• Southeast Wisconsin
  • September 2013
Written by  Karen Block

Alert: Annoying snoring could indicate serious underlying condition!

National Football League legend Reggie White died from it; and many residents of the Milwaukee metro area may unknowingly suffer from this condition. It’s called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition that causes people to stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep at night. Fifteen to 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and by the end of the decade, it’s expected to affect 1 out of every 5 adults.

Any individual who feels that they are not sleeping well, who wakes up feeling so tired that they could go back to bed, or whose bed partner tells them that they snore, gasp for air and/or stop breathing at night would be a good candidate for a free ApneaLink™ sleep screening. The process is very simple: An individual calls the sleep center and makes an appointment to pick up the device. At that time, they are instructed on how to use it. The individual takes it home, uses it that night and brings it back to the sleep center the next day.

The device records their breathing pattern while they sleep, including any snoring, apneas (complete obstructions of the airway), hypopneas (partial obstructions of the airway) and flow limitations.

Back at the sleep center, a report is generated that clearly shows whether the individual’s nighttime breathing is in the normal range or if they suspect a pathological breathing disorder such as OSA. The report is then made available to the individual as well as to their primary care physician, who can then write an order for a complete overnight sleep study at the center. If the individual doesn’t have a primary care physician, he or she may be able to see one of the sleep center’s physicians.

If people are concerned, they should go to get tested. Sometimes an individual needs to have a little nudge to come in for a complete overnight sleep study, and this free ApneaLink™ sleep screening tool will provide the appropriate nudge. This simple, free screening test can save a life.

OSA is also found in children and has been linked to attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Parents of children with this disorder, who have pursued sleep diagnostic testing, report seeing an improvement following treatment in both their child’s behavior and school performance.

OSA sufferers can share common characteristics such as: snoring, waking up numerous times during the night, awakening unrefreshed in the morning and a history of uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension. Many sufferers are unaware. It’s usually a partner or roommate that identifies a problem of excessive snoring, often characterized by moments of silence and then gasping as the individual breathes in air. Although a partner may attempt to solve the problem by simply sleeping in another room, this doesn’t help the individual who has the disorder. Left untreated, OSA can result in serious health concerns, including: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, sexual dysfunction, fatigue-related motor vehicle accidents and work-related accidents, trouble with concentration at school or work, and an overall decrease in their quality of life due to excessive daytime sleepiness.

OSA is just one of the many diagnoses that can be determined by having a complete overnight sleep study at a sleep center. Others include insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and cardiac disease.

As you can see, sleep disorders are risky business. If you have any concerns about your sleep, speak with your physician or call the sleep center for a free ApneaLink™ sleep screening today! As explained above, a sleep study is an easy process, so there are no excuses! 

Karen Block is the owner/administrator of Endeavor Therapy & Sleep Center, 11649 North Port Washington Road in Mequon, a sleep diagnostic facility that is offering free ApneaLink™ sleep screenings as a community awareness project to help educate people about their sleep. Endeavor is open seven nights a week for their patients’ convenience and is one-quarter of the cost of the hospital sleep labs. For more information about sleep issues or to schedule your free ApneaLink™ sleep screening, call 262-241-8892 or visit http://endeavortherapyandsleep.com.

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