Malcolm knew he snored, but realizing just how bad it was led to a diagnosis of sleep apnea and the discovery of a small machine that changed his life.
For my wife, it was diabolical
“I’ve had high blood pressure for 40 years, and some years ago I was asked to take part in a British Heart Foundation-funded blood pressure trial on resistant hypertension, known as the Pathway II Study. In the course of the trial I met Dr Manish Saxena, Clinical lecturer at William Harvey Research Institute and Barts Health, who was one of the doctors running the trial.
Manish asked me about my sleeping patterns and whether I had any problems with snoring. He gave my wife, Alexandra, and I separate questionnaires to fill in and that’s when we found out just how bad my snoring was. I knew the snoring was disrupting my sleep but for my wife it was diabolical. The noise was keeping her awake and she was also frightened, as I appeared to stop breathing and then would take a big gasp of air.
Manish arranged for me to go and see Dr Simon Lloyd-Owen, a respiratory physician at the London Chest Clinic, and to be monitored for 24 hours. Dr Lloyd-Owen confirmed obstructive sleep apnea, where the muscles and soft tissues in the throat relax and collapse during sleep. It wakes you up so that your airways open up, so it interrupts your sleep and can lead to high blood pressure.
A good night’s sleep
Dr Lloyd-Owen prescribed a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers compressed air to a mask you wear over your nose and mouth to help you breathe. The benefits of the machine were apparent from the very first night I used it. My sleeping pattern was better but for my wife it meant a much better night’s sleep with no disturbances. I’ve used it ever since and I now sleep well and so does my wife. With the help of medications, my blood pressure is under control too.
Malcolm, 72, London.
Share your story
Sharing your story lets others know they’re not alone, and could help them to live well with high blood pressure.