Former education chief suspectedly suffers sleep apnea
Former Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung said in a newspaper column that he suspectedly suffers from sleep apnea as he occasionally stops breathing when sleeping.
Suen, in the column published on Wednesday, said he had undergone a medical examination, and the doctor said he had hypersomnia, a condition where he always feels sleepy and tired.
He also developed symptoms of sleep apnea, where his breathing stopped when he was sleeping. As the oxygen level in Suen's blood declined when he couldn't breathe in his sleep, his body struggled for air and woke Suen up.
He added that for an extended period, he kept waking up in the middle of the night and couldn't fall into a deep slumber.
He pointed out that the suffocation would last from a few seconds to over a minute, and it could happen up to 100 times a night.
Suen then realized he might have sleep apnea and saw a doctor. The doctor first asked him to fill the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a questionnaire to assess his daytime sleepiness and found that his condition of hypersomnia was severe.
The doctor advised having a specialist go to Suen's home to examine the quality of his sleep. As the report confirmed the serious condition of Suen's hypersomnia, the specialist set up a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine in Suen's bedroom, a device that helps him breathe when he is sleeping.
Suen now sleeps better at night with the assistance of the machine. Yet, he said he is still far from his humble hope of having a good night's sleep and waking up to a new day.