Mercy’s Sleep Center helps patients catch their Z’s

May 9, 2014

May is Better Sleep Month and getting adequate and proper sleep is nothing to yawn at. According to the National Institutes of Health, 80 percent of hypertension, 60 percent of strokes, and 50 percent of heart disease are caused by undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and obesity. In addition, 100,000 motor vehicle accidents per year are attributed to sleepiness from a sleep disorder.

Over 40 million Americans suffer from long-term sleep disorders and another 20 million have occasional sleep problems.   Characteristics of a sleep disorder are trouble going to sleep, trouble staying asleep, sleeping too much, or having abnormal things happen when you do sleep.

Leslie Ledford, registered respiratory therapist and registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, suggest you ask yourself these questions if you think you might suffer from a sleep disorder: 

  • do you snore loudly or heavily while asleep 
  • are you excessively sleepy or do you lack energy in the daytime
  • do you have occasional morning headaches
  • have you had a recent weight gain or high blood pressure
  • have you been told that you hold your breath when you sleep
  • are your sleep problems affecting your home or work life
  • compared to your co-workers, how much caffeine do you drink

“If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms,” Ledford says, “ask your doctor if he or she thinks you could benefit from having a sleep study performed.”

A polysomnogram is a test that records a patient’s physical state during various stages of sleep and wakefulness.  It studies sleep stages, body position, blood-oxygen levels, respiratory events, muscle tone, heart rare, amount of snoring, and general sleep behavior.  The data is essential in evaluating sleep and sleep-related complaints and disorders.

“The sleep test is an overnight test that determines what kind of sleep disorder you have,” Ledford explains.  “You can bring your own pillow and pajamas, and take all your medicines as usual.  The rooms are like a home bedroom.  You can watch TV, read, or use your laptop until bedtime – free wireless internet is even provided.”

“Our goal is for you to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible,” Ledford continued.  “Once the test begins, your brain waves, eye movements, snoring, heart rhythm, leg movements, oxygen levels, jaw movements, and breathing will be monitored while you sleep.  The technician monitors and records these from a separate office.”

Patients seeking treatment for sleep problems are encouraged to seek out sleep clinics that employ Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGTs) as it is a symbol for quality, responsibility and credibility, indicating that the credentialed technologist has a level of experience and competence aligned with an international standard.

To learn more about Mercy’s Sleep Center call 620-223-7077.

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