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When Snoring Signals Something Serious
But for the estimated 12 million people with sleep apnea, sleeplessness takes its toll every night. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. This can happen from five to more than 30 times an hour. When normal breathing begins again, it's often with a snort or choking sound. "The result is that you have poor sleep quality and are tired during the day,” said Dr. DeTrana. “And many people with sleep apnea aren't aware they have it. That can be dangerous."
Left untreated, sleep apnea is a risk factor for serious physical disorders, such as:
The most common treatment is the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device. It has proven to be an effective treatment too. After three weeks of CPAP treatment, patients saw improvements in daytime sleepiness and fatigue, according to a study last month in the journal Sleep .
So if you snore, or you've been told you do, what's the next step? The St. Nicholas Regional Sleep Disorders Center offers a free at-home screening. The Apnea Link is a recording device a little bigger than a cell phone. It has an air flow sensor and is worn overnight. The patient brings the device back in the morning and a report is downloaded for review with the patient's primary care physician.
Snoring is the subject of many jokes, but for patients with sleep apnea, it's no laughing matter. "I encourage people to take this seriously," said Dr. DeTrana. "And with the Apnea Link, it's easier than ever to find out whether you or someone you love is at risk."
About St. Nicholas Hospital
St. Nicholas Hospital is a non-profit hospital sponsored by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis located at 3100 Superior Avenue , Sheboygan , Wisconsin . Our mission and vision is to provide family-centered, compassionate care without regard for race, creed, or ability to pay. This is achieved through our core values of respect, care, competence, and joy. To learn more, visit www.stnicholashospital.org .
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System is a Roman Catholic health care mission founded to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Sponsored by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care framed in traditional values taught by St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi . It is dedicated to serving all people, including the poor and the needy, at each of its 13 Local Systems in Wisconsin (Sheboygan, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and two in Green Bay) and in Illinois (Belleville, Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Highland, Litchfield, Springfield and Streator). For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org
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