By: Daynna S
Sleep Apnea…I know a bit about that! My name is Daynna S and I am a graduating senior that knows a little bit about this subject. My brother was diagnosed with a sleep disorder called Sleep Apnea also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obstructive Sleep Apnea means that a person has episodes that their airway or throat becomes blocked or obstructed causing them to have episodes when they are not breathing while they are sleeping. Even though this happens while sleeping at night, it often affects people with how they function and feel during the day.
My brother and I have always been really close growing up. I remember he would snore really loudly and often times he would look like he was not breathing while he was sleeping. Seeing him doing this would scare me as well being worried if something would happen to him. I also remember that he would struggle a lot with getting up to get ready for school in the morning and sometimes it would even affect his performance in school.
My mother took him to the doctor to have his problem assessed. He had to go to a sleep lab to have an overnight sleep test done. He was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea when he was nine years old. Because of his diagnosis, he had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed to treat and correct this condition. I remember visiting him in the hospital after the surgery and being a little scared because his mouth was purple, he looked a little like a zombie. I would later find out that he was only able to eat ice cream, which was not an issue for him at all! After his surgery, I saw him improve immediately! He no longer snored and no longer had the episodes of looking like he was not breathing while sleeping. I was elated as well as relieved to see that he was better.
My brother is now twenty-one years old and is thriving and doing quite well. He is a full-time college student entering his third year of college. I believe the fact that his sleep apnea was treated when he was younger has had a positive impact on his quality of life. It has allowed him to excel in school both academically and athletically. When he was a high school student, he was heavily involved in academic clubs and was captain of the basketball team. This would have definitely been a challenge for him had he not been able to rest and sleep properly to restore his body’s energy by getting proper sleep!
I have learned that some people have to use a sleep machine called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. A CPAP machine blows pressurized air that allows the person to sleep more efficiently.The air helps by taking away the obstruction to allow them to breathe properly without the stress sleep apnea places on the body. By using the CPAP machine, they do not have the same type of symptoms that I witnessed my brother have. Fortunately, he has never had to use a CPAP machine as his surgery proves to have been successful. He also makes an effort to eat well and remain in his best physical shape to maintain a healthy weight as that also contributes to having sleep apnea.
Sleep is very vital to our overall health as your body is meant to do a lot of things for itself in your sleep. It is clinically proven that therapeutic sleep helps your body operate more closely to the capacity it was created to function at. With that being said…Sleep well!