Dr. Rob Garver and the staff at SEC Lung have experience and expertise to evaluate sleep disorders. The most common problems we evaluate include:
- Excessive daytime fatigue and/or sleepiness
- Loud Snoring
- Sleep apnea
For the typical sleep evaluation, Dr. Garver will take a comprehensive sleep history including a standardized questionnaire for daytime sleepiness, and perform a comprehensive physical exam. Based on this evaluation, he will decide if there is a problem that requires a “sleep study” which requires sleeping one night in a “sleep lab” – which is basically a room set up like a bedroom with a lot of monitoring equipment. The sleep study provides a continuous record of breathing patterns, sleep stage, muscle activity, heart rate and rhythm, oxygen level among other measurements. This information is reviewed by Dr. Garver to establish the presence or absence of a sleep disorder, and whether any additional testing is necessary.
The most common sleep problem identified is obstructive sleep apnea caused by abnormal closure of the upper airway during sleep. This airway closure causes a drop in oxygen level that is detected by the brain, causing a brief awakening from sleep so that the airway opens and oxygen levels return to normal. Once the sleep apnea patients falls back asleep, this cycle is repeated – sometimes 100 times or more an hour. The repeated awakenings cause a very poor quality of sleep that leaves the sleep apnea patient chronically tired and sleepy during the day. Untreated sleep apnea leads to poor work performance, and is strongly associated with depression, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Sleep apnea is most commonly treated with CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) which uses a mask over the nose, or nose and mouth, to deliver an air pressure that prevents the airway from collapsing. Although it seems difficult to believe that one can sleep well with a mask blowing air into your mouth, the vast majority of sleep apnea patients love their CPAP and will not even try to sleep without it. Dr. Garver finds his sleep apnea patients to be among the most grateful, since their quality of life is greatly improved by CPAP therapy.
For more information, go to Sleep Apnea.