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Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep apnea

Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep apnea

Postby Happy Mom » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:58 pm

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Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call
CBS analyst and former NFL player, Aaron Taylor, discusses his eye-opening experience with sleep apnea.

When one of his close friends passed away prematurely from sleep apnea, Aaron Taylor, experienced first-hand how obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can have devastating consequences.

My friend and former teammate, Reggie White, passed away at the age of 43 from a cardiac condition that was worsened by his obstructive sleep apnea.

Mediaplanet: Although millions are suffering from sleep apnea, it is often ignored and left untreated. What was it that finally motivated you to get tested for this potentially serious sleep disorder? What symptoms were you experiencing that finally led you to get tested?

Aaron Taylor: Before my diagnosis, I woke up exhausted each morning and never felt refreshed or fully-rested. I knew I needed to make a change, so I spoke with my doctor about my symptoms and we decided I may have a sleep problem. I knew sleep problems could, and did, affect anyone – my friend and former teammate, Reggie White, passed away at the age of 43 from a cardiac condition that was worsened by his obstructive sleep apnea. Remembering his struggle, I decided to undergo a sleep evaluation.


The sleep evaluation really explained my symptoms and exhaustion. Each night, my sleep apnea caused me to stop breathing about 20 times per hour for 20 seconds each time. When you add it up, that was almost an hour every night that I wasn’t breathing. I was depriving my body of the oxygen it needs. It was extremely hard on my heart and the rest of my body, and it explained why I was so tired and never woke up feeling refreshed.

Each night, my sleep apnea caused me to stop breathing about 20 times per hour for 20 seconds each time...that was almost an hour every night that I wasn’t breathing.

MP: After being diagnosed with moderate obstructive sleep apnea, what type of therapies and treatment options did you seek?

AT: Upon my diagnosis, I was prescribed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which is the top treatment recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) for obstructive sleep apnea. It provides a steady stream of air through a mask that you wear during sleep to keep your airway open.

Because my job involves a lot of travel, I also use oral appliance therapy. It’s a custom fit, “mouth guard-like” device worn only when sleeping, that keeps your airway open so you can breathe easily and consistently while you sleep.

Wearing a mask at night certainly required some adjustment, but the health benefits and increased energy throughout the day far outweighed the temporary and initial discomfort.


MP: What steps did you take to incorporate CPAP therapy into your regular routine?

AT: Wearing a mask at night certainly required some adjustment, but the health benefits and increased energy throughout the day far outweighed the temporary and initial discomfort. To get used to wearing the mask at night, I would put it on during the day for stationary activities – like watching TV. Then, when I put the mask on before bed, I was accustomed to the feeling and it didn’t distract me from falling asleep.

It’s a huge improvement to wake up feeling well-rested after spending so many mornings feeling exhausted – and it’s something I can truly appreciate.


MP: What benefits have you experienced from using CPAP therapy?

AT: The simple answer is I just feel great! It’s a huge improvement to wake up feeling well-rested after spending so many mornings feeling exhausted – and it’s something I can truly appreciate. My treatment also improved my concentration and increased my physical energy. But perhaps most importantly, effective treatment of my obstructive sleep apnea has decreased my risk of developing other serious medical problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

I’ve become a better husband and father because I’m well-rested and energetic throughout the day.

MP: Being a former NFL Player for the Green Bay Packers, it is clear that teamwork was definitely important in order for you to be successful in your career. How did a team approach help you succeed in your therapy?

AT: My wife is a huge proponent and supporter of my treatment – I’ve become a better husband and father because I’m well-rested and energetic throughout the day. I also have the support and guidance of my team of physicians. I work with both my primary care doctor and sleep physician to ensure I’m getting the treatment that’s best for me, my family and my lifestyle – and they’ve taught me how treating my sleep apnea has positively impacted other aspects of my health. Since becoming compliant with treatment, my blood pressure has gone down, I’ve found it easier to lose weight and my headaches are a thing of the past. It feels so good to finally wake up feeling like my old self again.


I’m confident that beginning my treatment now – as opposed to 10 years from now – will help me avoid or delay chronic conditions that affect men as they age, like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

MP: What advice do you have to those suffering with sleep apnea? How did being proactive with testing and treatment help you finally live a happier, healthier life?

AT: If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea – or any sleep illness – ensure you’re seeking treatment from a board-certified sleep medicine physician at an AASM-accredited sleep center. They have the best training and expertise to address your problem and get you back on track toward healthy sleep. Also, stick with the treatment. It’s definitely an adjustment, but it’s worth the effort!

Being proactive helped catch my diagnosis early. I’m confident that beginning my treatment now – as opposed to 10 years from now – will help me avoid or delay chronic conditions that affect men as they age, like heart disease, diabetes and stroke, that are linked to untreated sleep apnea.

If you have the symptoms or warning signs of sleep apnea... get evaluated. It’s a simple overnight test, and that one night could make a huge difference for the rest of your life.

MP: Why do you think so many people go without being tested for sleep apnea? What message do you have for those who may have sleep apnea but have avoided testing?

AT: Many people don’t have enough information about sleep apnea to question if they should be tested. Some don’t realize how common it is. As many as 12 to 18 million Americans have untreated sleep apnea. If you have the symptoms or warning signs of sleep apnea – including loud snoring, waking up with headaches or excessive daytime sleepiness – speak with your physician and get evaluated. It’s a simple overnight test, and that one night could make a huge difference for the rest of your life.
MP: What motivated you to become a sleep advocate? What do you hope to accomplish through this role?

AT: I’m promoting public awareness of sleep apnea and partnering with the AASM because I feel so much gratitude toward my sleep team for the drastic improvement my treatment has made in every part of my life. I share my story because I hope everyone who suffers from a sleep illness can achieve the same – better rest and a longer, healthier life. Anyone who is struggling to sleep well at night or stay awake during the day should get help right away. Visit www.sleepeducation.com to find a board-certified sleep medicine physician near you.

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Re: Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep ap

Postby Xenokilla » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:07 pm

my uncle has one of those CPAP things, looks weird but he says he's never slept better.
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Re: Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep ap

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:14 pm

Xenokilla wrote:my uncle has one of those CPAP things, looks weird but he says he's never slept better.

It is amazing how many people, both male and female, have them. I tried to get my husband to get a sleep evaluation and he said they said he didn't have a problem.... :roll: So I continue to NOT sleep well listeing to his apnea and wondering if it is his last breath....
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Re: Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep ap

Postby bdcbbq » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:52 pm

I've been using one for 10 years now. I don't even take a nap without one. In fact, on long driving trips, I plug it in to the car lighter through an adapter, and sleep when my wife drives.

HM, he may not, but an overnight test will prove him right. You might audio tape him for an hour some night and ask him to take it to his doctor for his opinion.

I was talking to my Dr. a few years ago about how great sleeping was now. He told me about a patient of his who he suggested a sleep study too. He declined, saying he was too busy and would do it when he retired in a few months. Well, shortly after that conversation, the ran off the road and died while driving. No other medical conditions, but the Dr. as pretty sure he fell asleep while driving. I did fall asleep a couple of times at stop lights which sent me to the Dr.
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Re: Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep ap

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:48 pm

Thanks bdc! You just scared the heck out of me! He went overnight for the sleep study (kicking and screaming) but told me the Dr. said he was borderline and didn't need it... I have had my son beg him to try again but to no avail.... and you wonder why I am out of town so much..... I sleep better... :?
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Re: Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep ap

Postby bdcbbq » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:28 pm

How long ago? He may need another one. Make sure your son finds him a good one. Quinn ordered mine, but I'm not sure who set ordered the settings. Then again, he may just need something to address the snoring. I'm not sure who knows the most about this in the area. I started following up with Kevin Campbell, ENT about a year later. He ordered a machine to record readings for a few nights and then had mine reset a little lower. I generally see him annually, but nothing has changed about it in years.
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Re: Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep ap

Postby bob_rx2000 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:30 pm

Happy Mom wrote:
Xenokilla wrote:my uncle has one of those CPAP things, looks weird but he says he's never slept better.

It is amazing how many people, both male and female, have them. I tried to get my husband to get a sleep evaluation and he said they said he didn't have a problem.... :roll: So I continue to NOT sleep well listeing to his apnea and wondering if it is his last breath....


At the behest of Mrs-Bob_Rx I had a sleep study done. They went through the whole routine and concluded that I do not have sleep apnea. Yet the con artists at the sleep study place still recommended a CPAP. My ear nose and throat doctor concluded I didn't need one. There must be one heck of a kickback to the sleep study con artists from the CPAP makers.
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Re: Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep ap

Postby bdcbbq » Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:38 pm

bob_rx2000 wrote:
Happy Mom wrote:
Xenokilla wrote:my uncle has one of those CPAP things, looks weird but he says he's never slept better.

It is amazing how many people, both male and female, have them. I tried to get my husband to get a sleep evaluation and he said they said he didn't have a problem.... :roll: So I continue to NOT sleep well listeing to his apnea and wondering if it is his last breath....


At the behest of Mrs-Bob_Rx I had a sleep study done. They went through the whole routine and concluded that I do not have sleep apnea. Yet the con artists at the sleep study place still recommended a CPAP. My ear nose and throat doctor concluded I didn't need one. There must be one heck of a kickback to the sleep study con artists from the CPAP makers.


Not necessarily the CPAP makers, more the likely the medical home care supply folks like Alick's and Memorial. The markup and reimbursement on most of that stuff is outrageous. Since our insurance changed, the mask I've been using for 10 years is covered at the non-preferred rate. I can buy the mask online cheaper than the co-pay. I have a couple of extra because they are usually replaced every 6 months under insurance plans. I'll get 9-12 months out of mine so I keep ahead of the game. I don't think I even need a prescription for one online.
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Re: Aaron Taylor: A major wake up call; obstructive sleep ap

Postby st michael jr » Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:03 pm

The words "sleep study" are a joke. I've had 2 and there is very little sleep done there. I have a CPAP also and don't use it like I should. I'm told I sleep much sounder when I use it correctly. I guess I will try it again tonight. My biggest problem is finding the right mask. I can't use the nose over or the nasal pillows because I am also a mouth breather. I use a full mouth and nose mask.
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