Sleep apnea is a serious disorder characterized by the cessation of breathing during sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), by far the most common in adults, is associated with a collapse of the upper airway causing it to close when one exhales. The occurrence of five or more apneas per hour of sleep, with subsequent lowered blood oxygen levels and daytime sleepiness define OSA. Over the past 5-10 years, our understanding of sleep disorders has grown tremendously. We now know that OSA is relatively common and its health consequences potentially serious. OSA for example, may cause or contribute to mortality from a number of common medical conditions such as hypertension, congestive heart failure, stroke, and heart attacks.
This does not include the more obvious results of abnormal sleepiness such as mood disorders, impaired job performance and motor vehicle and job-related accidents. At one time, disgnosis of sleep disorders required fully monitored 15-channel polysomnography (PSG) in a tertiary care sleep center or laboratory. While diagnosis of complex or confusing sleep disorders may still require a full sleep lab evaluation, we know it is often possible to make a diagnosis of OSA using a four-channel sleep study.
our-channel monitored sleep studies allowing patients to remain close to home. Patients will be admitted to comfortable observation beds in a warm home-like setting allowing for a pleasant overnight study. As they sleep, patients will be monitored by respiratory therapists from the hospital's Cardiopulmonary Department who have received special training in sleep studies. After the patient leaves the hospital the following morning, their sleep study results will be reviewed by the technicians and forwarded to the patient's personal physician.
The cause of and permanent cure for sleep apnea remains unknown. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is by far the treatment modality most used today.
If You Think You Have a Sleep Disorder
If you think you may have a sleep disorder, please talk to your doctor. A physician referral is required for a sleep study. For more information about the Baystate Regional Sleep Program, call 413-794-5600.