Peter Agreste, Lyman
Diagnosis: Sleep Apnea
Today: Resting easy
Peter Agreste slept little. He was depressed. His weight ballooned to 268. Once a very active person, his world shrunk to sitting on the couch and occasionally mustering up the strength to get the mail. He was plagued by headaches and he could barely breathe. And he was only 35 years old.
“It was a bad time,” recalls Peter, who lives with his family in Lyman. “Sleeping was difficult, I always felt tired, especially in the morning. I’d be in traffic and find myself nodding off at the wheel. Out of the blue one night I was having difficulty breathing -- I literally had to fight to breathe. I went to SMMC’s Emergency Department and they admitted me to the hospital. After a bunch of tests, the doctors told me that they thought I had sleep apnea.”
Peter was reluctant to undergo the recommended sleep study. “To be honest, I never had a lot of faith in medicine,” he notes. “But Dr. Kahn (Richard Kahn, MD, of SMMC PrimeCare Pulmonology) and the Sleep Lab staff were great. They took the time to listen to my concerns and made me feel very comfortable.”
In February 2010, Peter was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, including the physical manifestations of the disorder: high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, depression, and significant weight gain. Dr. Kahn and the Sleep Lab staff provided Peter with a CPAP device – a machine that uses continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to keep airways open during sleep. A CPAP machine uses a mask that fits over the mouth and/or nose that gently blows air into the throat just enough to stop the airway from becoming narrowed or blocked during sleep. The device enables individuals with sleep apnea to get a proper night’s rest.
The Sleep Lab staff also worked with Peter to encourage lifestyle changes to improve fitness and overcome the physical problems associated with the disorder. Today, Peter is resting easy. He has lost over 80 pounds and returned to an active lifestyle, catching up on the many house projects neglected during his years of declining health. He’s built a new deck on the house, replaced kitchen cabinets, and he takes plenty of time to play with his two and half year-old son.
“The Sleep Lab staff saved my life,” states Peter. “I felt like I was dying. Now I feel like I’ve been reborn.”
SMMC Sleep Lab is located on the third floor of the Comfort Suites adjacent to the hospital campus. To learn more about SMMC’s Sleep Lab at Comfort Suites, call SMMC PrimeCare Pulmonology at 283-6408.