Wednesday, February 23, 2005

 

Attn. Snorers

In Ted Rall's most recent editorial cartoon, he lampoons bloggers by suggesting that all they do is "Control-C, Control-V, Control-C, Control-V," etc.

Heh. Guilty . . . some days.

I guess as we grow older we begin to collect ailments, aches, and problems. I just learned I have been suffering from severe sleep apnea. That's when you stop breathing numerous times every night when you sleep. The way it was explained to me, when one area of the lungs is not absorbing oxygen, the body shuts that area down so more blood will go to the areas of the lungs that are getting oxygen. But when you don't breathe at all, no area of the lungs are getting oxygen, so the body shuts down the lungs. Then the right side of your heart is pumping blood with no oxygen in it, so it tries to pump harder and harder to get oxygen to the body. Eventually you get a "drowning reflex," which is the same thing that causes people underwater to eventually suck in a big "breath" of water: the body is in crisis without oxygen, so it forces a breathing reflex on the anything-is-better-than-nothing principle. That's when the sleeper takes a great gurgling, gasping breath and start breathing again.

The process, which can cycle as many as 45 times a night, puts enormous strain on the right side of the heart and can lead to "right heart disease." It's what recently killed Reggie White, the football player.

Sleep apnea both causes and is caused by overweight. Some recent studies are suggesting that as much as 20% of the heart disease in America may be caused or complicated by it.

I can't afford to get it treated right now (no $, no insurance), so I'm doing the only thing I can, which is try to lose weight.

But in case anybody's interested, here's what you can do to help your lungs stay healthy:

--At least once a day, do this: expel as much air as you can from your lungs, and hold it as long as you can; then breathe in as much air as you can and hold it; repeat, for 120 seconds.

--At least once a day, get out of breath.

And here are two things you can do to keep your heart healthy:

--At least once a day, get your heart rate up and keep it there for a while.

--Don't be obese.


And also in case anybody's interested, here are the danger signs and waking symptoms of sleep apnea:

--Snoring.

--Excessive daytime sleepiness.

--Drymouth or headache upon awakening.

--Difficulty waking up, extended feelings of confusion or disorientation after getting up, or waking up still feeling extremely tired and run down.

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor!

Well, sorry for the long digression into me (Egotist: "Well, enough about me. What do you think about me?").

And by all means, if you want to, do a Control-C, Control-V on this. Evidently this affliction is too little known and too often ignored.



The Quotidian Meander


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