Do you snore? Are you sleepy during the day?
The Bell Hospital Sleep Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and provides a full range of sleep diagnostics. Sleep studies have been performed at Bell since 1995 and the lab was recently upgraded with a state of the art digital system and expanded to two beds. The studies are performed by highly trained Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT).
Dr. Arthur F. Saari, a board certified Sleep Disorders specialist, directs the lab and reviews and interprets studies performed at Bell. When problems are identified, Dr. Saari consults with family physicians about treatment options. Dr. Saari also sees patients with sleep problems during his monthly clinics in the Medical Office Building adjacent to Bell Hospital.
For further information regarding the Bell Hospital Sleep Program contact Brenda Krause, Program Director, at :(906) 485-2662 or (800) 258-8594.
Your snoring may be more than just a nuisance. Loud snoring and daytime sleepiness are important symptoms of the serious medical disorder:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA, is a common disorder in which a person’s upper airway becomes blocked, or obstructed during sleep, resulting in a stoppage of breathing, or apnea. This is caused by soft structures in the back of the nose and throat such as tonsils, the uvula, the soft palate, and other loose or fatty tissue. When the airway is only partially obstructed, air moves by these structures causing them to vibrate and make a variety of sounds which we know as snoring. About 50% of American adults snore at least some of the time. Although it can disturb the sleep of others and cause considerable social embarrassment, snoring is not considered to be medically harmful. However, in about 4% of adults, snoring is a symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which can cause serious problems.
When the airway is blocked, no oxygen can pass into the body. In addition, the body can’t get rid of carbon dioxide, its main waste gas. Depriving vital organs, such as the heart and brain, of oxygen can cause problems such as abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure and problems with concentration.
Probably even more important, is the fact that the sleep pattern is seriously altered in OSA. Sleep is divided into a number of stages. Stages 1 and 2 are considered to be “light” sleep. In these stages, a person may still have some perception of his or her surroundings, even though they are sleeping. Stages 3 and 4 are generally known as “deep” sleep. The most unique stage of sleep is Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. Dreaming occurs during REM and it is also the stage of sleep which seems to “recharge your batteries”, allowing you to wake up refreshed and alert in the morning. About 20% of a normal night is REM sleep. Apnea usually occurs during the deeper sleep stages and is most common during REM. With repeated apnea, the sleep cycle is seriously altered, resulting in very little REM sleep. Persons deprived of REM sleep are almost always sleepy. They take frequent naps and can fall asleep in seconds, even during a conversation or while driving. They have little energy. They can become irritable and have difficulty concentrating or doing simple math.
Despite the number and severity of the symptoms, many people with OSA attribute their symptoms to “getting old” and being “out of shape”, not realizing that they have a disorder which is highly treatable, once the diagnosis is made. The first step in making the diagnosis is to see your doctor. If your symptoms point to OSA, he or she might recommend a sleep study. During this study, a number of physiologic functions are measured and recorded. The recording is then reviewed by a sleep specialist who makes the diagnosis.
Who is at Risk?
Any person who snores loudly and is sleepy during the day may be at risk for having OSA. Below is a list of questions. Generally, the more YES answers one gives to these questions, the greater the likelihood of OSA.
- Have you ever been told that you stop breathing while you sleep?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Do you have trouble sleeping when you have a cold?
- Have you ever awakened suddenly, feeling like you’re choking or gasping for breath?
- Are you overweight? / Have you gained weight in the past year?
- Do you sweat excessively during the night?
- Have you or your friends noticed any change in your personality?
- Do you have trouble concentrating or doing simple math?
- Do you get headaches or heartburn in the morning?
- Do you have difficulty staying awake while driving?
- Has your bed partner ever had to sleep in another room because of your snoring?
- Do you seem to be losing your sex drive? (men only)
901 Lakeshore Drive
Ishpeming, MI 49849