Stringfellow talks sleep apnea with Rotarians

Dr. Paul Stringfellow, center, was on hand for the Rotary Club of Crowley’s Tuesday meeting to talk about sleep apnea with the group. Program organizer Brent Benson, left, and Past-President Elliot Doré welcomed Stringfellow.

Jeannine LeJeune is the online editor for the Crowley Post-Signal. She can be reached at or 337-783-3450.

Years ago, sleep apnea was a moment’s discussion in medical school and the public didn’t see it as a real medical condition.

Times have changed and people have learned that sleep apnea is not just annoying snoring, it’s a medical problem. In fact, it’s a common disorder in which  you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.

These breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and can occur 30 times or more than an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

It is typically a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep which, in turn, decreases your quality of life, carries an economic toll, is actually a matter of public safety and is linked to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sudden death and increased morbidity and mortality.

It is the leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

These facts, among many others, were discussed by Dr. Paul Stringfellow at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Crowley.

Stringfellow pointed out the typical obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) signs and symptoms, which are excessive daytime sleepiness unexplained by other factors, along with loud, disruptive snoring or nocturnal choking/gasping/snorting or nocturnal pauses in breathing.

Additionally, OSA sufferers may be waking up throughout the night, be tired throughout the day, have problems concentrating or memory loss, waking up with headaches and more.

When Stringfellow began seeing sleep apnea patients, he explained Tuesday, there were certain risk factors to look for, including a person’s body mass index or certain physical characteristics. Now, however, he has to look at everything and every one.

“It’s hard to find a group that doesn’t have sleep apnea,” he said.

For Stringfellow, part of his work comes from the intricate testing at the Our Lady of Lourdes Sleep Disorders Center, located in Crowley. There, not only are sleeping tests held, but patients get the items they will need to be treated and start getting better sleep at night. As Stringfellow pointed out, a person not only needs sleep, but they need deep sleep.

As for the practice itself, Stringfellow enjoys it because he not only gets to help people, but he gets a chance to really talk to his patients.

For those who think they may have a sleeping disorder, the center not only takes doctors’ referrals, but “self-referrals.” In other words if you think you need at least an evaluation, call the clinic at 337-783-4448 to find out more information today.

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