop breathing for a few seconds while I was sleeping. I found myself in the spare room most nights. This is when I decided it was time to talk to a doctor about it. According to my boyfriend I didn’t snore bad until I lost my sense of smell, which was about 3 years ago, when I stayed with him at weekends before we moved in together he said he had no issues sleeping beside me, but then it changed and went to levels he couldn’t believe I could make that much noise. But I’ve had people tell me for 10 years about my snoring so I don’t know when it got bad and if I have stages when I go quieter for a while or if losing my smell has something to do with it, or was it all the weight I put on that made it worse?

In April 2016 I went to talk to the doctor, and we discussed the possibility of sleep apnea and she decided to refer me for a sleep study. It was November 2018 when I finally got my sleep study, between that time I had 2 lung function tests done, which came back normal which I assume meant I wasn’t a priority so I had to wait my turn on the list. I also had a chat with a ENT specialist who said the sense of smell and snoring were no way related so at least that ruled one thing out as to the cause.

The sleep study itself was fine. I checked in at 2pm and met with the sleep diagnostic technician called Kevin who wired me up, that process took about an hour and a half but Kevin was such a character we giggled our way through every wire. Kevin then brought me to the ward that was my home for the night, I had my own en suite room. A quick visit from the doctor and the nurse popped in to do observations but that was it for night, they purposefully leave you alone for the night so that not to disturb your sleep. All the staff were lovely and the catering staff kept me fed and watered. Sleeping was a bit of a struggle, I tossed for about 3 hours before I dosed off and from that point it was a broken sleep until I got up at 7am when I got blood tests done. Kevin then came back to take all the wires off and I was sent for an ECG. All was normal and I was discharged and told it will be a few weeks until my results.

8 weeks later it was results time and I was not prepared for what I was about to be told. I suspected sleep apnea, but I didn’t expect that I had it as severe as it was, I had 38 episodes an hour which made it severely life threatening. I was shocked, but thankfully the treatment was simple. A CPAP machine with a mask to wear every night, that part I was prepared for. The consultant, who was fantastic at explaining everything, also explained that those with such severe sleep apnea tend to have weight around their neck and stomach, and that it is next to impossible to avoid it, and it is also next to impossible to loss the weight. Since the body is constantly deprived of sleep and sometimes oxygen, it is in survival mode and storing as much fat as it can. Another side effect is craving high carbs and sugar. That part was music to my ears, I was almost ecstatic that there was answers as to why I struggled with my weight so much.

It took a week to get the machine, and as I type this I have been using it 9 days and I can already notice the difference, my mind is clearer and I can think straight again, it’s a miracle! The consultant said it will take 3 months to come back around to myself since I have alot of sleep to catch up on, and in about 6 months I could do a calorie controlled diet to lose the weight, I won’t be waiting 6 months thats for sure. He also reckons, since it was untreated for so long that it caused Fibromyalgia, but he can’t be certain that is the cause.

Years I struggled with this, years been embarrassed, granted I was waiting almost 3 years for a diagnoses, and my health took a battering in those 3 years, but I also could have gone sooner about it. I am so glad I am where I am at today, on the road to recovery. I have a few more tests coming up next month which is to see if I do actually have Lupus, but that’s another days topic.

If you have any concerns…..go to your doctor! You will thank yourself.

Love

Sharon xx

 

 

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