Heath's Story

Heath- an OSA patientFor years Heath thought that he must just be lazy. He couldn’t understand why at the young age of 25 he was so tired during the day.  

“When my wife told me I stopped breathing when I was asleep, I knew I should see my doctor”

He thought that there might be an association between eating and feeling tired so he started skipping breakfast. The sleepiness was so persistent that eventually Heath started “eating one meal in the evening only”.

Heath also had a problem with snoring. He recalls sleeping in the hot summer with the window open and a neighbor knocking on the door the next day asking him to close the window as his snoring was so loud. Heath found this amusing at the time but looking back he realized the pressure he was putting his body through. He finally thought something must be wrong when his wife mentioned that he stopped breathing for up to a minute while he slept. Heath knew he should see his doctor.

“My snoring was so loud that the neighbor asked me to close my bedroom window”

Heath’s doctor referred him to undergo a sleep study. The study concluded that Heath had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and that this was the cause of his excessive sleepiness and snoring.

Nothing seemed to work initially in treating Heath. He tried a mouthpiece and nose strips and neither seemed to have an effect. Then Heath was told about the benefits of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). After trying CPAP Heath “felt immediately relieved”. He said “I would wake up in the morning and bounce out of bed”. He finally felt like he “had the energy that a man in his twenties should have”.

Further Reading

Why data alone can’t help healthcare

Insights from data are useful, but only up to a point.

What product design is learning from video games

Video games have more in common with product design than you might think.

Building the next generation of engineers

Working with SouthSci, a science programme for students in South Auckland.