Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sleep Apnea and It's Impact on Your Health

Toward the end of the school year back in May, I started feeling really tired.  As a chef working, teaching and raising a family, this did not seem like a big deal at first, but something was different.  I was tired everyday.  At times I could barely finish my lectures, had no energy to work out and was in pain after a big catering events.  I ignored the symptoms at first, thinking I could fight through it.  I had no idea I was experiencing burn out and exhaustion.  I literally woke up one morning and could not go to work.  I finally decided I needed to schedule a visit to my doctor and have a physical.

All sorts of thoughts were going through my mind.  Is it a heart condition, stroke, cancer.  Lot's of fear with no real answers.  After weighing in and getting my blood pressure checked I was sent to the exam room to wait on the doctor.  As I sat in the chair I was faced with a chart on the wall that might as well had been a mirror. "Are Your Suffering from Sleep Apnea"

I had 9 of the 10 symptom on the chart.  Recent wait gain, tossing and turning at night, memory loss and shortness of breath etc....  It was amazing that I was staring at my condition on the wall.  After finishing the physical and talking with my doctor I quickly realized that I needed to do something about this problem because it could lead to more serious health issues.

When you have obstructive sleep apnea you literally stop breath multiple times at night while you are sleep.  The diminished oxygen supply literally causes damage to all your major organs over time.  Your brains tells you that you need more oxygen by giving you a choking sensation, causing you to wake up over and over again.  This routine night after night will cause weight gain because of a slower metabolism in addition to creating favorable conditions for stroke, heart failure or worse death while your sleep if it is not properly treated.  Africans Americans, Hispanics, people with high blood pressure and obesity issues are higher risk groups.

This week I will start testing at a local sleep center to determine exactly what type of sleep disorder I am suffering from.  I'm excited that with the proper sleep therapy solution I will be able to return to my normal activity level, that will include more exercise and a better diet.  Will keep you posted on my journey.

Chef Reggie

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