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Sleep Apnea

Posted on November 21, 2018 in Sleep

Life is filled with moments that are meant to take your breath away. Bedtime isn’t supposed to be one of them.

“I was ceasing to breathe 89 times an hour,” says Joy 620-AM radio personality Bob Bell. “That’s called apnea!”

Fort Sanders Sleep Disorders Center helped Bell get his breath back.

His apnea kept his wife awake

Bell noticed he was losing energy and packing on pounds. He wondered if it was because of his early morning work hours, or maybe just because of his age.

The clue that led to the real reason was Bell’s snoring. It was so loud it kept his wife awake. Because she was awake, she also noticed that he stopped breathing at times during the night.

A sleep study showed that Bell had obstructive sleep apnea. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, better known as CPAP, was recommended.   

“The CPAP device delivers air pressure which holds the airway open, making it easier to breathe,” says Scott Vogt, manager of the Sleep Disorders Center.

Pressurized air blows into a mask that’s worn over the nose or mouth during sleep. The treatment has evolved over the years to include several kinds of masks for the best fit and most comfortable, effective treatment.

Getting a good night’s rest after apnea

Bell is a believer in the CPAP device for sleep apnea. He goes back to the Center every year to make sure the settings are the best fit and that he’s continuing to see the benefits of solid sleep.

“Since I’m getting more sleep I think better and I’ve lost about 50 pounds,” Bell says, “but the biggest change is the energy I have.”

Energy is very important for Bell. He has to be awake and on the air long before many East Tennesseans have even had their first cup of coffee. When he listens to old recordings, Bell says he can hear the exhaustion in his voice. He remembers what it was like back then.

“I kept hitting the snooze button till 4 o’clock, dragging myself out of bed,” Bell says. “Now I wake up at 3:30 every morning and I feel like I want to get up, put my feet on the boards and get going!”