SGCMH offers in-home sleep studies


According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems that can significantly diminish health, alertness and safe-ty. Untreated sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabe-tes and other chronic diseases. Sleep problems can take many forms and can involve too little sleep, too much sleep or inadequate quality of sleep.
Carrie Staab, Respiratory Therapist and Director of Respiratory Therapy at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital (SGCMH) said that compounding the problem is the fact that most people know when to seek medical help for physical discomfort such as fever or pain—but sleep problems are often over-looked or ignored. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people with sleep disorders are undiagnosed and untreated.
To help diagnose sleep problems, SGCMH is now offering in-home sleep studies.
“The prospect of spending a night in the hospital hooked up to monitors and having people watch you sleep doesn’t have a lot of appeal for some people,” said Staab. “Many people have trouble sleeping in the hospital or don’t want to come in because of the anxiety of going through the study. In-home sleep studies can be much more comfortable and convenient for patients, and in many cases, you get a truer picture of what’s going.”
Once a doctor/provider orders the in-home sleep study, patient educators will instruct patients in their own home on how to use the equipment.
“The equipment is pretty minimal, but it’s enough to determine if you have sleep apnea, one of the most common sleep disorders,” said Staab. “We monitor airflow, respiratory effort, snoring, heart rate, oxygen saturation, actigraphy and body position. You wear the equipment for three nights and then the patient educators come back to your home, pick up the equipment and download the information.”
Staab said the data from the study is given to Dr. Gary Goldstein, SGCMH pulmonologist, to assess and then pass on to the patient’s provider.
While sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, there are many others, like restless leg syndrome, low oxygen levels or even medications explained Staab. In the event sleep apnea is di-agnosed, our patient educators will instruct the patient on the use of a continuous positive airway pres-sure (CPAP) machine.
“I tell patients not to jump to the conclusion that they will have to use a CPAP machine,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that can be done. We’re also looking into offering oral appliances, much like a retainer, for those who have trouble using a CPAP machine.”
To determine whether you might benefit from a sleep evaluation, Staab said to ask yourself the fol-lowing questions:
• Do you regularly have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep?
• Do you have a problem with snoring? Has anyone ever told you that you have pauses in breathing or that you gasp for breath when you sleep?
• Are your legs “active” at night? Do you experience tingling, creeping, itching, pulling, aching or other strange feelings in your legs while sitting or lying down that cause a strong urge to move, walk or kick your legs for relief?
• Are you so tired when you wake up in the morning that you cannot function normally during the day?
• Does sleepiness and fatigue persist for more than two to three weeks?
“If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a complete sleep evaluation should be consid-ered and discussed with your physician,” said Staab. “Before you meet with your doctor, it may be help-ful to track your sleep patterns and medications.”
The in-home sleep study is billed through the hospital, and SGCMH takes care of it all, according to Staab.
“If a doctor orders the study and you are nervous about staying overnight in a hospital, the in-home study is a great option,” she said. “The most important thing is to start getting a good night’s sleep. It can make such a difference to your quality of life.”
To learn more about the in-home sleep studies now offered at SGCMH, call 573-883-4487.

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