Dr. Sarat Kuchipudi has served as a sleep doctor at Lima Memorial Sleep Center for the past 20 years. He knows what it is like to not be able to sleep because he was diagnosed with sleep apnea five years ago.
“I was tired, snoring and had trouble sleeping. Being a sleep doctor I denied that I had a sleep disorder and attributed it to working hard,” Kuchipudi said. He underwent a sleep study at Lima Memorial where it was determined that he had sleep apnea. He stopped breathing 23 to 25 times an hour. He was put on a CPAP machine, and once he used it, he got a better night’s sleep.
“There is no certain cause for a sleep disorder, but most of the time a patient is gaining weight, has a large septum or deviated tongue,” Kuchipudi said.
Kuchipudi is one of 90 million people in the United States who have sleep apnea. Many more suffer from other sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome. The good news is the disorders are treatable and there are plenty of places in the Lima region to seek treatment.
Lima Memorial Sleep Center and St. Rita’s Sleep Lab have rooms set up with beds where patients who are part of a sleep study are tested. They are hooked up to electrodes and a video camera allows sleep technicians to watch the patient’s movements when they sleep. A machine is used to keep a record of the patient’s heartbeat and breathing rates and oxygen levels.
“We learn how long it takes the patient to go to sleep, how deep they are sleeping and if they have any significant fragmented sleep and how loud the patient is snoring,” said Jennifer Jacobs, a physician assistant the past 15 years at Mercy Health St. Rita’s Center for Pulmonary Medicine.
Treatment begins with a consultation.
“Patients are then sent to the sleep lab for an overnight study. The information is used to help treat the patient,” Jacobs said.
The results usually take approximately a week to come in. The options are then discussed with the patient. If they have sleep apnea, the majority of the patients treated with a CPAP machine. They are fitted with a mask and it is determined what oxygen pressures are needed to treat the sleep disorder.
Many of the patients who have a sleep disorder are self-referred or referred by their primary care physician. They often have a spouse who has convinced them they have a sleeping problem.
To make the patient more comfortable, Van Wert Health Sleep Center at Van Wert Hospital offers a sleep study that can be done in their home environment,” said its manager, George Wolf.
Lack of sleep
It is important for children and adults to get adequate sleep for their overall health. Those who don’t get adequate sleep face a lack of concentration or energy. It can contribute to accidents and other medical problems such as heart disease and hypertension.
Kuchipudi said a newborn should sleep almost 20 hours a day. An adult is recommended to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. It is important for young children to get adequate sleep at night because that is when the growth hormone is produced.
“Our brain works 24-7 and shifts between day and night work. The hormones the body producers during the day and night are different,” Kuchipudi said.
Jacobs said school-age children that don’t get enough sleep can experience behavioral issues along with the inability to concentrate.
She advised a bedroom should be cool, quite, dark and free of electronics to get a good night’s rest.
“Televisions and cell phones emit blue light that is a stimulant to keep you awake,” added Stacy Friesner of Mercy Health St. Rita’s.
Wolf advised people to avoid electronics two hours prior to bedtime because the light interferes with the circadian rhythm. He said there are programs that sleep patients can download on their phone for sleep meditation.
Simple things also can be done to improve sleep habits.
Friesner said it is important for people to develop a routine for going to bed and getting up at the same time each night and day.
“Having that routine helps with the sleep process,” Friesner said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.