Trouble sleeping? The Hamilton Healthcare System Sleep Center can help you get better rest.

Updated: Jul 6


By SARA VANDEN BERGE


Every night an estimated 40 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder, which prevents them from waking up feeling rested, but the specialists at the Hamilton Healthcare System Sleep Center can help by properly diagnosing and treating the condition that’s keeping them awake.


David Rodriguez is a respiratory therapist and director of the sleep center. He said five to 10 percent of the population has some form of sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep disorder.

“People should talk to their doctor and seek treatment when they toss and turn and wake up throughout the night, have trouble concentrating or feel lethargic throughout the day,” Rodriguez told Beneath the Surface News.


The sleep center is located next to Hamilton General Hospital inside a house that has been renovated into a two-bedroom facility that’s open six nights a week.

Patients arrive at the center about 6:30 p.m. and are monitored overnight in a private, quiet setting. They are woken up between 4 and 5 a.m. the next morning to head home.


Rodriguez said there are three types of sleep apnea: Obstructive, central and a combination of the two.


The most common is obstructive sleep apnea, meaning the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep. Central sleep apnea means that the brain forgets to tell the body to breath.

Left untreated, sleep apnea can be deadly.


In fact, Rodriguez said the disorder claimed the lives of actor John Candy, NFL player Reggie White and Grateful Dead band member Jerry Garcia.


“They died because their sleep apnea was not diagnosed,” Rodriguez said. “Only 10 percent of the population has been properly screened for sleep apnea and that’s huge.”


People with high blood pressure, heart failure, coronary artery disease, pulmonary hypertension and diabetes are at a greater risk for developing sleep apnea.

AT HOME TESTING


Patients who prefer to test at home can do so using a device provided by the sleep center.


“The results are not as in-depth as spending the night at the center, but the baseline sleep study will tell us if the patient has sleep apnea and needs further testing,” Rodriguez said.

Sleep apnea is often treated using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine that sits on a nightstand.


“The device has a tube and a mask that fits over the face and delivers pressure throughout the night that builds up as you fall asleep,” Rodriguez said. “It eliminates the pauses in breathing and allows you to sleep and feel rested the next day.”


For more information, call the sleep center at 254-386-1651.