Sleep Apnea Surprises

I’ve been tired during the day for quite a while. Tired enough to take naps. Tired enough to have difficulty focusing and concentrating on creative tasks–like working on blog posts, short stories, articles for my quarterly web magazine and–most importantly, a novel.

It couldn’t be sleep apnea, despite the snoring that causes my wife to sleep with ear plugs. I didn’t want to have to use a CPAP device.  It must be metabolic or hormonal. Hypoglycemia maybe. Adrenal glands not working right. Side effects from prescription drugs.

So I went off statins last year without any beneficial effect–but my cholesterol went way back up. I’m back on the statin.

All the lab tests were normal at my most recent annual visit last week. All values were within appropriate ranges.

But my ophthalmologist said I appeared to have glaucoma–damage to the optic nerve reducing peripheral vision in one quadrant of one eye. That, despite my eye pressure being normal. He said I might have low night-time blood pressure OR sleep apnea. Huh?  Yes, it turns out that the oxygen shortage caused by obstructive sleep apnea is associated with glaucoma. He referred me to a sleep study doctor.

Sure enough, a sleep study confirmed that I have severe sleep apnea. Bad enough to need not only a CPAP device but supplemental oxygen while I sleep. Thankfully, the oxygen doesn’t have to come from a bottle or tank but a concentrator. Unfortunately, that machine is the size of carry-on luggage and a lot noisier than the CPAP.  But it does have a 15-foot tube that means it doesn’t have to be next to my head.

The first night wasn’t that bad. The local supplier of the equipment and the doctor assured me that in a few weeks I would both become accustomed to the machines and–most importantly, would find myself alert and focused again.

If you have any inkling you might have sleep apnea, don’t put off testing. You could find yourself falling asleep at the wheel. You could find yourself with vision problems. You could also put yourself at a higher risk of heart problems or a stroke. Yes, it’s more of a problem for men, but women aren’t immune. If your spouse says you snore–take it as a clue. If you’re tired during the day after what you thought was a full night’s sleep, don’t ignore it and hope it’s something else.

Soon, I hope, I’ll be posting more stuff and making progress on the novel that I have promised to get out this fall. That will be a tough nut to crack, but I’m going to do it somehow.

6 thoughts on “Sleep Apnea Surprises”

  1. It’s amazing how one bodily function can affect so many others, and no wonder diagnosis is often difficult. So glad you’re back on track, John. Hugs…

  2. An important message for anyone who is a heavy snorer.. and the machine does sound a little Sc-fi… but if it helps you get back to blogging that is great… There is every reason to think that it is also associated with memory problems down the line so well worth putting up with it….

  3. Wow, don’t be fallin’ apart on me my friend. 🙂 Holy crap what a story! It’s like how my tiny red dot on my arm led to heart surgery. Amazing how all our parts are connected. And oh, if you’re on statins, please take COQMRB supplementation each day. Most doctors have started to advise that to their patients here finally, accepting naturopathic and alternative therapies. 🙂 And I hope you’ll feel like your old alert self soon with this therapy. 🙂 x

    1. I’ve got two guy friends who have been on the CPAP for years and swear by it (not at it ?). Tonight will be my 3rd episode so I expect I’ll get used to it after a bit and be all bushy tailed again!

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