Laura, 57, thought her sleep problems were menopausal, but the real cause was moderate sleep apnea. Now she sleeps well until the morning with a pressure mask.
When Laura moved in with her husband Matt a few years ago, she sent him for sleep apnea examinations. Matt was snoring like a freight train, and he had a lot of breathing breaks.
Laura carefully searched for information about sleep apnea because she was worried about her husband. Matt’s sleep apnea was found in occupational health care, and he received an overpressure mask.
As Matt began to sleep better with the CPAP, he noticed that missis was snoring and suffering from prolonged breathing breaks!
“Of course I knew I was snoring because the youngest daughter complained about it while we were living together. Three years ago, I was on a business trip and a roommate had to change rooms because she couldn’t sleep in the same room with me” Laura says.
“I had been going to the restroom many times a night, sweating all night, waking up and being tired in the morning. Many times I wondered if I had slept at all. But I assumed all were menopausal symptoms. ”
In mild sleep apnea, there are 5–15 breathing breaks per hour, in moderate sleep apnea 16–30 per hour and in severe over 30 breathing breaks per hour. The length of the breathing break affects the decrease in oxygen concentration, which threatens cardiac health.
Weight loss may be enough to treat mild sleep apnea. Moderate to severe sleep apnea is treated with CPAP. The nasal mask is used to breathe air under low pressure. It prevents the airways from blocking during sleep.
Sleep apnea in women is often confused with menopause due to similar symptoms such as mood swings and night sweats. Women’s snoring is often quieter than men’s, and breathing breaks are less frequent.
Diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea
Two years ago, Laura got a sleep recorder home from a doctor for one night.
The device, which is worn under the chest, measures the airflow of the breath, the oxygen concentration and the respiratory movement of the chest. The device’s memory card stored the data that was sent to a specialist for consultation.
“I was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea, I had 2-3 breathing breaks per hour. The longest ones lasted half a minute to a minute. I received a referral to a Sleep Clinic, which came to my surprise after a wait of less than two months. ”
CPAP Device testing
At the Sleep Clinic, the nurse lectured on sleep apnea to a group of six, all coincidentally women.
“The nurse told me that losing weight would make it easier, and that drinking alcohol would increase breathing problems.”
The newly diagnosed sleep apnea patients were given the opportunity to experiment with a variety of devices in the group, and they were individually adjusted to suit each individual.
“I was distracted by a big CPAP device. When the air came under pressure in my nose I felt like I was not breathing. I just started crying. But I got used to the lighter model pretty soon. I have a silicone nose mask to wear. ”
Two elephants in the bedroom
The device has significantly improved Laura’s night’s sleep. Night sweats, waking up in the sleep and nightly visits to the toilet have completely disappeared. Hot waves are still reminiscent of menopause.
“If you rush to put the nasal mask on your nose, it can go wrong into a bad position and blow air in the wrong place. That’s why I need to calm down by the time I start wearing the mask. ”
“We sometimes laugh with Matt that two elephants go to sleep when we both have tubes in our noses.”
The device blows room-temperature air, and Laura changes the fresh water every night into the device’s water tank. In the morning, she pours water from the device into a flower pot in the bedroom. It seems to be well soaked in ‘sleep water’.
“I can do well one night without a device, so for small trips I don’t drag it with me. On board an aircraft, the CPAP device may be carried in hand luggage. “
Improved sleep quality affects the teeth
According to Laura, sleep apnea affects a surprising number of things. She says she went to the dentist repeatedly at one point, because tooth patches were broken all the time. The doctor thought that she might have to use a mouth guard during the night.
“When I told her I would get a CPAP device, the dentist stated that then there are no room for a mouth guard. Otherwise, the mouth and face would be too full of equipment. At the last dental visit, there was no evidence of tooth patch splitting, so the improved quality of sleep has also had a positive effect on the teeth. ”
Laura has other health problems besides sleep apnea. They, like a frozen shoulder, have come as a result of the work as a hairdresser. The frozen shoulder also affected the elbow; the fingers were numb and eventually the carpal tunnel stenosis had to undergo a surgery.
“The only treatment for a frozen shoulder is physical therapy. I returned to work after sick leave, but then also my left side started to show symptoms. I always had to take sick leave because of the pain, and almost two years passed.
She was thinking about retraining, because Laura could no longer return to being a hairdresser.
Laura, who was interested in handicrafts, was trained as a master of handicrafts. Studies are ongoing and the aim is a degree as an artisan.
My seven-month-old grandson Eric is my daily joy as I get photos, videos and news every day. Eric is in a good mood all the time. The baby’s scent and soft skin makes grandma so happy.
And it’s a wonderful feeling when the baby falls asleep on her lap. Eric lives pretty far away, so meeting is unfortunately rare.
Matt is my support and safety. It’s wonderful that I met him seven years ago and got another chance at a relationship. No need to grow old alone. We got married three years ago. We have brought a lot of new things to each other’s lives.
I always have many projects under construction because I love knitting and sewing. I just knit scarves for myself. To my grandchild I sewed a tricot bodysuit with grandma’s love.
It is advisable to go for sleep apnea studies
Laura is all right now, but she urges everyone to go to their studies early for sleep problems. “Only serious problems cause many to go to sleep apnea research. But especially women should remember that not all discomfort is due to menopause, ”Laura points out.
For her, it is important that sleep apnea and sleep problems in general have begun to be discussed more and more in recent years. “I’m not in any way ashamed or covering up sleep apnea. All relatives and acquaintances know about it. ”