Spring Forward…UGH!! By Paul Fulmer, MD

March 11, 2013

We all look forward to this time of year.  Trees budding, flowers blooming and the weather changing from the grey of winter to the bright colors of SPRING!

As much as I love the change of the seasons, the one thing I don’t like is “loosing an hour of sleep!”  I know we get more daylight in the evening and longer days, but I just love my sleep!!  Don’t you?

If you are having trouble with your sleep patterns, disruptive sleep or even signs of snoring and sleep apnea, this will often exaggerate your tiredness symptoms.  Moving the clock forward can really affect your energy level, especially if you already are not getting good sleep. 

So, if you can’t seem to bounce back this week after adjusting the clock, then ask your partner if you have the following symptoms.  Snoring, restless sleep, trouble concentrating or even gasping or choking at night!  You may have developed sleep disordered breathing.

Whether just snoring or a progression to sleep apnea, sleep disordered breathing can come on gradually over years.  Therefore, we often don’t realize that we are gradually getting less and less sleep.  That is why a sudden change in your internal clock can make it more apparent.

So get outside and enjoy the Spring!  But if you can’t seem to shake off the tiredness associated with changing your clock, then give us a call.  You may have gradually developed a problem with your sleep and WE can Help!!  Our goal at The Snoring Center is to help you get better sleep.

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THAT ISN’T YOGURT…IT’S CAKE! By Craig Schwimmer, MD

March 6, 2013

Because weight plays such an important role in snoring and sleep apnea, I spend a fair bit of time counseling patients about weight loss. Yesterday, I saw a fellow for a three month follow up appointment. At his previous visit, we had discussed the need for a better diet and more physical activity, if he was to achieve his weight loss goals. In the intervening three months, he said that he had been eating better and exercising more. But he had gained 15 pounds! How could that be? I asked him what he had had for breakfast. “Yogurt and a granola bar”, he said, pleased with his smart food choices. “What type of yogurt”, I asked? “Brand Y” strawberry, he said. So we looked up the sugar content of his “yogurt”, and he was surprised to learn that he could have had a big fat slice of cake and consumed less sugar. Same thing with his “healthy” granola bar. Caveat emptor, indeed.

There is significant research supporting the notion that it is our consumption of excess sugar that is causing our epidemic of obesity. It is estimated that the average American adult consumes between 80 and 100 pounds of added sugar each year! For many, that hidden sugar is the cause of weight gain. My advice to patients? Pay close attention to what you eat, because many “healthy foods” simply aren’t.

Craig Schwimmer, MD, MPH, FACS Founder and CEO

The Snoring Center

6901 Snider Plaza Suite 225

Dallas, Texas 75205

Atlanta |Austin |Beverly Hills |Chicago |Dallas| |Houston |Newport Beach

855 DR SNORE

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THAT ISN’T YOGURT – IT’S CAKE! By Craig Schwimmer, MD

March 4, 2013

Because weight plays such an important role in snoring and sleep apnea, I spend a fair bit of time counseling patients about weight loss. Yesterday, I saw a fellow for a three month follow up appointment. At his previous visit, we had discussed the need for a better diet and more physical activity, if he was to achieve his weight loss goals. In the intervening three months, he said that he had been eating better and exercising more. But he had gained 15 pounds! How could that be? I asked him what he had had for breakfast. “Yogurt and a granola bar”, he said, pleased with his smart food choices. “What type of yogurt”, I asked? “Brand Y” strawberry, he said. So we looked up the sugar content of his “yogurt”, and he was surprised to learn that he could have had a big fat slice of cake and consumed less sugar. Same thing with his “healthy” granola bar. Caveat emptor, indeed.

There is significant research supporting the notion that it is our consumption of excess sugar that is causing our epidemic of obesity. It is estimated that the average American adult consumes between 80 and 100 pounds of added sugar each year! For many, that hidden sugar is the cause of weight gain. My advice to patients? Pay close attention to what you eat, because many “healthy foods” simply aren’t.

Craig Schwimmer, MD, MPH, FACS

Founder and CEO

The Snoring Center
6901 Snider Plaza Suite 225 Dallas, Texas 75205
www.SnoringCenter.com
Atlanta |Austin |Beverly Hills |Chicago |Dallas| |Houston |Newport Beach

855 DR SNORE

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Trying to lose weight? Eat dinner early and watch the pounds drop! By Paul Fulmer, MD

February 26, 2013

Losing weight can be a tough job.  We are so busy with work, kids and activities that it’s hard to find time in the day to exercise.  Our busy lifestyles also affect our food choices, which definitely can increase our weight.  Another proven component is sleep.  If we don’t get enough sleep each night or if the sleep is disruptive, then it is virtually impossible to loose weight no matter how much we diet and exercise.

An interesting study was recently published by researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain and Tufts University in Boston showing that the time of day people eat affects their weight loss.  The study observed 420 overweight people and noticed that those who ate their lunch before 3pm lost on average 22 pounds, while those who ate later after 3pm only averaged 17pound loss.  The midday meal is when most of the caloric intake occurs in the Mediterranean culture.

By comparison, in the US our main caloric intake is at the evening meal.  So if eating earlier improves weight loss, then we should consider eating dinner earlier in the evening.  Researchers don’t know why weight loss was greater in the early eaters, but one hypothesis is that the glucose (sugar) is processed differently depending on the time of day.  Don’t forget however that limiting calories any time of the day will allow you to loose weight.

Even though this doesn’t prove that eating earlier will guarantee that you loose weight.  The old adage, “Eat breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper,” appears to hold true!

So if you are on a diet and its not going so well.  Consider all aspects of your lifestyle and make sure you are maximizing your chances.  Limit your calories, exercise daily, get at least 8 hours of good sleep a night and try eating more of your calories earlier in the day and watch the pounds melt away!!

 

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Sleep Insufficiency is a Public Health Epidemic! By Craig Schwimmer, MD

February 22, 2013

 I spend a lot of time talking with patients about the importance of sleep. Sleep is a basic human need, and is essential to our health and well being. We know that Americans are alarmingly sleep deprived, and that this sleep deprivation takes a toll, not only as individuals, but also as a threat to the public health.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes: “Sleep is increasingly recognized as important to public health, with sleep insufficiency linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors.1 Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving, and having difficulty performing daily tasks because of sleepiness all may contribute to these hazardous outcomes. Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.1….. Notably, snoring is a major indicator of obstructive sleep apnea.”

So how do you know that you are getting enough sleep? Simple – if you wake up spontaneously, feeling refreshed every morning, you are most likely meeting your body’s need for sleep. If you rely upon an alarm, and it takes a shower and two cups of coffee to get you going, or if you reach for energy drinks throughout the day, you most likely aren’t.

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Obese Drivers Are More Likely To Die In Car Crashes By Craig Schwimmer, MD

January 31, 2013

A recent study shows that obese drivers are more likely to die in car crashes than non-obese drivers. The reason(s) for this are unclear at this time, but this article discusses several possible explanations.  Including vehicle design and the underlying poorer health of the obese. I suspect that another factor may be at play: sleep apnea.

We know that obesity is a key factor in sleep apnea. We know that people with sleep apnea experience increased daytime sleepiness. We know that sleepy drivers exhibit levels of impairment comparable to drunk drivers.  I believe that at least some of the increased risk of mortality for obese drivers is attributable to sleep apnea, and that this is simply one more public health implication of the growing prevalence of both obesity and apnea in the United States.

 

http://nyti.ms/VgFD2o

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The Sleep Apnea Surprise By Craig Schwimmer, MD

January 22, 2013

It’s only Tuesday, and I’ve already surprised two people by diagnosing them with sleep apnea. Both know that they were snorers, but when asked, they each specifically denied any symptoms related to their snoring, They simply came in hoping to treat their snoring as a way to help their bed partner. Both were slightly overweight, and one had mildly elevated blood pressure. On a standard measure of daytime sleepiness, each reported levels slightly higher than expected. I was concerned that for each of these two patients, their snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea, and so I had each of them undergo a home-based sleep study. They each wore a simple monitoring device to bed last night, and returned today for their results. Both were absolutely astonished to learn that they do indeed have sleep apnea, and aren’t getting normal sleep. Happily, each underwent treatment today, and should soon start enjoying better sleep and better health.

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that disrupts sleep, and increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, erectile dysfunction, and many other diseases. It is estimated that up to 10% of adults suffer from sleep apnea, and most of them don’t even know it. Diagnosis and treatment have never been easier, so please – if you snore, get evaluated. You may well improve your own health, as well as your loved one’s.

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Are you suffering with Cedar Fever? By Paul Fulmer, MD

January 17, 2013

The term “cedar fever” usually refers to symptoms caused by Mountain cedar allergy. Symptoms are the same as hay fever, including sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, nasal congestion and a runny nose. With both cedar fever and hay fever, a person will not actually have a fever.

Mountain cedar is a type of juniper tree found mainly in South and Central Texas that pollinates in the winter, from December through March. It is usually the only major pollen present during the wintertime in the areas where it grows. Mountain cedar can release such large amounts of pollen that the trees can appear to be on fire.  As the pollen is released, large clouds of “smoke” rise up from the trees. With such a heavy pollen load in the air, no wonder so many people are miserable during this time of year.

Medicinal remedies include over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. Cedar fever sufferers can ask physicians to prescribe nasal corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs, but ideally such treatments should begin before allergy season starts. Doctors can also prescribe a series of allergy shots. A non-medicinal remedy is nasal irrigation — using a “neti pot” or commercial saline solution — to clear the pollen out of nasal passages.

If this is a yearly condition and the nasal congestion seems to stay even after the allergy symptoms are gone, then you may have developed “turbinate hypertrophy.”  This is a common problem in people who suffer from allergies.  If nasal steroids and antihistamines don’t resolve the stuffiness, then you could be a candidate for “Turbinate Coblation”.  Turbinate coblation uses radiofrequency to cause shrinkage of the nasal tissues and improve your nasal airway.  It’s a quick, in office procedure and you return to your regular activities that same day.

So if “Cedar Fever” has you all stopped up, take a look at our website, www.snoringcenter.com and lets get you breathing better today!!

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New Year’s Resolutions

December 28, 2012

Reviewing published lists of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, there are a few perennial favorites. Losing weight, becoming more fit, focusing on job performance, and improving relationships are “regulars” on the top ten lists, year after year.

Notably absent is one thing that can actually help people achieving all of these goals: getting better sleep. Resolving to get better sleep may be the single most meaningful promise we can make to ourselves, because meeting our bodies’ need for sleep can empower us to accomplish so many other important goals.

So many studies have shown that optimizing sleep can help facilitate weight loss that weight loss is no longer considered to result from “diet and exercise”, but rather from “diet, exercise and sleep”.

Similarly, athletic performance (and generalized fitness) is so closely linked to healthy sleep that most professional sports teams have dedicated sleep professionals, who help manage players’ sleep schedules in an effort to gain a competitive edge.

On the job, outcomes ranging from problem solving and critical thinking skills to the likelihood of getting a promotion have been tied to optimizing sleep.

The impact of sleep deprivation on relationships has also been extensively studied, with the unanimous conclusion that well rested couples are significantly more likely to be happy than sleep deprived couples. Indeed, many couples therapists suggest that the old adage to “never go to bed angry” ought to be replaced with: “never argue when you are tired”. The theory being that it is better to get a good night’s rest, and deal with a problem in the morning, when you are both well rested, than to try to hash things out tired and irritable.

For all these reasons and more, I implore you to consider making this year the year that you resolve to get better sleep. I wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy, and Well Rested New Year!

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Women with Sleep Apnea have more brain damage!! By Paul Fulmer, MD

December 19, 2012

A new study in the December Journal of Sleep finds that women with sleep apnea have more brain damage than men with the same disorder.  We have known for years that people with untreated sleep apnea have an increased risk of developing serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes and depression.

Then about 10 years ago a study came out from the University of California showing that men with sleep apnea also developed damage to their brain.  This same research group has now studied 80 participants and found that there are differences when looking at men and women with and without sleep apnea.  This study revealed,  “that women are more affected by sleep apnea than men and that the women with obstructive sleep apnea have more severe brain damage than men suffering from a similar condition.”

Specifically the brain damage in women affected two areas of the front of the brain, which are involved in both “decision making” and “mood regulation.”  They also noted that these women had higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms.  These findings should alert doctors that sleep apnea may be more problematic in women than men and should be treated earlier.

The study also pointed out that we still don’t know when these issues with the brain occurred and which came first, the apnea or the brain damage.  Further investigation is still needed to see if earlier intervention would actually curb or resolve the brain damage that has been found in these women.

Therefore, if you or your loved one is a female and could possibly have sleep apnea, Don’t delay!!  Get evaluated by a physician, obtain a sleep study to objectively diagnosis the severity of your problem and seek early intervention.

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