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Published on May 13, 2019

woman falling asleep in front of laptop

Don't snooze on sleep disorders

There may be more to your exhaustion or lack of focus during the day than a shortage of sleep.

STOP BANG sleep disorder questionnaire

  • Snoring, especially loud, disruptive snoring
  • Tired (fatigue) during the day
  • Observed choking, gasping or lack of breathing
  • Pressure (high blood pressure)
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) above 35kg/m
  • Age (older than 50)
  • Neck size (17+ inches for men; 16+ inches for women)
  • Gender (male)

Scoring:

  • 1–2 points: Low risk of sleep apnea
  • 3–4 points: Moderate risk of sleep apnea
  • 5–8 points: High risk of sleep apnea

"Most patients come to us if they snore or if they are tired for an extended period of time," says Cherie Nigl, PA-C, Gundersen Health System Sleep Center, who sees patients once a month at Gundersen Boscobel. "There are simple screening tools, including a questionnaire your primary care provider can use (see sidebar), to help identify your likelihood of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders."

If you need a more in-depth sleep study, you have options close to home. "Patients love that we have this service in Boscobel," says Fennimore native Cally Kite, respiratory therapist, Gundersen Boscobel. "Patients have told me they had no idea the positive impact restful sleep would have on their day-to-day activities. It's wonderful to impact patients' lives in this way."

At-home sleep studies

After you return an easy-to-use at-home sleep study device, Gundersen sleep specialists review data to learn more about your breathing and heart rate. You can benefit from an at-home sleep study if you have suspected obstructive sleep apnea and no other significant medical conditions.

In-lab sleep studies

Gundersen Boscobel has two dedicated rooms for sleep studies, just minutes from home, if you have more severe sleep-related symptoms and multiple medical concerns. "We conduct in-lab sleep studies every Tuesday night in Boscobel," Cherie says. "Using electrodes placed on a patient's head and lower leg before they sleep, we can measure brain activity, sleep stages and leg movement. Heart rate and rhythm and oxygen flow are also monitored."

"For some people, the change can be profound," Cherie adds. "By treating sleep disorders, we are taking stress off the cardiac system, along with giving patients a more restful night's sleep."

Is a sleep study for you? Talk to your primary care provider to learn your options. You can also visit gundersenhealth.org/sleep for more information.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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