About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Friday, October 09, 2009

To CPAP or Not To CPAP

This morning I saw the respiratory specialist and was fitted for my first (trial) CPAP machine. Apparently, I have a small nose and extra-small nostrils so the full face mask was way too big. So I have a device that fits just over the nostrils and is strapped to the top and back of my head.

It's a strange feeling when the air blows into my nostrils and at first I didn't like it at all. However, the specialist said that it take time to get used to it. I'm to use it for an hour each day for three days (sit and watch TV or read or something) before I start to use it at night. I have to go back next Friday to get the monitor checked and get another device to check my oxygen levels overnight. I had that done already and that showed that I stop breathing on average 25 times an hour - severe sleep apnea. Hopefully, the next test will show that the CPAP is working as it should.

So why bother with all this? Well, I first inquired about my snoring because it was keeping my sweetie awake all night. I thought maybe something could be done about that. Now I find out that sleep apnea can actually kill you! I found the following on the internet:

What's the proof that Sleep Apnea can kill? The study published by Terry Young, Ph.D. and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin at Madison is particularly convincing and ominous. Back in 1988, Dr. Young rounded up a large group of randomly selected Wisconsinites (about 1,500 people) who agreed to be tested for Sleep Apnea. Dr. Young recorded not only whether they had Sleep Apnea, but also if they did, the level of Sleep Apnea severity. Dr. Young asked this group, known as her "Wisconsin Cohort" group, to agree to be tracked over the years, and they agreed. Fast forward to 2006, when Dr. Young checked in on them. After 18 years, some had passed away, some were still as healthy as they were back in 1988. The key for our purposes is that, controlling for all other factors, the folks who were identified as having severe Sleep Apnea and who did not get treatment for it were three to four times as likely as the others to die from something . . . anything, and five times more likely to die from stroke or cardiovascular disease.

Basically, sleep apnea is like a person choking you very slowly. Instead of someone choking you fully and killing you in 5 minutes, it kills you softly in a number of months or years. Most people don't bother treating it or giving it their full attention. Also, lack of sleep causes your mind to lose its ability to focus, which makes it more likely that you could have a motor vehicle accident, stroke, cardiac arrest, or death let alone the high blood pressure, weight gain, and serious diseases like diabetes and cancer.

So my question is, "To CPAP or not to CPAP?"

I don't believe there is any other answer but a resounding YES! Not only do I want my sweetie to be able to sleep with me, I also want us to wake up together for many, many years to come. I'm hoping that within a few months I'll have much more energy and be able to go walking, swimming, cycling and read a book for more than 5 minutes without drifting off.

If you or someone you love snores a lot and/or seems to stop breathing during sleep, please share this information with them and get them to a specialist.


Trubes said...

Good luck with the CPAP Leslie.x
We're off to sunny Spain today for a long awaited holiday...Little note on my site...

Take care.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, dear. Well, don't believe all you read on the net! I think you have to try it. Do keep us posted, Leslie. xx

Mimi said...

Leslie, I looked quickly at the title to this on my "feed" and thought it was "to crap or not to crap"!
I agree with you that yes is the only answer, and you'll get s much better night's rest as a result. Your immune system will thank you too- I was at a conference yesterday where I learned that your immune system replenishes while you sleep.I'm hoping to post about the day on my blog later.
Good luck with it.

Rosie said...

yes do it... sleep apnea is super dangerous

Belizegial said...

What an interesting device. Hope that it works for you and your sweetie :)

Smalltown RN said...

My goodness.....well let me tell you what I know....Your story is very common. The issue to use a CPAP machine or not has always been the question. The hesitancy I hear from most people is that it is not very ROMANTIC.....but then I say...well neither is death. So give your honey a kiss and a snuggle before you put the machine on. I am glad you are able to use the nasal apparatus I find that to be far less cumbersome.

Now the question is does you sweete find it noisy...will he be able to sleep with the machine going....chances are yes he will.

I know my hubby suffers from sleep apnea....officially undiagnosed....but because I know what I am listening for or not....I know he would totally benefit. He snores terribly....I end up sleeping on the couch or in the other room, and I know he doesn't feel rested even if he has been in bed f 7 hours.

Having cared for patients with sleep apnea post operatively it is very unsettling when you are observing them...and their recovery time is much longer as you have to wait for the medications to clear their system.

They do take at least a month to get use to...some say as long as 3 months. I think anything that improves your health your quality of sleep...and prevents long term damage to other organs should be considered.

All the best my friend....and I love the photos of your trip to Whistler!!!!

aims said...

I was tested and they found I stopped breathing in my sleep - I don't know how many times an hour as my (last) doctor didn't bother following it up. They were refitting the sleep clinic and they never called me back. That's is over a year ago.

I got to see a new doctor on Tuesday and she is a delight. I have more pressing issues that need to be taken care of before I get into this.

There's the fact that I just don't want to use a CPAP machine. If it's not severe enough I'll go for the pillow.

I know it will kill - I'm still in denial.

And - I don't snore. The Man noticed I quit breathing in my sleep.

Beverley Baird said...

Both my hubby and I have a CPAP - we may look strange but sleep is better!
All the best with your new device!

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