Snore No More
Snoring is caused by the vibration of excess floppy tissue in
the nose and back of the throat, Fry says. The condition results in a decrease
of oxygen in the bloodstream, which puts additional stress on the heart, blood
vessels, and brain.
Often, it's wives who send their husbands to the doctor after
they notice their husbands have stopped breathing. "That's very alarming to
a bed partner," Fry says. The CPAP device generally solves the breathing
problems by blowing a regular stream of air through the nose and throat,
forcing any floppy tissues to stay open. The result: normal breathing and a
Wayne Crawford's snoring was so bad, it was keeping both him
and his wife awake at night. Crawford, 43, is a computer systems programmer for
the city of Philadelphia. He ran track and played football back in high school,
and was a member of a championship rough-touch football team in his 20s. But
then came middle age. Crawford was
gaining weight and feeling so tired, he couldn't even ride his bike any
He found the CPAP device "a little claustrophobic at first.
It looks like
elephantiasis," he says. When he wears it, his kids tell him,
"Daddy, you've got your trunk on."
But Crawford's wife doesn't mind the humming sound the machine
makes. "It's somewhat soothing as opposed to the sound of my snoring,"
Thanks to regular sleep, Crawford is no longer in what he
describes as "a constant state of lethargy." He's also
working out regularly at a gym.
Fry began studying sleep disorders when she was a resident at
the Neurological Institute of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in the late
1970s. Since 1981, Fry has been the director of the Center for Sleep Medicine
(formerly the Sleep Disorder Center) at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in
Among the other sleep disorders Fry treats is narcolepsy, a
neurological disorder that can cause people to fall asleep without warning at
embarrassing or even dangerous moments. Sherry Johnson is a narcoleptic who
used to fall asleep while she was cashing checks as a bank teller. "I would
just sort of nod off and not even know I was doing it," says Johnson, 57,
of Cherry Hill, N.J. She'd come to a few seconds later without knowing whether
she had handed any cash back to the customer. "It was a creepy thing for
me," she says.