Shropshire Star

Newport man's life changed after 4 stone weight loss cures sleep apnoea

A man who lost four stone and eliminated his obstructive sleep apnoea said his weight loss journey has turned his life around.

Chris Smith lost 2st 2.5lb after joining his local Slimming World group in Newport and managed to cure his obstructive sleep apnoea

Chris Smith was 17 stone at his heaviest and was diagnosed with sleep apnoea after his wife noticed he had been stopping breathing while sleeping.

The 56 year-old, from Lilleshall, went to the doctors about the issue back in 2010 and was diagnosed after some tests. But now, the breathing equipment he had to use every night has been packed away, and he has a new lease of life.

Chris joined his local Slimming World group with his wife Sharon in October 2019 after having lost two stone on his own during the years before this.

After he joined, and thanks to the support the group gave him, he lost another 2st 2.5lb and his life changed massively.

"It all started about ten years ago in 2010 when my wife made me go to the doctors because I kept stopping breathing when I was asleep," he explained.

"They pretty much straight away knew it was sleep apnoea but referred me to a specialist anyway. After a few tests, including an actual sleep test, I was diagnosed.

Chris Smith with his son Matt before his weight loss

"They explained to me that actually everyone has some form of sleep apnoea but you don't notice it until it becomes treatable. I had just tipped over into that area so I was diagnosed and as a result lost my driving licence – they had cases of people falling asleep at the wheel.

"They gave me a CPAP machine which is continuous positive airway pressure therapy. Once you begin treatment, you get your driving licence back, and research I had done showed that people really valued these machines and they helped a lot."

Chris said that at this point, his weight was also increasing and he didn't enjoy wearing the mask.

The c-pap machine works by forcing air through your nose and mouth during sleep which keeps soft tissue open – when it is closed, it causes the sleep apnoea.

"To be perfectly honest, I found it horrible," Chris said. "I hated wearing it every night and if you turn in your sleep it can be dislodged and cause problems. So for me personally, it was never comfortable.

Chris Smith lost 2st 2.5lb after joining his local Slimming World group in Newport and managed to cure his obstructive sleep apnoea

"But at 17st I was my heaviest. I knew something had to change. I was reviewed by the doctors every year and I always asked how I can get off it, and they would always say lose weight and wear the mask more regularly.

"I decided then and there that I was going to have a go at losing weight. I lost about two stone by myself just from quitting unhealthy habits and going to the pub less.

"But then my wife decided to do Slimming World in about October 2019. That was the point then where everything worked out and Debbie's class in Newport was brilliant and just the support I needed."

Chris managed to lose weight and reach his target during lockdown and became more active.

He asked the doctors for a review after he had lost all the weight. They agreed, and confirmed he was no longer a sleep apnoea sufferer.

"That was quite momentous for me," he said. "We are still members of the Slimming World club, I find it easier to keep the weight off that way.

"I am not carrying that four stone around anymore and my life has been turned around. It's been such a positive change that has made such a difference to my life."