"Curb Your Enthusiasm" is a popular American television show that follows the fictionalized life of comedian Larry David, co-creator of the hit show "Seinfeld." The show features David playing a version of himself as he navigates everyday life in Los Angeles, often finding himself in awkward and uncomfortable situations. The show is known for its improvised dialogue, satire of Hollywood and social norms, and use of guest appearances by celebrities playing fictionalized versions of themselves. The show has been praised for its humor and its realistic portrayal of social situations, while also being criticized for its occasionally controversial subject matter.
In the show's final season, we noticed something of particular relevance to us here at Lofta. The scene (S:11, E:09, 0:21) shows Larry's part-time lover, much to his chagrin, using a CPAP machine!
In the opening scene of the episode, the camera pans from a disgruntled Larry to a snoring bed partner. Despite her use of CPAP therapy, she is experiencing quite irregular breathing on top of her shockingly loud snoring. Larry goes so far as to even try and plug her nose in an attempt to subdue the ruckus.
Normalizing Sleep Apnea
The CPAP sighting here normalizes the sleep disorder that affects nearly 22 million Americans. Since an estimated 80% of cases are believed to go undiagnosed, having sleep apnea is sometimes viewed as an abnormal condition.
If you're not familiar, CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a common treatment for sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. The CPAP machine works by delivering a constant stream of air through a mask, which keeps the airway open and prevents the snoring and interruptions in breathing associated with sleep apnea.
In this case, it appears that her pressure settings may not be optimal, which is causing her to snore loudly. When used correctly, CPAP machines should eliminate apnea events, including snoring.
It's worth noting that she appears to be wearing Philips' ComfortGel Blue Nasal Mask. We could assume that naturally, she primarily breathes through her nose. Since she reverts to mouth breathing in this scene, we would assume she's doing so to make up for the lack of pressure.
In addition, that particular mask is quite dated. We would recommend the Eson 2 by Fisher & Paykel. It's also a nasal style and has very similar headgear.
Philips Respironics ComfortGel Blue CPAP Nasal Mask
While it may be tempting for someone like Larry to try to stop the snoring by plugging his partner’s nose, this is not a safe or effective solution. In fact, it could potentially be dangerous, as it may cause her to stop breathing altogether.
Instead, we recommend that she contact her clinician to have her pressure settings adjusted. This is a common issue for CPAP users, and a clinician with experience in sleep apnea treatment can work with the patient to find the best pressure settings for their individual needs. By doing so, they can help to minimize snoring, interruptions in breathing, and other symptoms of sleep apnea, while also ensuring that the patient is comfortable and able to tolerate therapy.
Overall, the portrayal of a CPAP machine in popular media can help to raise awareness about the condition of sleep apnea and the importance of seeking treatment. However, it is important for viewers to understand that what they see on television is not always an accurate reflection of real-life situations, and that medical advice should always be sought from qualified professionals. By working with a clinician to adjust pressure settings and find the right treatment approach, patients with sleep apnea can enjoy a better quality of sleep and improved overall health and wellbeing.