Folks Magazine (PillPack)
By teaching them to play the didgeridoo, Alex Suarez helps fellow sleep apnea sufferers breathe easier.
Alex Suarez’s wife had been enduring his snoring for more than a decade. But it was one particular night in 2000 when his snoring–and breathing–stopped that really concerned her. So much so, she pushed him out of bed.
Suarez, then a 34-year-old martial arts instructor, was diagnosed with sleep apnea, a chronic sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing shallows or stops for seconds or minutes, often dozens or even hundreds of times per night. In addition to the obvious grogginess, sleep apnea can increase a person’s chances of heart disease or failure, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
Then, as now, the primary treatment options for sleep apnea were surgery or use of a breathing device called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which uses mild air pressure to keep a person’s airways open by way of a steady stream of air delivered through a face mask.
Surgery wasn’t an option for Suarez’s condition, so he tried the CPAP. But his experience was anything but restful. . . .
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