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To sleep or not to sleep. Is snoring the culprit?

Cutting those zzzs may be hazardous to your health and relationships

Dr. March Hechler, ENT-Otolaryngologist, of Warrensburg says seniors should keep their activity levels high and be sure to see a physician if they snore and sleep is interrupted. Sleep apnea causes a lapse in breathing and thus deprives oxygen flow throughout the body. (Submitted photo)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

When you’re sleeping, do you sound like a stranded whale? You might just be snoring. Lack of sleep among the elderly is common and can alter one’s health in a number of ways.

Snoring often leads to sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a  persons breathing is interrupted while asleep.

“Sleep apnea is pretty common,” said Dr. Mark Hechler, ENT-Otolaryngologist in Warrensburg. “Seniors either ignore the problem or don’t want to treat it.”

Hechler was alluding to the sleep apnea test that requires a person to enter a facility for testing sleep patterns, go to bed at a specified time with a large amount of electrodes attached to the head and body and then try to sleep while a technician is watching that person by video camera.

The number of times the patient fails to breathe is numbered in minutes and hours. Eventually, the patient is awakened and often a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask is provided at that time to test the effects the mask delivering forced air through a CPAP machine has on relieving the burden of breathing.

I can attest that wearing the mask is uncomfortable at best. I went through the apnea test and was found to have mild sleep apnea after years of snoring. I tried every mask available to me and never found one comfortable enough to use regularly.

I used the CPAP machine for a year and despite all the money that went into the masks, machine and technical help, I packed it up and put it away.

Not only were the masks uncomfortable, but also the long tubing that came from the mask to the CPAP machine by my side of the bed had to be held close to me whenever I rolled over during the night.

I felt like I woke more frequently by wearing the machine than not.

“A lot of people aren’t patient when wearing the sleep apnea apparatus,” Hechler said. “It’s a lifestyle change.”

The complete story is in the Friday, March 17, 2017 Richmond News.

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