My blood pressure had been good all my life, low in fact. Now it was rising and I had to go on medication. At one time it was as high as 200/105. People would tell me, you are overdoing it, just rest more, just exercise more, you know the type of thing. Everyone was trying to be helpful.
One of my friends mentioned to me - that it's not "normal" to be so sleepy during the day. This really got me thinking. I went back and saw my doctor - and at the risk of being seen as a hypochondriac I also said "I feel like I can't breath". My doctor suggested I have a sleep study.
When the results came back it said I had sleep apnoea. That is, I stop breathing when I try to sleep and that wakes me up again, so I rarely get into the REM stage. Famous people who have been diagnosed or suspected of sleep apnoea include Billy Connolly, Brahms, Adam Savage, and Rosie O'Donnell.
It's always been thought of as an old man's disease, or a disease of overweight people. But that isn't so. Anyone can get obstructive sleep apnoea just because you don't have much room in your mouth and throat.
However, it is recommended you try to loose weight and don't drink alcohol and practise a good sleep hygiene routine to ensure the best nights sleep. For me and others diagnosed as severe - one option is to use a CPAP machine. I am going to be fitted next week, and I'm hoping to get some good sleep.
If you suspect that you, or someone you love suffers from this condition then please see your doctor. It can lead to chronic heart conditions and all sorts of other health problems.
Also, check with your government organisations to see if you are entitled to some rebates for the extra electricity needed to run the machine.
The home sleep study in Australia costs $489.70 or $459.70 for concession/pensioners. Medicare covers $279.70 and you have to pay the difference. Make sure you go to a fully qualified centre or it will not be covered.
If you are trialing the CPAP machine before you buy it, or you cannot afford to buy one, then it costs $200 deposit and $100 a month or $70 for pensioners.
Machines can be bought second hand but they must be calibrated by a qualified technologist.
New machines cost somewhere between $1500 and $2500 in Australia.
For more info check out http://www.sleepoz.org.au/ or http://www.cpapaustralia.com.au or the sleep disorders clinic where you live.