The minute she sat down to watch television or climbed into the passenger seat of a car, Doreen Henry would nod off. Her husband, Michael, was much the same, heading for the couch and a nap as soon as he got home from work.
“I was always tired, I had memory loss and high blood pressure,” said Doreen, who is 51 and lives with Michael, 50.
Sleep studies with Doylestown (Pennsylvania) Health’s Sleep Center found each of the Henrys had sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition that restricts the airway and stops breathing for several seconds, sometimes hundreds of times throughout the night. The interrupted sleep can lead to an array of health problems, from severe daytime fatigue to heart and liver ailments, sexual dysfunction and sleep-deprived partners.
Dr. Les Szekely, the sleep center’s director, prescribed CPAP machines to the couple. (Doreen got hers several years ago; Michael, a few months ago.) “Within two days of using it, I felt so much better,” Doreen said. “I won’t go anywhere without it, no way.”