Do you snore? I have for years. Of course, I’m a sleep and I don’t know it.
Do you snore loudly? My husband has said for years that I snore like a bear.
Has anyone ever told you that you stop breathing when you sleep? Wait, I didn’t know that was happening. My family did, but thought that’s just how I sleep and never thought to mention it.
I wish I’d known years ago that my snoring was a symptom of more serious health concerns.
I’ve battled the scales most of my life. Though I’ve been big, I always considered myself healthy. I’ve had no issues with diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure. I’m strong as an ox, and even though a turtle could out pace me, I pride myself that if I decide go a distance I’ll get there eventually through a thing called ‘Grit’.
Over the past few years though, working out has become more and more difficult. Try as I might, I felt weak, stuck, always fatigued and frustrated. I knew what to do, would do it for months and have no results or worse results and give up.
A few months ago, new symptoms emerged: Headaches that lasted from morning to evening, and dizzy spells that happened throughout the day became a regular and daily thing for me.
My vision would go from fine to blurred and back to fine again. So, I got glasses. Though my vision is only slightly off, I thought it would help with my headaches. It didn’t.
Next, I went to my primary Doctor. I got muscle relaxants and headache medicines. Well, I always google medicines before I take them so I know the side effects. The first thing that showed up was “can cause suicidal thoughts.” So, I never took the headache medicine, and the muscle relaxants didn’t keep me from waking up with headaches.
The headaches persisted daily. I was tired all the time. Weak. When I say weak I mean, I felt weak in my muscles and in my bones. Imagine, if you’ve ever worked out hard, that burning feeling in your muscles when you’re lifting weights and have reached failure. That’s what I felt in my arms and legs without having worked out. I’d try to work out to help with the feeling, but then I was weak and sore, and still the headaches persisted.
Recently my doctor got some information that helped put together what was really going on with me.
Over the past few months, I started having what I thought were nightmares. I would awaken gasping for air so hard that my husband, up late and watching TV in the Living-room, could hear me through closed door and two rooms away. He would run to the room to check on me and find me gasping for air, heart racing, body numb and tingly.
It wasn’t until I fell asleep in the Living-room while my husband was wide awake watching television that he saw the whole thing happen from beginning to end that he realized I wasn’t having nightmares. I wasn’t breathing. I’d progressed from going a few seconds without breathing in my sleep to much, much longer. I was going so long without breathing that when my brain finally woke me up, I was gasping for air like a person would be if they’d just come up from being under water for way too long. The scream was because I was taking in such a forceful intake of breath. Later I’d learn the heart racing was due to the lack of oxygen to the heart and lungs while I wasn’t breathing. The numb feeling was due lack of oxygen and poor circulation.
When my husband mentioned that my nightmares weren’t nightmares, I googled, “Stops breathing while sleeping.” What I found in the resulting links, had me in the doctor’s office the very next day.