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National Sleep Awareness Week(R) (March 7-13): How Are You Sleeping?
Date:3/1/2010

DALLAS, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- National Sleep Awareness Week, March 7-13, is an annual public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep.  With nearly 50 percent of Americans snoring on a regular basis, and over 40 percent not getting enough shut-eye, NSAW provides the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate attitudes toward sleep, help those who are deprived of it and remedy the problems.

Sleep loss affects everyone, regardless of age, gender, race or profession, according to Craig Schwimmer, MD, MPH, FACS, the founder and medical director of The Snoring Center (SnoringCenter.com).  A repeat guest on national TV shows, "The Doctors" and "The Dr. Phil Show," Dr. Schwimmer has helped thousands of patients from around the world.  The Snoring Center is the nation's leading provider of cutting-edge, office-based treatment for sleep disordered breathing.

"Many people assume that nothing effective can be done to alleviate their own or their partner's snoring and just suffer with it," said Dr. Schwimmer, a board-certified otolaryngologist.  "In reality, disruptive snoring has a major impact on our physical and emotional health, not to mention our relationships.  We now have tools to treat snoring more effectively, conveniently and comfortably than ever before."

Burning the midnight oil also has a cumulative effect – losing an hour of sleep per night for a week is as bad as going an entire night without sleep. The health effects of sleep loss are wide-ranging, and can include hypertension, depression, nighttime heartburn, erectile dysfunction, and cardiac stress. Sleep loss has been linked to a greater risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

"Simple snoring" is also a serious issue for millions of patients, as it significantly impacts the sleep of bed-partners. Married couples argue about snoring as much as they do money; snoring couples have less sex than non-snoring couples, and over 20 percent of couples regularly sleep apart due to snoring.

Economic consequences of sleep loss cost the country an estimated $15 billion a year in increased health care costs, automobile accidents, workplace accidents, and decreased job performance. Every day, nearly 80,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel, leading to 100,000 crashes and 8,000 deaths per year. Ninety percent of police officers have stopped someone on the suspicion of drunk driving, only to discover the drivers were sober – but drowsy.

In short, sleep (and lack of it) is a big deal. Addressing sleep issues is critical, as what may appear as innocuous snoring can in reality be sleep apnea, a potentially fatal condition. Sleep apnea is characterized by loud, habitual snoring and stop-breathing spells. Patients often complain of poor sleep quality, excessive daytime sleepiness and morning headache, among other symptoms. Estimated to affect up to 10 percent of adult males and up to 4 percent of adult females, sleep apnea is common in overweight people and causes significant respiratory and cardiac strain, "Sleep apnea disrupts sleep because people with sleep apnea actually wake up many times during the night (unbeknownst to them), and therefore do not get normal, restorative sleep," said Dr. Schwimmer.

While maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle can vastly improve sleep apnea, for most patients, medical treatment is required.  The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask – a fighter-pilot-looking mask worn over the face during sleep – has been the go-to sleep apnea treatment for some 25 years. However, because most patients cannot or will not use it faithfully, untold numbers of sleep apnea patients have simply gone without treatment. Today, minimally-invasive procedures such as the Pillar Procedure can be the answer for these CPAP-intolerant patients.

The Snoring Center is the nation's leading provider of the Pillar Procedure and Coblation-Assisted Turbinate Reduction.  These state-of-the-art, minimally-invasive, office-based procedures are quick, comfortable, require only local anesthesia and allow patients to return to normal activities immediately.

The Pillar Procedure involves the insertion of small, woven inserts into the soft palate (the roof of the mouth). The inserts stiffen the soft palate, decreasing its vibration and thereby reducing snoring and sleep apnea. For the nearly 40 million Americans suffering from snoring or mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, the Pillar Procedure has been cleared by the FDA as an effective, patient-friendly treatment option.

Coblation-Assisted Turbinate Reduction is an extremely effective solution for chronic nasal congestion. This procedure addresses enlarged nasal turbinates – side structures in the nose – which can narrow the nasal airway.  Using radio frequency energy, the enlarged turbinates are reduced in size.  By enlarging the nasal airway, nasal breathing is improved, and symptoms relieved.

SOURCE The Snoring Center

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