Breathe easy — Lorenz is here

Published 11:00 am Friday, February 7, 2014

If trying to pronounce otolaryngologist ties your tongue in a knot, Dr. Fred Lorenz might need to take a look at it for you.
Lorenz, who joined the River Region Medical Center staff in October, practices the difficult-to-pronounce field of medicine that focuses on conditions of the ear, nose and throat, he told Port City Kiwanis on Thursday.
“A lot of people don’t understand what an ear, nose and throat doctor does,” he said. “The easy way to think about is treatment — medical and surgical — from the shoulders up, minus the eyes and brain.”
The wide variety means that Lorenz treats hearing disorders, sinus diseases, thyroid conditions and an array of other conditions.
One of the most common ailments patients seek treatment for is snoring, Lorenz said. Simple snoring that lasts only a few seconds is little more than an annoyance and can be cause by a number of factors, he said.
“We want breathing to be four seconds or less, even when we’re sleeping,” he said.
Hypopnea — a prolonged snore during which someone holds their breath for about 10 seconds or longer — is when the nighttime annoyance becomes a hazard.
“It makes you work to sleep, and that can be dangerous,” he said.
People who suffer from hypopnea often wake up more tired than when they went to bed because of lack of oxygen while sleeping, he said.
When snorers stop breathing completely, it becomes the potentially deadly condition known as sleep apnea.
“There are people who will stop breathing for 30 to 40 seconds,” Lorenz said.

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