LEXINGTON, NC--(March 19,2012) Sleep apnea is as common as adult diabetes and affects more than 18 million people, but 90% of the people who have sleep apnea don't know it. Usually, it is the bed partner who first notices that the person is struggling to breathe during sleep.
But make no mistake, sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that is characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea repeatedly stop breathing-something that can occur hundreds of times during the course of a night. This means the brain--along with the rest of the body- may not get the oxygen it needs.
Untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, memory problems, weight gain, impotency and headaches. It can be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle accidents. "It's a progressive sleep disorder that can be life threatening," said Tom Bainbridge, Respiratory Care Director who oversees LMC's sleep lab.
The good news is that treatment for sleep apnea is usually successful, but a sleep study is necessary in order to make a diagnosis.
The sleep lab at Wake Forest Baptist Health-Lexington Medical Center offers the latest diagnostics used to identify a wide range of sleep disorders in a convenient, comfortable setting. Patients check-in during the evening and spend the night in a hotel-type room in a quiet part of the hospital. Special electrodes are attached to the patient which provide continuous monitoring of sleep patterns and disruptions throughout the night. A specially trained sleep lab technologist closely monitors the patient throughout the study with sleep patterns analyzed by board certified sleep specialists.
"Sleep disorders are not limited to adults," Bainbridge said. "Infants and children can also suffer from serious sleep disorders including insomnia, narcolepsy, seasonal affective disorder and common problems such as sleepwalking, nightmares, restless leg syndrome, nocturnal seizures and sleep apnea." Lexington Medical Center is the only provider of pediatric sleep studies in Davidson County made possible through a collaborative effort between the main campus in Winston-Salem.
"Parents of pediatric patients ranging in age from newborns to age 10 can choose to have sleep studies performed here," he said. Pediatric sleep studies are performed under the auspices of Wake Forest Baptist Health's board certified sleep medicine physicians with subspecialties in pediatrics.
Whether you're young, old or in-between and suffer from a possible sleep disorder, Lexington Medical Center can help. For more information or to make an appointment, call 238-4414. "It could make all the difference in getting the well deserved rest you need," Bainbridge said.
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