SSR Curt Christiansen’s Happier, Healthier Me: Week 9

SSR Curt Christiansen’s Happier, Healthier Me: Week 9

I remember waking up from foot surgery many years ago to my podiatrist telling me I needed to get my cholesterol checked because it was through the roof. Still drugged, I mumbled something about that being attributed to a bunch of shrimp I had eaten a couple days before. He laughed at me and said ?no it isn?t, go see your doctor!?

Of course I didn?t. Somewhere around twelve years ago after testing with my primary at the time the nurse called me and said:

Nurse: ?You need to go on Lipitor.?

Me: No, I don?t want to take drugs every day, I will watch what I eat and exercise?

Nurse: ?No you won?t, everybody says that, take the drugs?

I took the drugs.

About five years ago after being chronically tired, falling asleep at traffic lights, and waking up at night from snoring, and my wife not sleeping as a result; by her insistence I went to see Dr. Douglas Rennert, a Northern Virginia Pulmonologist and Board Certified Sleep Specialist. He scheduled me for a sleep study to determine if I had Obstructive Sleep Apnea. But before I could leave his office that day he insisted on watching me swallow my first blood pressure pill since my blood pressure was something like 200 over 98 that day.

Though I was anxious about the sleep test, and I was sure I wouldn?t be able to fall asleep in a lab setting, the sleep tech told me the next morning I was asleep in three minutes. Anyway, I had the sleep study and I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. I now sleep every night with a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. And I now can sleep restfully. And so can my wife.

Though I still take Lipitor and a blood pressure med, I continue to exercise and I continue to try to eat right, and my bad cholesterol is down, my good cholesterol is up, and my blood pressure stable.

Since we are wrapping up Heart Health Month I wanted to sneak this in. As far as I know I don?t have heart disease, but I do have some risk factors associated with it. Most importantly though, I finally took the necessary steps to try to control those risk factors.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, left untreated, symptoms of sleep apnea can include high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, and stroke, just to name a few.

So think about your heart health and think about how you are sleeping or not sleeping. When I was in school for Respiratory Therapy in the late 70?s sleep apnea was only associated with obesity. I am not obese even though I may be a few pounds more than I would like to be. It can occur in all body shapes and sizes and all ages too, a lot of children are now being diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.

Shortly after my diagnosis, Kim and I were featured on a CNN clip with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on sleep apnea. I had a guy tell me once he saw me on a red eye traveling back from California on the airline TV. Too funny. The link to that segment is below.

And if you have any questions related to sleep apnea, email me and I will direct you to some good local resources, I have lots of them.

The Reston Ten Miler is this Sunday, wish me luck. Light training this week advised by Jim. I don?t know, Secretariat liked to train hard right up to the race, could be a tactical error??or, I might not be Secretariat.











Curt Christiansen
Chief Operating Officer
Sport and Spine Rehab
[email protected]

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