Bernie's Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Story
Bernie is what you might call a typical OSA sufferer - somebody aware of a problem with their sleep but whose condition - on the surface - affected their partner more than themselves. Here Bernie explains how he began treatment for his OSA, and the benefits it has brought him and his partner.
"I had been to my GP several times with symptoms of sleep apnoea. I had gained a little weight over the previous year or so (although I'm far from being obese) and my symptoms had worsened. After increasing concerns from my wife I recorded a video which shows episode after episode of breathing cessation for what seems like up to 40 seconds with explosive snorting/coughing/snoring noises as I clearly gasp for breath before the cycle repeats. Armed with this evidence, I visited my GP again and showed him the video. "That is sleep apnoea, you're going to need a CPAP machine, I'll refer you to a clinic immediately".
"I decided to go directly to Intus Healthcare to find out more about OSA and what my options were to speed up the process. My symptoms were all there – feeling tired all the time, loud snoring (to put it mildly, my wife would no doubt say) - and so it was suggested that I could take an at-home sleep study using a pulse oximeter to monitor my sleep and pick up on any apnoeas. That I could get my results and start getting therapy within a fortnight was very appealing.
"In the meantime I received a letter from the NHS sleep clinic saying that in due course I would receive an appointment and that the appointment notification would give around 2 weeks’ notice of the date. In other words, I could wait one year for an appointment to be made, but the appointment will be two weeks after that time. So I had no idea how long it will take to get my first appointment and I have to bear in mind that inevitably the first appointment will only comprise of a session where I get asked questions before being referred to wait again for the next stage.
"I studied obstructive sleep apnoea on the web reading many excellent scientific papers and reading many unscientific but at times very illuminating forums. If you dip into a forum and take away a few comments you could be getting very erroneous information, but I find that if you delve deeply and read lots, you can usually find where there is a consensus and develop a base line of accurate information, especially when coupled with scientific papers.
"I was not prepared to wait"
"So bearing in mind the known impact of sleep apnoea on cardiovascular problems, which are particularly relevant to me as an insulin dependent diabetic I was not prepared to wait around for an appointment that was on offer at some unspecified time in the future. To speed up the process I took up the option of a private, at-home sleep study with Intus Healthcare. With OSA duly confirmed, I purchased an Auto CPAP machine. Within a fortnight of arranging the study I could begin getting the therapy I had long sought.
"The first overnight use of the machine resulted in no snoring, and curiously for a mouth-breather, most of the time spent breathing through the nose. After 4 hours however the nose became stuffy and following instructions not to use the machine with a blocked nose I discontinued its use. It was pretty uncomfortable as a result anyway. But the next day my wife said that up until that point she'd never seen me so relaxed in my sleep.
"Prior to using CPAP by AHI/ODI was an alarming 75. Within the first few days this dropped dramatically to 15 – although that number in itself is still quite high. However, I wasn't expecting CPAP to improve my condition by 80% that quickly. After a few weeks of really getting used to the therapy my OSA was completely under control and I was sleeping better than I had done in years. My wife was probably even more pleased with the results than I was! Incidentally, before using CPAP, when I asked her if I could be heard in the next room, she suggested that the next house was a better description but was reluctant to put such a flippant comment on the form!
"I have no regrets over going privately"
"I have no regrets over forging ahead and finding a solution privately, and would do the same again. It's fairly obvious that without any data, the first appointment would comprise answering an Epworth questionnaire and being told that they'll investigate further. No doubt several more months away. Even if they get a move on, the peace of mind that I've enjoyed by treating the condition early has been priceless.
"For the price of a few nights on one of my business trips I've had better sleep and more peace of mind. If you want to understand what is happening to you while you sleep, do what I did and set up a video camera overnight, but only do so if you're prepared to be horrified and deal with the stress of seeing what is happening to them. With hindsight, I could have missed the video recording and just ordered an oximetry study. Probably less stressful and certainly more informative. However, I'm just grateful that I am now receiving the therapy that allows me, and my wife, to get on with our lives and gives me the peace of mind that OSA is now a lot less likely to cause me serious long term problems".
As a customer of Intus, Bernie now has access to rapid data reporting as and when he chooses. Whether he suspects something is up, or just to confirm everything is still going swimmingly, he can send in his data card and Intus can then run a report, keeping him up to date with his therapy. He can also pass this on to his GP to ensure they are kept informed, too. This service is crucial to Intus' commitment to ensuring all of our customers get the maximum out of their therapy - every night.
Does this sound like you? If so you too can enjoy the life-changing therapy that Bernie has. If you have OSA it can have a big impact on your life - and the lives of your loved ones. Taking a sleep study is the first stop towards getting OSA confirmed and treated. Your first step is choosing which sleep study is right for you - have a look at our simple guide here now!
Already been diagnosed? Then start getting the treatment you need and, like Bernie, get your life back on track again. We have a wide range of CPAP machines and masks to cater for all requirements. Start by clicking below to choose the machine for you now!