According to the National Institute of Health, sleep apnea affects more than twelve million Americans. SOMC’s Sleep Diagnostic Center offers a CPAP education clinic to provide sleep apnea patients with the ability to manage their disease process and to increase CPAP therapy compliance.
“Insurance guidelines are beginning to require documentation of compliance for patients to continue CPAP therapy,” Michelle Lyons, supervisor of Sleep Disorders at SOMC, said. “Our goal is to help patients better understand CPAP therapy so they will feel more comfortable and will be more likely to utilize the treatment.”
Donita Hackworth was diagnosed with sleep apnea a year ago and she struggled at first with the CPAP machine and couldn’t find a mask that would work for her.
“I found out about the CPAP clinic through a co-worker and I asked my doctor to order the clinic for me. Michelle was great and she worked patiently with me.” Hackworth said. “I tried several different CPAP masks at a time and it took a few months but I finally found one that worked for me. Before I was diagnosed, I had to save all of my energy just to go to work and now I’ve picked up long distance running like I used to do and I have enough energy to train for a marathon!”
Lyons added, “We tailor the CPAP clinic to meet the individual needs of our patients and we meet one-on-one to find the equipment that works best for them.”
There are several long-term health consequences of untreated sleep apnea such as high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, memory problems, headaches, weight gain and in some cases, diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea can result in sleepiness during the day that may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle accidents.
The educational clinic is open to any patient currently on treatment with mask fitting or toleration issues as well as newly diagnosed and those who have just begun treatment for sleep apnea. A physician order is required and SOMC offers an array of sleep studies. For more information, please contact the SOMC Sleep Diagnostic Center at 740-356-8822.