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Apnea Steals Sleep From the Restless

Summarized from an article by Stephanie M. Hill

The dream had been the same for as long as he could remember. Bryan Lapuyade would swallow something and choke. He’d awaken with a start, but the sensation remained – he could barely breathe.

When the time came to go to work, Lapuyade would get out of bed, hop in his tractor-trailer and hit the road as a long-haul driver for Ryder. In 12 years with the transportation and warehousing company, he has logged thousands of miles delivering goods from his base in Utah to places all over the West Coast. But Lapuyade’s restless nights often left him feeling groggy behind the wheel. He finally went to a doctor, who in October found an explanation for his restive dreams: He had sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep. The diagnosis helped Lapuyade understand why he felt like his energy was depleted on the job.”It was kind of like an exhaustion of driving,” he recalled, “but not so exhausted that you’d say I was going to fall asleep.”

In this sense, Lapuyade, 56, isn’t driving solo. An estimated quarter of the 3.4 million licensed commercial drivers in the United States have sleep apnea. And new research shows that drivers across the transportation industry – perhaps more than any other occupation – suffer a range of sleep problems linked to work conditions such as long hours, irregular shifts and little opportunity to move around.

The problem is so prevalent that last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation overhauled national federal regulations of commercial truck driving.

By July, the maximum number of hours in a driver’s work week will be shaved from 82 to 70, and new rules for breaks will be established.

Adults should sleep seven to nine hours a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But in an April survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 70 percent of people who usually worked at night in transportation and warehousing jobs reported sleeping six or fewer hours nightly. Those employees were more tired than those in any other line of evening work. In contrast, 41 percent of manufacturing workers and 35 percent of retail workers who worked nights reported getting insufficient sleep.

If an accountant dozes at his desk, not much suffers besides his productivity. But driver fatigue can be deadly for everyone on the road. An estimated 20 percent of vehicle crashes are associated with drowsy driving. At least 15 percent of heavy truck crashes involve fatigue.

Incidents like that have put fatigue atop the National Transportation Safety Board’s list of most-wanted improvements for more than two decades.”There’s no question,” said board member Mark Rosekind. “We have accidents where people with sleep apnea have fallen asleep at the wheel.”


Read the full story at

Living in a fog – When you’re living in a fog, it’s are to feel thankful

Most people can differentiate between sunny, rainy or foggy days. However for almost 15% of adult Americans who live with untreated sleep apnea, the days can start to blend into one and another and
all seem foggy. Each day is a struggle — with energy, focus, stamina, health, memory, relationships, work, nutrition, fitness, and so on.  Many times theseindividuals feel drained and are left with an overwhelming feeling of muddling through each day. As a result, this can leave little room for anything more, let alone a spirit of thankfulness.

Whena person’sdaily ambition is to “just get through the day”, it is tough to feel thankful.It can also be hard to accept what your loved ones are saying about your sleeping patterns and chronic snoring. However, if you have people in your life who care for you enough to address a potential problem, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Knowing that someone has witnessed your breathing stopping at night, could be the first step in saving your life.

Struggling to breathe at night is a sure sign that there is something very wrong.Snoring (excessively) canalso be asignificant indicator to sleep apnea. The good news is, a potential problem has been identified and you can do something about it to be on your way to better health.

What you also should know is that you are not alone. We mentioned how many Americans are estimated to have sleep apnea but did you know that almost 85% of thatgroup remains undiagnosed?
It’s time to be thankful for the awareness of apotential problem and that you perhaps have people in your life that really care for you.

As long as we’re making a list of things to appreciate, let’s talk about treatment options. Thank goodness for options! For many people, CPAP therapy is great solution. For others, an oral appliance is terrific option and has been proven to be very successful for people.(What’s even better is that oral appliances make traveling a breeze.) Weight loss can also help tremendously. In addition, surgery is sometimes an option for certain people.

Now that we’ve discussed the foggy state of perpetual exhaustion from untreated sleep apnea, coming
out of that fog,and reflecting on what to be thankful for, take a look at this simple French definition we came across for the word gratitude. “Gratitude = a lively sense of future benefit.” If we can contemplatethankfulness from this perspective, we can start to see how someone’s futurecan highly benefit from
taking the next steps to achieving better health — testing and treatment.

If you or someone you know exhibitsigns of sleep apnea, such as daytime fatigue and/or chronic snoring, call our office today for an appointment. If loved ones express their concern with your sleeping patterns and snoring, THANK THEM and seek testing immediately. Sleep apnea can be a life threatening sleep breathing disorderthatshould not be ignored.

Women Snore Too… Sleep Apnea Found in Women

For years we have known sleep apnea to be predominantly common in males rather than females. Therefore the common belief has been that the sleep breathing disorder affects mostly men and a small percentage of women. However, when a recent Swedish report released a medical finding showing the frequency of sleep apnea in women was much higher than what we thought, many were surprised by the data.

The research team working on the study randomly sampled 400 out of 10,000 women with ages ranging from 20 to 70. The results quantified that 50% of women scored within at least the mild range of sleep apnea! This new data containing the sleep apnea frequency found in women has gained the attention of many in the sleep industry.

The study was led by Karl A. Franklin, MD, PhD, from the Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences at Umeå University in Sweden. The report also indicated that within the group of women with sleep apnea, 20% percent had moderate sleep apnea and 6% had severe sleep apnea. The research further concluded that the age bracket distribution was not equal, nor was the distribution within the varying weight ranges.

Evidence from the report showed that sleep apnea was related to age, obesity and hypertension but not to daytime sleepiness. From the overall sampling, 84% of the obese women, between the ages of 50-70,had some form of sleep apnea. In addition, 80% of the women with high blood pressure, between the ages of 55-70,were also found to have sleep apnea – either mild, moderate, or severe.

The women’s sleep study was published August 16 in the European Respiratory Journal. Information was unavailable regarding funding and possible conflicts of interest.  Regardless of the source, the reality is, women have been overlooked as sleep apnea sufferers for too long.

With snoring as the number one sign for sleep apnea, this led us to another related thought. Does the problem in acknowledging women as sleep apnea sufferers, lie partially within the female population?

When was the last time you asked a female if she possibly snored at night? You might as well go ahead and ask about her weight. Very few women openly admit to snoring and that’s a huge problem. It’s like admitting to passing gas, owning serious pushup bras, or even worse–admitting to their real age!

When women do admit to snoring it’s always sugar coated and almost apologetic. I once heard a woman answering the snoring question like this: “Oh yes, sorry. I do snore but not terribly. I snore gently.” WHAT? Was that a desperate effort to retain a sense of dignity and a lady-like image?

Why do several women feel the same way about answering a snoring question, especially since we know snoring can be the alarm to a much bigger health problem such as sleep apnea? We know snoring KILLS so why do we still tip toe around the discussion? The question is not, “Do you sound like a dying warthog at night?” It is, DO YOU SNORE?

If you’re wondering what snoring has to do with sleep apnea, take a look at our Do You Snore blog:


We know that sleep apnea sufferers experience repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, causing multiple awakenings. What many of us are still unaware of is that the pauses in breath lower the saturation of oxygen in your blood. This can result in high blood pressure and an increased risk of many heart-related diseases. In addition, sleep awakenings cause acute surges in blood pressure and heart rate, further increasing stress on the heart. 

In people with sleep apnea, the cardiac rest achieved in normal and proper sleep is not possible. This is the most alarming component of sleep apnea, since it can lead to complications such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure, depression, weight gain, and many other health issues.


If you have a loved one who experiences any sleep apnea symptoms such as snoring, gasping for air during sleep, daytime fatigue, or has already been diagnosed with sleep apnea but is possibly CPAP intolerant, please call our office immediately for a consultation with a doctor. Within a few minutes you could be on your way to helping a friend or family member and possibly even saving a life. 


What Are My Treatment Options? Diagnosed with sleep apnea? Now What?

If you have been following our blog you should have some knowledge of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the physical strain it puts on your organs. ( People with OSA can experience decreased productivity, daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, weight gain, relationship issues, sexual dysfunction, weaker immune system, and an increased risk of accidents. This is in addition to the increased risk of Type II diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and increased threat of dying from cancer.

For those of you who are new to our blog you may be wondering what causes obstructed sleep apnea. OSA is caused by a physical obstruction in one’s airway which inhibits a person’s ability to take in oxygen while sleeping. People with sleep apnea experience repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, causing multiple awakenings. These sleep awakenings cause acute surges in blood pressure and heart rate, which increases stress on the heart. They also disrupt sleep cycles, interfere with hormone regulation, and limit oxygen flow to the organs. 

 If you’re thinking about getting tested for sleep apnea, but an overnight hospital stay makes you extremely anxious, there’s an alternative option. Relay your anxiety to your doctor and ask about an in-home sleep test that can help screen for sleep apnea.

Now for the good news on sleep apnea – you have treatment options with this as well! Since no two people are exactly alike, one choice for sleep apnea treatment doesn’t fit all. Below are a few options people have for sleep apnea treatment.

Weight loss

An individual who is overweight can have extra tissue and fat present around the airway. The extra mass on the soft palate narrows the airway, which becomes more prone to collapsing. Losing weight helps shrink one’s neck size and therefore eliminates the narrowing of an airway due to excess tissue.

What many do not realize is that having OSA causes extreme daytime fatigue and irregular weight-related hormone levels, severely jeopardizing weight loss efforts. As individuals gain additional weight, it is important for loved ones to alert them of the snoring that may also occur. This snoring could be an alarm to a much larger problem (OSA).


CPAP is an abbreviation that stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. The CPAP is a breathing device that works by continuously forcing air down one’s airway. The pressure of the air pushes the soft palate and key muscles (what collapses and obstructs the airway) aside and eliminates the obstruction.

The CPAP is the ‘gold standard’ of treatment in treating OSA. When worn correctly, it is 100% effective in all severity levels of OSA.

Unfortunately the CPAP can have a low compliance rate. Some of the complaints of the CPAP which result in intolerance are; dryness, noise, vanity, mask irritation, and claustrophobia.


There are several surgical options available and they are always evolving. Some of the current options are:

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty      (UPPP)
    • Removes Uvula & tissue       from soft palate.
    • Most common surgery for OSA
  • Tongue Reduction
    • Remove a section of the tongue
  • Tongue Retention (Repose)
    • Screw is anchored into the mandible and tongue is tied forward and attached to it
  • Somnoplasty
    • Radio frequency heats and electrode and causes tissues to shrink slightly.

All surgeries have been documented to be less than 50% effective. 

Oral Appliance Therapy

 An oral sleep appliance is a custom-fabricated mouthpiece similar to an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth-guard worn over the teeth.  The appliance works by comfortably repositioning the lower jaw and tongue forward or by restraining the tongue to keep the airway from collapsing during sleep.  Snoring and sleep apnea are then effectively managed and good quality sleep can be achieved without interruption.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral sleep appliances as a first line treatment option for individuals with mild or moderate sleep apnea or for those who are unable to use THE CPAP successfully.  Oral appliances are also considered for those who are not candidates or prefer not to pursue airway surgery.

A dentist specially trained in the field of dental sleep medicine can expertly fabricate a dental sleep appliance.  The dentist will work closely with sleep physicians and sleep lab technicians for sleep test diagnosis and to ensure appliance efficacy and long term health of the individual.

When seeking help for sleep apnea, the most important things to remember is that you are not alone and you have options. Do your homework. Many doctors are not inclined to offer all of the treatment options because they may be biased to one option or another.

Please remember that sleep apnea is a national epidemic estimated to affect over 22 million people. This shows that you are not alone. Do your research and ask your physician and/or dentist questions about all available treatment options. In the meantime, you can take a quick 5 minute preliminary online questionnaire to see if you may be at risk for sleep apnea.  This questionnaire can be found at www.SLEEPTEST.COM or by calling 1-800-SleepTest.

Sleeping for Sanity

Sleeping for Sanity
Source: Summarized from an article by By Morgan Jones

Recent studies have shown that many Americans are finding it harder and harder to get a decent amount of sleep. Why? Studies have pointed to physical issues, (obstructive sleep apnea), and mental health issues, (stress and depression).
It’s been proven that losing weight can greatly improve symptoms of sleep apnea. But what about treating mental health issues? In a question similar to the “chicken versus the egg” conundrum, could sleep problems traditionally thought to be symptoms of mental disorders actually be the cause of the mental disorders? Could treating sleep disorders help heal mental health problems?
Sleep Basics
It’s obvious that our bodies and minds want and need sleep, but what exactly is happening when we start snoozing? According to the Harvard Medical School, there are two main categories of sleep, each with its own important functions.
During rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, heart rate and breathing return to levels comparable to those seen when awake. At the same time, our bodies become paralyzed, ensuring that we don’t act out our dreams. This period of dreaming has been shown to contribute to emotional well-being, memory and learning ability, though the manner of connection is not yet entirely understood.When in “quiet,” or non-REM sleep cycles, heart rate and body temperature decrease and breathing slows and becomes regular. In this stage the immune system is bolstered and strengthened.
Sleeping builds our immune system and can even contribute to maintaining a healthy weight. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite.”Furthermore, it seems that the disruption of sleep affects stress hormones and neurotransmitters, interrupting one’s ability to think, process information, and regulate their emotions. It is because of this mechanism of sleep that, according to Harvard Medical School, “insomnia may amplify the effects of psychiatric disorders, and vice versa.”Harvard Medical School reports that while 10-18% of American adults overall are affected by chronic sleep issues, anywhere from 50-80% of patients in an average psychiatric practice are plagued with these problems.
The Sleep-Mental Health Connection
It has traditionally been the assumption that insomnia and other sleep problems were simply symptoms of the psychiatric issues that these patients with sleep issues were already being treated for.
“The medical profession is becoming more aware of the correlation between sleep and emotional disorders,” said William Kohler, M.D., Medical Director of the Florida Sleep Institute, in an interview with dailyRx. Some research has now shown that sleep issues might increase the likelihood of mental health problems. Harvard Medical school reports that it might even be the case that sleep problems “might even directly contribute to the development of some psychiatric disorders.”

Linking Sleep Apnea to Sexual Dysfunction…

There’s been a lot of hype recently over the release of a new medical study, linking sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction and/or decreased sexual performance. In this study conducted at the Walter Reed Military National Medical Center in Bethesda, ninety-two men with an average age of 46 were observed. All of the members of the group were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), treated, and followed for six months. The results concluded that after being treated for sleep apnea over a period of time, erectile dysfunction was eliminated in about forty percent of those who initially reported it. Others with a reduced to normal libido also experienced a boost in sexual performance. Overall, sexual function and satisfaction were improved in the majority of non-diabetic men in the study, regardless of their level of initial erectile dysfunction.

OSA is a sleep related breathing disorder that occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, causing the body to stop breathing during sleep. In addition to being linked with decreased sexual performance, OSA can increase the risk of stroke, hypertension, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attack. It can also significantly decrease the survival rate of cancer patients with untreated sleep apnea.

The information from the aforementioned medical study further illustrates the relevance of treating sleep apnea and the impact of the disorder when left untreated. It is commonly known that severe untreated sleep apnea sufferers face an increased mortality risk.  However, emphasis should also be placed on the everyday quality of life for everyone struggling with the sleep disorder. There are numerous challenges and struggles for those with untreated sleep apnea – both in the long run of physical health and the everyday impact of social and emotional well-being.

If you or someone you know show noticeable signs of sleep apnea such as snoring, gasping for air during sleep, and/or daytime fatigue, please visit for a free online screening and call us immediately for help.

Sleeping Less Could Make You Eat More

Sleeping Less Could Make You Eat More

 Source: Summarized from HERWriter an article by By Mamta Singh 

It seems as though we are caught up in the tangle of urban living only to harm our bodies. As the demands of our careers dictate more travel, longer work hours, more frequent work with different time zones aided by technology, we
are unconsciously slicing our rest hours as we take a long commute late in the evenings.

Research conducted by the Minnesota wing of the Mayo Clinic is now telling
us that if we do not get enough sleep, we end up consuming more calories than we need, just to be able to feel up to functioning at normal levels. This is a cue to obesity.

This study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology
and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions. (1)

According to Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D., study author and professor of medicine and cardiovascular disease at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, “We tested whether lack of sleep altered the levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, increased the amount of food people ate, and affected energy burned through activity.” (2)

Leptin is a protein hormone. It is chiefly produced by the fat cells of our body. Leptin is known to interact with parts of our brain which regulate our appetite and so controls our eating behavior and signals that we have had enough
to eat. (3).

Leptin also regulates energy expenditure and plays a key role in metabolism
of foods we eat. In the absence of leptin or when leptin levels are very low,
we could have an uncontrolled need for eating, thus pegging our risk for obesity.

Ghrelin is an amino acid peptide hormone. In generic terms, ghrelin can be described as a counterpart of leptin.

Ghrelin is primarily produced in the stomach as well as in the small intestine
and in the hypothalamus. Its chief function is to stimulate hunger. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and subside after we have eaten. (4)

In the study conducted by Mayo Clinic, 17 healthy adults (men and women) were observed for eight nights. Half the participants got their normal hours of sleep and the remaining slept only two-thirds of their normal sleeping hours in a day.

They were allowed to eat the type and quantity of foods as they wished and
were to carry on their daily activities as they normally would.

It was found that the group which was sleep-deprived (sleeping only two-thirds
of the hours they usually sleep) were consuming on average 549 calories more than the group that slept their usual hours and duration.,0

Dental Phobia: Causes and Treatments, Part 2

By Dr. Omar Abdo,

Continuing my discussion of dental phobia, I turn to more causes of the condition, as well as treatments.

Causes of Dental Phobia: Indirect Experiences
Although direct experiences with dental care, including ones that involved difficult procedures and impersonal dentists, rank as the number one cause of dental phobia, secondhand experiences also play a role. Someone who went through a bad experience might tell his or her friends, thereby coloring others’ perception of oral care.

Mass media also plays on commonly understood fears such as dental phobia. Cartoons, for example, often depict the dentist as a terrifying obstacle for a child. Although such shows usually end with the character marveling at the painlessness of the visit, the idea that dental appointments might be harmful stays with viewers. Stimulus generalization, specifically a bad experience in an environment similar to a dentist’s office, like a hospital area, leads to a negative perception of dental offices.

Treatments for Dental Phobia
Just as dental phobia can occur via a number of means, a plethora of ways to combat the fear exists. Most treatments come in the form of behavioral techniques. One common method, positive reinforcement, involves dentists praising the patient for handling the simplest of ordeals, slowly building confidence during the visit. Another method, the tell-show-do technique, entails articulating the procedure using easily understood language. Dentists then offer a demonstration of the sights, sounds, and tactile elements of the procedure. Finally, they actually perform the procedure.

Second Hand Snoring / Sleep Stealing

Did you know sleeping with a snorer can take a toll on YOUR health and wellness? People sleeping next to loved ones that snore have also reported excessive day-time sleepiness and fatigue, along with their snoring partners. Research now shows that in relationships, both individuals feel the effects of snoring, doubling the importance of treatment.

A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 1999 found that bed partners of people who snore woke up, at least partially, 21 times an hour on average. That’s almost as often as snorers themselves, who woke up 27 times per hour. This quantifiable damage to snorees (bed partners) should be a wake-up call. The effect on their bodies of losing even one hour of sleep a night due to snoring is significant.

When a snorer enters the deeper levels of sleep, such as REM or Delta, muscles relax, including the muscles in the airway which are located in the back of the throat. These relaxed muscles collapse and a vibration is created as air moves between the soft palette and the back of the throat. The loud sound created from this vibration (snoring) abruptly awakens the snoree. This means deeper levels of sleep for the snoree are also jeopardized. In addition, it can be harder for the snoree to return to sleep because the snorer only experiences subconscious awakenings (partial awakenings) and has little recollection of waking up throughout the night. 

Consequently, snorees are not getting the quality of sleep required to maintain their health and energy throughout the day. In a relationship, both parties are extremely fatigued, and this places undue stress on the relationship. Second hand snoring may cause partners to make poor eating decisions, causes loss in intimacy, and creates resentment. In some relationships couples are forced to sleep in separate bedrooms, thereby contributing additional tension to relationships.

Some snorees turn to ear plugs to help reduce the noise. However, many people underestimate the high volume potential of snoring. Snorers can reach a volume of between 60-90 decibels. The most effective ear plug can only eliminate 33 decibels of noise. This means that while ear plugs can help, there are still a lot of remaining decibels in that equation.

Treating snoring is critical – for the snorer, the snoree, and to save the relationship. One must also keep in mind the importance of understanding the reason behind the snoring…the likelihood of sleep apnea being a key factor. Snoring can be hard on both people and an enormous strain on a relationship but it’s critical to remember that sleep apnea is life-threatening and a silent killer.

The first step in finding some relief is to talk with your partner about his/her snoring. There are several options in seeking treatment. Start by making an appointment with us to discuss the problem. From there, a sleep test is needed to check for sleep apnea – either through an over-night sleep study at a local sleep lab (PSG) or a home sleep test (HST). With those results we can help identify the best treatment solution. Please visit for your free sleep evaluation and call us today so we can help you lead healthier lives and share a more loving relationship!

Sleep Apnea – a Silent Killer

When tragedy strikes, people across the country are left asking a similar question, “Could I have done anything to save my loved one?” Undoubtedly these thoughts reside with everyone at some point during the painful grieving process. Is there anything we can do?


This discussion is dedicated to all family and friends that have passed away from a silent killer known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is caused by a physical obstruction in the airway causing a person to stop breathing several times throughout the night. In examining and categorizing overall health, we began by turning to a popular television program familiar with sleep apnea and obesity as an American epidemic — The Biggest Loser. The physicians working with this show succinctly organize health into four pillars: psychological well-being, healthy eating, healthy exercise, and sleep. When the fourth pillar (sleep) is not properly achieved, it severely impacts the success of the other three. Without the proper sleep, your psychological wellness, nutrition, and exercise don’t stand a chance. The reality is that we spend about one third of our life sleeping. Our bodies absolutely need that time of rest so we have the energy and focus to live healthy and balanced lives. If you suffer from even mild sleep apnea, your body is not attaining the ideal rest and rejuvenation it needs, leaving you fatigued all day long. Continuous feelings of exhaustion can trickle down to hormonal imbalance, which leads to poor nutritional choices and cravings, depression, and a lack of energy needed for sustaining exercise routines. With this information, it is easy to understand how a deficiency of proper sleep affects all your pillars of health, as outlined by the physicians of The Biggest Loser program.

One of the greatest dangers of sleep apnea is the physical strain it puts on your organs, specifically the heart. The medical description for normal and proper sleep is defined as “a decreased sympathetic activity which lowers heart rate and blood pressure creating a period of cardiac rest.”  When your heart never experiences the rest it needs, extra stress is placed on the heart walls, which can lead to a fatal and life-threatening situation. It is well known that sleep apnea sufferers experience repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, causing multiple awakenings. Not as well known is that this lowers the saturation of oxygen in your blood and can result in high blood pressure and an increased risk of many heart-related diseases. In addition, sleep awakenings cause acute surges in blood pressure and heart rate, further increasing stress on the heart.
With obstructive sleep apnea, the cardiac rest achieved in normal and proper sleep is not possible. This is the most alarming component of sleep apnea, since it may lead to many complications. If you have a loved one who experiences any sleep apnea symptoms such as snoring, gasping for air during sleep, daytime fatigue, or has already been diagnosed with sleep apnea but is possibly CPAP intolerant, please call our office immediately for a consultation with the doctor. Within a few minutes you could be on your way to helping a friend or family member and possibly even saving his/her life.


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