Secrets of Success

Tackling Sleep Apnea

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MEMBERS SPARKED

If a doctor suspects that you have sleep apnea, you'll probably spend a night at a sleep clinic, where you'll be attached to electrodes and sensors that record your sleep as well as the frequency of any apnea episodes.

The gold standard treatment is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. You wear a mask over your nose while you sleep, and the machine supplies pressurized air to keep your throat open.

"Those who use it regularly have the greatest likelihood of eliminating their sleep apnea." says Chervin.

If you can't tolerate the CPAP, there's surgery, or oral devices that fit between your teeth and help maintain an open upper airway.

"But for some people, those devices will not completely eliminate their apnea," notes Chervin.

When treatment is successful, it can change your life.

"People report that they feel more refreshed in the morning, they think and work better, and they treat other people around them better," says Chervin.

"And if that's not enough, we tell them they'll look younger and more attractive."

In a study that used sophisticated three-dimensional cameras, Chervin and his colleagues at the University of Michigan took pictures of the faces of 20 adult apnea patients before and after they had slept with CPAP machines for at least two months.

"A panel of 22 raters, who didn't know which photos were taken before and which were taken after, were twice as likely to judge that the subjects looked more alert, youthful, or attractive in the after photos than in the before photos," says Chervin.

June is Men's Health Month---time for cliche's about how men take much better care of their cars than their own bodies. And it's an opportunity to rattle married couples with the news that women live an average of five years longer than men.

(to be continued)

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