Do people complain about your snoring? Do you wake up feeling tired and sluggish? You could be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially serious disorder in which your breathing is actually stopping and starting.
More than 40 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder, and 20 million suffer from OSA. Despite the high prevalence, 93% of women and 82% of men with moderate to severe OSA are undiagnosed. Untreated OSA can severely affect quality of life, health and mortality. Clinical research shows that sleep is linked strongly to a range of serious, even life-threatening, chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes, heart failure, obesity and coronary heart disease.
The risk of sleep apnea increases if you’re overweight, have a thicker neck, are male, smoke, use alcohol, are over the age of 60 or have a family history of sleep apnea. In addition to snoring and tiredness, sufferers may have morning headaches, attention problems, or insomnia.
A sleep study is the first step to a better night’s sleep. The St. Joseph’s Hospital Sleep Labs are fully accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Patients first complete a Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire then they are scheduled for an overnight study or a daytime study with naps. A respiratory therapist or sleep technician applies sensors, electrodes, and other monitoring devices to the patient to record various aspects of their sleep including brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity in chin and legs, heart activity, and breathing effort. A camera records their sleep throughout the night. At all times, patients can speak with a technologist in an adjacent room by intercom.
Most insurance companies cover the cost of a sleep study. However, some carriers are now requiring a home sleep study as the first sleep. St. Joseph’s Sleep Labs provide home sleep testing support and equipment. The results of a home sleep study are not as accurate as those provided by an in-lab test because of potential incorrect use of equipment. However, they can be a first step in diagnosing a sleep problem.
Once a patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea, he or she needs sleep therapy. Franciscan Companies, part of St. Joseph’s Health, specializes in providing continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy. Registered respiratory therapists work with patients to ensure a comfortable and secure fit of the mask, along with the proper use of the equipment. Franciscan also ships CPAP equipment to patients in outlying areas; a DVD and step-by-step instructions are included, and a respiratory therapist calls to make sure they’re using the equipment properly.
Technology has made sleep therapy more comfortable than ever before. CPAP equipment is not the clunky, noisy equipment it once was. Franciscan offers its patients DreamStation CPAP machines and DreamWear masks. The tubing along the sides of the mask is made of a flexible silicone so it’s soft and comfortable along the patient’s cheeks. The nasal mask sits under your nose – not in or over it – so it’s more comfortable. The unit itself is quiet and small, with a sleek design.
For more information, call one of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Sleep Labs:
North Sleep Lab
7246 Janus Park Drive
Liverpool, NY 13088
Northeast Sleep Lab
4400 Medical Center Drive
Fayetteville, NY 13066
For sleep apnea treatment, call Franciscan at (315) 458-3200.