If you snore, read this! Part One.

By Wendell R. McMillan II

For almost 9 years now, I have been sleeping with a CPAP machine almost every night. Words can’t express how much this has improved the quality of my life! I’m in the process now of getting my machine checked out and repeating my sleep study and boy, has the technology changed.

For this series of posts, I’d like to give you an idea of what CPAP therapy is, what it’s used for, disprove some myths (hopefully) and most of all show how this can really improve your life. Sleep medicine is not my specialty so I’m going to use references from the web. If they’re not correct…

We all know someone who snores. Heck, it’s always just been accepted as a part of growing older. “Man, I could hear you two rooms away!” Something similar to this has been said soooo many times, often with a good belly laugh. It’s not funny though. Many times when we snore, we also stop breathing. As the oxygen saturation in our blood lowers, our body forces us to wake up, not gain consciousness, but wake up just enough so we start breathing again. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea (osa). This reduces the amount of restful sleep someone with osa has and can also lead to a variety of health issues including atrial fibrillation.

So about 9 years ago I was working at a teaching hospital in Baltimore and since I didn’t have a regular physician at the time I used the resident internal medicine clinic as my Primary Care Physician (PCP). I was having a particularly hard time getting over a cold and Keischa came with me to one of my doctor visits. After the resident finished her exam and the attending came and did his follow-up exam, he noticed that I had a thick neck and tongue and asked if I snored or stopped breathing during the night. Naturally I said no but Keischa had to go and snitch on me. She noted that I may not always snore but she did notice that I stopped breathing from time to time and she would have to shake me to wake me up so I would breathe again. A sleep study was ordered and I reluctantly agreed.

Next time we’ll talk about my experience with my original sleep study.