Man with sleep apnoea was misdiagnosed for years

A sleep apnoea sufferer tells of how the condition affected his health and even his marriage but now that he's been diagnosed, he has a new lease of life.

DUBAI // Jonathan has suffered from sleep problems for more than 10 years without realising apnoea was to blame.

“My wife had mentioned some snoring and she has had to wake me on occasions because I stopped breathing. I have snored and felt low in ­energy for many years,” he said.

So off were the misdiagnoses that he had MRI scans done for headaches, was prescribed ­antidepressants for low moods and was given blood-pressure medication.

He visited doctors for many years, but nobody recognised sleep as the root cause of his issues.

“I finally saw a doctor recently for an unrelated matter and he mentioned he thought I may be suffering from sleep apnoea, so referred me to the London Sleep Centre for a sleep test,” he said. “I knew I had been tired for many years but didn’t know about sleep apnoea.”

He now wears a breathing support machine at night, called a continuous positive airway pressure machine.

“It took a few nights to get used to wearing a mask but the difference it made to how I feel in the daytime is very noticeable. It stops me snoring and ­improves my sleep patterns.”

The condition has had many implications for his health, work and home life. “My wife actually could not sleep in the same room as me. The snoring was so loud it was affecting her sleep, so this affected our marriage,” Jonathan said.

“I would not have energy to do things with the family when I got home from work and ended up wasting a lot of time. I struggled with energy levels for many years. It affected my work and I never had energy to exercise.

“I gained a lot of weight and I’m pre-diabetic, which I now understand is probably a result of this condition I’ve had for so long. I am on medications for high blood pressure, which is made worse by the apnoea.

“Many times I have fallen asleep while driving on long journeys. Thankfully, I have not had any accidents.”

Jonathan said doctors needed to be educated on how to identify the signs and help the many others like him to seek the right help.

“The awareness of sleep ­apnoea needs to be there. The doctors need to see the signs and send the patients for testing. If it had been diagnosed 10 years ago my life would have been very different.

“Educate the doctors to look out for the signs. If your wife tells you are snoring too loudly, go and get checked. I have felt like a new person in the past three weeks and I’m hoping now that my health will start to improve.”

Published: September 16, 2016 04:00 AM


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