Health Watch: Should you get a sleep study?

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If you regularly struggle to get a good night’s sleep, you may qualify for a sleep study. Sleep studies are tests that record the body activity during sleep and can help identify if you’re suffering from a sleep disorder, which are linked to a number of chronic health conditions. If you’re tired – literally and figuratively – of not being able to sleep soundly, SLUCare’s sleep medicine specialists at the Sleep Disorders Center can help.

Sleep disorders are linked to a number of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, thyroid problems, arthritis, allergies, weakened immune system, GI reflux, hormonal fluctuations, etc. A sleep disorder can also make nearly every psychological problem worse – depression, ADHD, autism, etc.

An undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorder can affect your quality of life; reduce your daytime productivity; increase your risk of accidents; and even result in a shorter lifespan.

SLUCare has a team of sleep medicine doctors from different specialties to evaluate your symptoms and offer the right treatment for your needs.  SLUCare pulmonlogist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Joseph Espiritu says, "they will have wires on their scalp to monitor their brain waves. Airflow monitors to see if they are stopping breathing. EKG for their heart rhythm."

There are inpatient and at-home sleep study options available. The inpatient sleep studies are often reserved for the more acute cases.  A sleep study offers valuable insight about a patient's overall sleep health.  Dr. Espiritu and his team of specialists then use that data to treat the sleep disorder which may be rooted in physical as well as psychological issues.

There are various sleep study methods such as polysomnograms, home sleep apnea tests, multiple sleep latency tests, and maintenance of wakefulness tests.

During a sleep study at the SLUCare Sleep Disorders Center, patients stay in a room optimized for comfort with a Sleep Number Bed, digital cable and individually controlled air conditioning. Patients are hooked up and wearing face masks, and as they sleep, SLUCare’s certified sleep technicians monitor eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, breathing, airflow, blood oxygen levels and any unusual nighttime behaviors. They can then diagnose the cause and severity of each patient’s sleep problems.

For patients with sleep apnea, a CPAP machine can be an effective form of treatment, helping patients breathe easier during sleep.

To learn more about the SLUCare Sleep Disorders Center, click here.


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