I did a follow-up survey at the Busselton Health Study today. The BHS is one of the longest-running and most significant health studies of a single continuous population in the world, os so the blurb goes when they call you to say your number has come up and invite you to participate.
I did the initial survey last year.
Today was a specific survey on lungs, my lungs, as representative of the lungs of Busselton generally.
It involved various breathing monitoring apparatus.
The most arduous of which required the participant, me, to take the biggest breath I could then expel it with the most force I could and continue to do so for 6 seconds.
This is not as easy as it sounds, and it doesn't even sound that easy!
They need 3 readings within an average range for the sake of the study. The problem comes when you get an extra burst of strength, or in this case capacity, and blow more than they expected, thus requiring two more breaths of equal volume and velocity to match!
"Just one more" said the assessor for the 14th time!!!
That's easy for you to say!
In the end he settled for what he had, probably because of the imminent risk of my permanent expiration!
Then he asked me about the results of the sleep apnoea test I did last time.
It was a loaded question!
He had already looked at the results and he and I both new that the report had come back saying I was in the severe sleep apnoea range!
Was I going to die?
Not there and then certainly, but down the track a little? Who knows?
He patiently explained the impact and possibilities of sleep apnoea and even showed me all the brightly coloured graphs on the computer showing the times when I stopped breathing, in blue, and the times when I imitated a corpse, with no visiblie signs of life for up to 20 seconds, in suitably dramatic black!!
I admit it got my attention.
So what are my options Doc?
See your Dr and discuss it with him.
See a sleep specialist and be properly monitored, in Bunbury. (Over night I presume!)
Use a mouth splint to keep my jaw pushed forward and my airways open. (Sounds positively irresistable doesn't it?)
Use a Sepat machine to provide a continuous flow of air as I sleep. I can just see the romantic benefits of that little bedroom accessory! Want a "cuddle darling?" Yeah, just let me take off my gas mask first!
There are positive benefits to be had from treatment apparently.
And, Busselton has an abnormally high percentage of male sleep apnoeants, 10% above the norm or thereabouts.
Maybe it's something in the air!