Do you seem to never get enough sleep and always are tired? Does your spouse complain about your snoring or say you have irregular breathing while sleeping?
If you have one or more of these and other signs, you may need a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea or another condition. These studies are available at Mercy Hospital Carthage Sleep Lab. The lab helps people who have a variety of sleep disorders, including insomnia, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea, which is characterized by brief interruptions of breathing.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, with more than 18 million U.S. adults afflicted, according to the National Sleep Foundation. It’s a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that is more common in men.
Mercy’s Carthage sleep lab is ready to help solve your sleep problem. The lab has received a three-year accreditation that demonstrates a commitment to providing the highest-quality service for patients. The Accreditation Commission for Health Care granted the accreditation, which focuses on clinical care when patients are tested.
If you think you have a sleep disorder, start with your primary care physician. Once your physician feels there are indications for a sleep test, known as a polysomnography, the sleep lab is notified. You’ll get an appointment with a health care professional who is specially trained in sleep disorders.
“I think we have exceptionally friendly technicians. Many patients comment on how nice they are,” said Chalaine Bell, manager of the sleep lab. “We can schedule patients for a sleep study fairly quickly, and we also offer weekend studies.”
Bell noted that patients working day jobs don’t necessarily need to take off work as they can arrive in the evening and leave in the morning after a continental breakfast.
The patient checks into the lab in the evening. Upon arrival, a technician walks a patient through an in-depth, one-on-one discussion before they’re wired with sensors. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour for the sleep technician to hook the patient to the equipment. This enables the technician to closely monitor the patient sleeping in a comfortable, bedroom-like environment.
After the patient is tucked in for the night, the technician observes in the next room via camera to monitor sleep episodes, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen saturation and certain body movements. The test determines the diagnosis and severity of the sleep disorder.
During the course of the night, if a patient has enough sleep apnea episodes, the tech awakens the patient to put on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which helps with breathing and lessens or stops the episodes.
When the patient awakens in the morning, the equipment is removed and results sent for analysis. Tests are interpreted by a board-certified sleep physician.
Once results are sent to the patient’s physician, a plan of action is developed. Often, the patient’s physician will need to refer the patient to a physician who specializes in sleep medicine.
There are several treatments for sleep apnea, depending on the results and the patient. CPAP is the most common and effective treatment for sleep apnea. Dental appliances are helpful for some patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea or who snore, but do not have apnea.
Surgery can be an option for some and involves the removal of tonsils and adenoids, nasal polyps or other growths. Other treatments may be for weight loss. A 10 percent weight loss can reduce the number of apneic events for most patients.
A sleep study’s goal is to diagnose and treat patients’ sleep disorders so they get a good night’s sleep.
“If patients are committed and follow their treatment plan, they’re going to see a drastic change in how they feel the next day,” Bell said. “It can change their lives and greatly improve their health.”
If you think you could benefit from a sleep study, ask your primary care doctor for a referral to the nationally accredited Mercy Sleep Center – Carthage at Mercy Hospital Carthage on the McCune-Brooks Campus, 3125 Dr. Russell Smith Way. For more information, call 417-359-1310. The sleep scheduling number is 417-556-2808.