Mike on seeking treatment for sleep apnoea

3 min

Related conditions

Mike, 74, from Hobart, Tasmania, is a semi-retired educator and consultant who was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea in his mid-60s. He shares a sign of the condition he overlooked and how treatment has changed his health.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea around 10 years ago. Sleep apnoea occurs when the muscles that support soft tissues in your throat relax while you’re sleeping, stopping breathing. I’ve always been able to sleep easily throughout my life, and if my wife hadn’t alerted me to a problem, I probably wouldn’t have known. I would stop breathing for up to 30 seconds. My wife was concerned enough to say, “You should talk to your GP”. I thought I didn’t have any symptoms, but looking back, there were signs. I drove a lot for work, and there were times in the afternoon when I would need to pull over and have a nap I was so tired. I never connected that with sleep apnoea at all, but it’s highly likely it was one of the early symptoms.

I saw a medical sleep specialist, and I was referred to do a sleep study overnight. They determined I had mid-range sleep apnoea, which meant I stopped breathing over 20 to 25 episodes per hour. The specialist subsequently gave me a couple of treatment options but strongly advised using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. It’s a device you wear while you’re sleeping that creates positive air pressure to keep your throat open. I was reluctant. My mother also had sleep apnoea, and I remember the machine she used made a racket, so I was resistant to it and didn’t want to be reliant on it. 

I decided to try losing weight, changing my lifestyle and reducing my drinking. But those changes didn’t work, and in the end, I thought, “No, I’ve got to put my health first here,” so I opted for the CPAP machine. I started with the full-face mask, but I felt claustrophobic, so I tried a nose prong, and that’s what I’ve stuck with. Almost immediately, I noticed changes. I sleep much better, I have more energy and I’m more alert throughout the day.

I’ve always been interested in health, but I didn’t specifically know all that much about sleep health. I’m now highly aware of the health dangers associated with untreated sleep apnoea, especially for your heart health. I have hypertension, and the sleep apnoea would have contributed to that.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea or your partner is alerting you to it, do something about it. The process is simple. You can get a referral from your GP, go to a sleep specialist centre, and have an overnight evaluation, where they wire you up and monitor exactly what’s going on. Depending on the outcome of that, take action.




Did you find this page helpful?

Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice

Call 000 for emergency services

If you or someone you know needs urgent medical attention.

Call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 for 24/7 support

MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.

Sign up to our newsletter

We release two monthly newsletters – one written for men, family and friends, and another for health practitioners.

Your preferred mailing list

Your name

Your email

Stay up to date


Healthy Male acknowledges the traditional owners of the land. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future. We are committed to providing respectful, inclusive services and work environments where all individuals feel accepted, safe, affirmed and celebrated.


Healthy Male is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. This website does not host any form of advertisement. Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice.

Trusted information partner of