(NewsUSA) - Do you have a partner that constantly complains about your snoring? Do you wake up feeling fatigued even though you slept all night long? If so, you may have more than a noise complaint on your hands. Snoring is no laughing matter. In fact, 50 to 60 percent of people who snore have a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can be life-threatening if left untreated.
This was the case for Geoff Malecha, a retired computer professional. For most of his adult life, Geoff maintained a strict workout regimen and was quite healthy. A few years ago, his wife, Cassie, began to notice something alarming in Geoff's sleeping patterns. He would frequently snore and even stop breathing during sleep. As the situation progressed, Geoff would often choke in his sleep and awaken in a panic, gasping for breath. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), one of the main signs of OSA may be a complaint by your bed partner that you snore loudly or that you stop breathing repeatedly while you're asleep.
"That choking and gasping really got my attention," Geoff said. "It finally got me to finally see a physician about what was happening."
Then, the answer was delivered. While reviewing the results of his sleep study, Geoff was told that he stopped breathing a total of 125 times per hour. Obstructive sleep apnea doesn't just leave you tired from a non-restful night of sleep. When you stop breathing, your heart beats faster, raising your blood pressure and increasing your chances of heart attack and stroke. Insufficient sleep can affect your job performance and ability to perform basic functions, like driving a car.
"My doctor recommended I begin continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment," Geoff recalled.
The respiratory therapist fitted Geoff with a mask, and soon Geoff found himself waking up in the morning feeling like a new person. From then on, Geoff committed himself to using his CPAP device every night for a better night's sleep.
"One of my main concerns when diagnosed with sleep apnea was how I would feel (or my wife might feel) having a mask on my face, hooked by a tube to a machine for the rest of my life. But because it has worked so well for both of us, my wife and I have accepted the device and have adapted our lives to include it. I take it everywhere because I do not want to try to sleep anywhere without it. It is just like brushing my teeth and putting on my pajamas," said Geoff.
"I sleep better because he sleeps better," said Cassie. I don't wake up during the night because he's choking or not breathing or making strange gasping sounds. That used to be awful and made me really anxious. I don't think I ever really got into a deep sleep because I was always worried about whether Geoff was breathing. Now I have peace of mind about my husband's health, and I sleep much better as a result."
Sleep apnea is not complicated. It is an easily managed condition that won't slow you down.
Being motivated to better your health is essential in your journey to a restful night's sleep. For more information on sleep apnea symptoms and solutions, visit www.WakeUptoSleep.org.