My husband suffers from sleep apnea (1/2)

Alice’s husband has been suffering from sleep apnea for a few years. It changed their lives. Having been anxious about his health and their future together, Alice feels relieved after medical experts diagnosed OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) and prescribed Paul a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) equipment to treat it. Here, Alice shares their experience…

How did you find out that Paul was suffering from sleep apnea?

Obesity means Paul snores a lot. And when I say a lot, I really mean it. I couldn’t sleep because of the noise, so started speaking to a friend of mine about possible solutions. He told me that Paul had all the risk factors for sleep apnea, a disease he suffers from himself: 45 years of age, terrible snoring, more than a bit overweight, tired in the morning…
From that moment on, I started researching it on the internet. I paid more attention at night and discovered Paul paused when breathing and woke himself up all of a sudden. It was time to get diagnosed!

So did Paul have a sleep test?

Yes, he was diagnosed with OSA and it was a big shock for me to see his results! I got used to living with obesity and its consequences, even if I’d rather Paul lost weight. But I must admit, I was not prepared for this. We discovered Paul stopped breathing dozens of times, for 30 or 40 seconds in a row. That night, he almost stopped breathing for a total of one hour. Terrifying… After speaking to the sleep expert, we realized it was depriving his brain of oxygen and putting strain on his heart, meaning it wouldn’t last as long as it should. In other words: his life expectancy shortened by 10 years - or a lot more if we didn’t do anything to stop it. I couldn’t help thinking about our two children without their father… We immediately decided to get treatment. I felt quite relieved after we identified the causes of his disease and after beginning the treatment, which proved to be effective.

Can you tell us more about the treatment?

Of course. Paul has to wear a mask on his face whenever he goes to sleep. The equipment provides continuous positive airway pressure into his mouth and nose to help him breathe without pausing. A technician from our provider comes once a month to check Paul’s using statistics, make adjustments or replace pieces of his equipment if need be. Paul wasn’t sure if he would be capable of sleeping with a mask on, but after just a few weeks, he realized he couldn’t live without it! It’s a part of our family now, we even gave it a name: “Darth Vader” as Paul’s breathing the same way now. We’ve turned it into a sort of joke and our two children find it very funny, as they love Star Wars.

What did it change in your daily life?

Emily and Paul’s life with sleep apnea continues in part 2/2