Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you often tired throughout the day and unable to get a full night’s rest? Well, you may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, and with the technology and telehealth services offered at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital’s Sleep Center, it’s now easier than ever to get tested and find solutions for a good night’s sleep.
Loretta Colvin, sleep nurse practitioner at St. Mary’s Hospital Sleep Center says the biggest change in sleep technology is that testing is moving to home-tests with home-sleep apnea testing that gets mailed to the patient at home. “It offers more options who may not be able to leave their home, or they are not comfortable in a sleep center environment.” The home-tests are also cost effective so it is appealing to both the patient and insurance coverage plans.
“Our main sleep disorders that are most common are insomnia and sleep apnea. And then others are narcolepsy and some other rare disorders like restless leg syndrome.” For these, assessment in the clinic setting. Sleep-apnea requires testing during sleep to prove the patient can be diagnosed.
Symptoms of sleep apnea is typically detected because of snoring. But we look for other clues like waking up often at night. Heart failure, stroke and atrial fibrillation are common causes for sleep-apnea. Losing weight can help eliminate sleep apnea. The pap-machine uses pressurized air therapy to open the blockage that occurs when the patient is sleeping. Patients do need to get used to the machine which can require some support, but often times, can benefit their other conditions as well.
“The newest machines have many more features to help them be comfortable, be quieter, the mask and the other equipment is better plastic and better technologies to be better for patients. We’ve really come a long way to deliver air therapy to be more comfortable to patients. The machines have modems to send information to the Cloud that a patient can track on their smartphone and then I can see remotely from my office. So if a patient calls my office or sends me a message through the electronic chart, I can see how their last night’s sleep went and give them recommendations to help them”
Telehealth services are also used to conduct video office visits with her patients, as well as the home sleep apnea test they offer to patients who would rather not do a sleep study overnight at the Sleep Center.
To learn more about SSM Health St. Mary’s Sleep Center options, click here.