SAN ANTONIO - Not being able to fall asleep and stay asleep for an entire night can be annoying. For many of us, there could be reasons why we are not sleeping well that could mean life or death.
"I wasn't getting enough sleep at night. I would wake up about four or five times during the night," 52-year-old Robert Walker said.
He started taking his sleep problems seriously about five years ago.
Walker said, "I used to have my ex-wife tell me, you scared me, you stopped breathing, and then all of a sudden you would start breathing really loud and he would do that throughout the night."
Walker saw a doctor, ended up taking part in a sleep study and found out he had sleep apnea. He was told he needed a CPAP machine.
"If you are stopping breathing while you sleep that is oxygen that is decreasing to the heart," University Health System Physicians Assistant Amanda Brosnan said.
She told us the CPAP can be a lifesaver, once you get used to it.
"The machine the treatment for sleep apnea is intimidating. I completely understand that, but it's a life-changing treatment," Brosnan stated.
Walker added, "Once I started using it I was able to sleep during the night I wouldn't get up for five times. I had more energy. I felt refreshed, wasn't falling asleep at my desk no more and it just made a lot of difference in my life."
If you think the machine isn't for you, Brosnan said you can go a different route.
"There are other options for sleep apnea besides a CPAP machine. There is something we call dental devices as well that fit like a mouthguard and keeps your airway open." Brosnan said.
Regardless of your approach if you aren't sleeping well you need to see a doctor.
Walker said, "If you value your life it's something you need to go have addressed."
For more men's health information call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Real Men Wear Gowns stories on wearthegown.com.
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