HOW TREATMENT FOR OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OSA) CHANGED MY LIFE
It was a cool, fall night in 2012 when I finally admitted I had a sleeping problem. I was 31 years old, a father of two and the owner of an 18-month-old dental practice. It’s easy to have excuses about why you are always tired. Actually, I was telling myself at the time that I wasn’t tired; instead, it was just “life.”
I have always been a heavy snorer. At 17, a friend went with me to a lacrosse camp for a week and after the week he said, “That was the worst week of sleep I have ever had due to your loud snoring.” At the time, I was 175 pounds of solid muscle.
Fast forward through college, dental school and the first five years of working; now, I’m 31 and 215 pounds (and not solid muscle), and I have high blood pressure. For several months before that night in 2012, my wife had been telling me she was noticing that during the night there were times when I wasn’t breathing. She stated that she would stay up and count how long I wasn’t breathing and sometimes it was over 10 seconds. That should have been enough for me to seek treatment, but it wasn’t. In my mind, it wasn’t my problem.
The night I finally knew I had an issue with my sleep started out with a fun evening out with friends. I went to bed around midnight after having a few drinks (drinking makes sleeping problems worse). I fell asleep; when I opened my eyes I was standing in my bathroom (10 feet from my bed) and I was gasping for air; sucking in air like I had just been underwater for two minutes. My heart was racing and pounding to the point I thought it was coming out of my chest. I was delirious and was not really sure whether I was in a dream or reality. That is when I knew something was wrong.
A few days later, I went to see my doctor, and after describing what happened and what my wife had been noticing, he sent me to see a sleep doctor. I was sent for a sleep test and was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea. The test showed that I had stopped breathing over 76 times an hour (more than once a minute!). Because of the severity of my condition, I was given a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Luckily for me, I was able to tolerate wearing the CPAP. Almost immediately, I felt more rested; plus, my wife was no longer hearing me choke, gasp or snore.
After almost three years, I have had drastic changes in my life. Because of getting rest every night, my body gets a chance to reset every evening. Due to this major change and also some other big changes in my life (diet, exercise), I have been able to lose over 20 pounds and my blood pressure is now considered below normal. I have also been able to use a custom-made dental device which is a life saver when traveling.
Call me and I can help you, too.
-John E. Kempter DDS
Owner of Preferred Sleep Solutions of the Carolinas
Owner-Kempter Holistic Dentistry