Dom Joly is ‘freaked’ out about his risk of two serious health issues

This Morning: Dr Ranj discusses sleep apnoea

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Best known as the creator of Trigger Happy TV, a practical joke television series, Dom Joly is heading to Stantonbury Theatre, Milton Keynes, in November to kick off his Holiday Snaps comedy tour. The comedian will also star in BBC Two’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, adding to his list of engagements. Back in January 2019, speaking on Loose Women, Joly admitted that he had been diagnosed with sleep apnoea.

“Sleep apnoea means you stop breathing for up to 90 seconds, up to 90 times a night,” he said.

“Every time you stop breathing there is a risk of a stroke… the biggest solution is to lose a bit of weight.”

In a candid Tweet, the 54-year-old posted: “I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea. I stop breathing for up to 60 seconds over 70 times a night.”

The father-of-two acknowledged that there are “serious health complications for this”.

He was cautioned that if he “didn’t do something about it soon”, in 10 years’ time, he would have “developed a pronounced risk of having a stroke or heart attack”.

Joly added: “That really freaked me out.” And so he did something about it. In addition to getting a diagnosis, he’s been using a CPAP machine when sleeping at night.

What’s a CPAP machine?

“A CPAP machine gently pumps air into a mask you wear over your mouth or nose while you sleep,” the NHS shares.

The CPAP machine helps to improve a person’s breathing technique while sleeping by preventing the airways from getting too narrow.

The tool also helps to improve a person’s quality of sleep, and reduces the risk of problems associated with sleep apnoea.

The NHS says that “many people” who have sleep apnoea would benefit from using a CPAP machine.

“You’ll be given this for free on the NHS if you need it,” the NHS adds.

What exactly is sleep apnoea?

“Sleep apnoea is when your breathing stops and starts while you sleep,” the NHS notes.

The symptoms of sleep apnoea during sleep includes:

  • Breathing stopping and starting
  • making gasping, snorting or choking noises
  • Waking up a lot
  • Loud snoring.

Sleeping partners are more likely to notice whether the person next to them is suffering from signs of sleep apnoea.

However, during the day, a person who has the condition is likely to:

  • Feel very tired
  • Find it hard to concentrate
  • Have mood swings
  • Have a headache when you wake up.

Sleep apnoea is typically diagnosed following a referral by the GP to a sleep specialist clinic.

In addition to a CPAP machine, people who have sleep apnoea may be offered surgery to remove their tonsils.

Without adequate treatment, sleep apnoea can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • A higher chance of having a stroke
  • Depression or changes in your mood
  • A higher chance of having a serious accident caused by tiredness, such as a car accident
  • Difficulty concentrating at work or school.

Risk factors for sleep apnoea include obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol, and sleeping on your back.

Dom Joly is in BBC Two’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, airing on Wednesday, September 17 at 7pm.

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