I nearly died from a sleep disorder that left me tired all day even after I slept through the night. I would come down asleep at my desk and while reading the newspaper at 4 pm. I had to stop driving shortly before being diagnosed because I would fall asleep at the wheel. On good days, I would feel lethargic that meant that I would experience a total lack of energy. My doctor recommended that I had a Polysomnography (sleep study) because my symptoms indicated that I had a sleep disorder. I was eventually diagnosed with a condition known as sleep apnea.
The diagnostic study is called a polysomnography technique which measures airflow by a device called a nasal pressure transducer. This was an overnight study of my sleep pattern. The procedure involved sensors being connected to my head and my chest, and they were then connected to a device that recorded the amount of times I stopped breathing. I was startled when the doctor administering the test said I stopped breathing 163 times during the eight-hour study which led to the diagnoses of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and low oxygen saturation levels.
OSA is a crumble of the upper airway that happens when the soft tissues in the throat relax with sleep, and this blocks the air flow. The doctor prescribed a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine for nighttime use that prevents the fall of the soft tissues of the throat. I put on a mask over my nose and a tube connected to the CPAP feeds air at a pressure prescribed by a doctor. The development in my quality of life after the first night was astounding, and my wife was relieved to sleep without my constantly snoring awakening her. Every day since for ten years has been a real joy.
THE PROBLEMS THAT RESULT FROM SLEEP APNEA
I was shocked when I learned about other problems that sleep apnea could cause. Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois, and she is a recognized expert in sleep disorders. She has studied the link between sleep apnea and silent strokes. Citing an American Stroke Association’s study, Dr. Shives has strong evidence to believe that (OSA) can lead to silent strokes. Refer to: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/01/sleep-apnea-linked-to-silent-strokes/ for detailed information on the silent strokes and other associated problems. There are so many problems that can be caused by sleep apnea.