John’s Story: After Sleep Apnea Treatment, Chef Has Energy to Exercise

At 51, chef John Kavy was having heart problems that left him out of breath all the time. He was so tired that he would often fall asleep while reading. His doctor noted heart irregularities and hospitalized John at Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) for heart treatment.

Doctors at Miami Valley Hospital performed a special type of localized shock on John’s heart to try to get the top and bottom parts to beat in sync. When the procedure didn't work, heart physicians suspected that John may be suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause many other conditions like atrial fibrillation (as in John's case), high blood pressure, stroke, heart blockage and even a heart attack.

John made an appointment at the Miami Valley Hospital Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders for additional testing and spent a few nights there. The rooms resemble a hotel more than they do a hospital. This allows patients to get the same sleep they would in the comfort of their own bed. Monitoring showed that John woke up 273 times that night. Basically, he was getting no sleep at all. The sleep apnea was also irritating his heart and putting John at risk of more serious heart conditions if something couldn't be done about it.

John’s doctor prescribed a device called a CPAP. This is a special mask to wear while sleeping that provides pressurized “breaths” of air to keep air passages open. Other methods, like dental appliances or surgery, can also be used for treatment. CPAP is usually the first treatment and commonly corrects the issue with continuous wearing while sleeping.

Wearing a mask may not seem comfortable, but it works miracles for most sleep apnea sufferers. They get substantially more sleep on the first night. It made a huge difference for John. His normal pattern had been to go to bed at 8 p.m. and still wake up tired. Using his CPAP, John was in bed fewer hours, but he slept more and felt a lot more rested. John's success with his CPAP has encouraged him to wear it every night and even for naps. He now has the energy and time to make exercise a regular part of his routine.

Learn more about Premier Health’s Sleep Disorder Centers.

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