Sleep Apn0ea (Sleep Apnea in American English) – a condition that effects your breathing when you sleep.

I know all about living with this condidtion as my father suffers with it, and has done for almost as long as I can remember.

Sufferer’s snore so loudly and long that the house can shake with them. And, up to ten times an hour the sufferer can stop breathing all together for anything from a few seconds to a couple of mins. These pausing in breathing are called apnoeaCausing the sufferer to wake up in order to start breathing again. But it is only for a second and most of the time the sufferer isnt aware that they have woken during the night.

I know from experince that there are times when the sufferer wakes in the night and have a whole ten minute or longer converastion and doesnt remember it in the morning. Hell, my father has got up, gone to the loo cooked himself food, eaten it and forgotten all about it by the time morning comes around.

Sleep Apnoea is more likely to effect men then women and of those men they are morely to be over wieght and lead none active lives. For instance, driving to work, sitting in a chair at a desk, often eating lunch at their desk, getting home and playing on the computer or sitting still watching T.V.

Sufferers can live with the condidtion for most of their lives without it being diagnosed. My father lived with the condition for about fifteen years before he got his diagnosis.

The most common symptoms are feeling more tired on waking then when you went to sleep. Having difficulty in staying awake. Being kicked out of your partners bed. Having very little energy or concentration. From living with my dad i wouold say a lot of the symptoms are similar to those of some forms of depression, and my father was told he had depression before he got his proper diagnosis.

There are two main ways to deal with the condidtion. Lose weight and sleep in a slightly elivated postion like you would with a cold. Or get a little machine that blows air into your airways to keep them open during the night.

My father is currently using the later option, even though he keeps moaning about needing to do the first. (we were trying to take the first option together before we were involved in the car crash i mentioned in an earlier post. Bit hard to keep losing the wieght when your in agony.)

the machine is only a little thing which comes in a little carry case for him to take anywhere he goes. (which he often forgets to do when he goes away for the night!) The machine is quite noisy but you get used to hearing it, and as someone who lives with a sufferer its a god send he has it. Theres no more snoring and shaking of the windows as he sleeps. Well thats when he remembers to put it on before falling asleep.

He was banned from driving for a year after he got the diagnosis as he was considered unsafe untill he got his condition under control. During that year he never once forgot to put it on and he trandformed into a different person. More like the active father i remember from being younger. Which is a big ask since he was in his mid fifties when he started using the wonder machine.

There is one other option that may help with the condition but most people arent even told about it never mind go for it. It was only when Labour leader Ed Milliband had an operation for the condidtion that my father first heard about it, five years after he was told there where only two options.

When he next had a check iup he asked about the operation which aims to keep the airways open during sleep. He was told that at the moment you can only get it if you go private as the odds of it helping the condition are considered to low to get it on the nhs. That it is a very painful operation and takes longer to recover from then having your tonsils out, which is performed in the same area the apnoea operation. So not a good idea to have it when you have to work to keep a roof over your families head and it is considered an elective op so your work doesnt ahve to count it as sick leave, which means using those rare things holiday days.

All in all its not the worst medical condition you could have, but the effect it has on your life and that of your loved ones just isnt wortyh not doing everything you can elivate the symptoms.