Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sleep Apnea Personal Quest for Dr. Shapira

Dr. Shapira became interested in sleep apnea treatment because his 3-year-old son, Billy, had severe snoring and suffered from night sweats. When he mentioned his concerns to his son's pediatricians, the concerns were brushed off. When his son was held back from starting kindergarten at age five, Dr. Shapira took matters into his own hands. He took Billy to Rush Medical School's sleep center, where it was determined that the boy had severe sleep apnea. Billy's apnea was treated, and he became a straight "A" student and graduated college with a double major Magna Cum Laude. This experience instilled in him a lifetime interest in sleep disorders. He became a Visiting Assistant Professor at Rush in the sleep service in the 1980's and returned as an Assistant Professor in the 1990's until early this century where he treated sleep apnea and snoring with oral appliances.

Partly as a result of Dr. Shapira's long campaign, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine now recognizes oral appliances as a first-line treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea and an alternative treatment for severe apnea in patients who do not tolerate CPAP, and in winter 2008, The National Sleep Foundation declared oral appliances "A Therapy Whose Time Has Come."

To learn more about oral appliance therapy, and its ability to correct the major detriment of sleep apnea, please contact the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center today for a free consultation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) is, like the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index a questionnaire designed to measure daytime sleepiness. It is used both to indicate whether a person should undergo more conclusive sleep apnea diagnosis and to determine the success of sleep apnea treatment.

The ESS asks patients to rate their likelihood of falling asleep during certain activities, including sitting and reading, watching TV, at a meeting or in a movie theater, while driving, and others. The questionnaire makes sure patients know not to consider just feeling tired, but actually falling asleep. Patients rate each activity from 0 (no chance of falling asleep) to 3 (high chance of falling asleep).

The ESS was designed by doctors at the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia in 1991. The initial study used the ESS on a group of 180 patients, including 30 normal men and women, and 150 men and women with many different sleep disorders. The ESS was able to distinguish the controls from the rest of the group with a high degree of accuracy, and even distinguished persons with sleep apnea from those who merely snored.

Although the ESS is not a sufficient diagnostic tool, it can be used as a first-screening tool for determining whether you may have sleep apnea.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, please contact the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center for a free sleep apnea consultation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index

The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) is a questionnaire designed to determine the quality of sleep experienced by a person. The PSQI seeks to measure the sleep quality of a patient over the course of the last month. Originally designed by professors at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine to measure the sleep quality among psychiatric patients, since its introduction in 1989, the PSQI has been applied in many different contexts to many different populations, with a high degree of success.

In its initial test over an 18-month period, the test showed almost a 90 % sensitivity and specificity in distinguishing between good and bad sleepers. Month-to-month repeatability of results was high. Later clinical trials have also established that the test also had a high level of stability over two years.

The PSQI questionnaire includes questions directed at many different parameters over one month. First, it asks about the time a person goes to sleep, how long it takes to fall asleep, time of waking, and the amount of actual sleep per night. It asks questions about disruptions to sleep, including difficulty falling asleep, night waking, breathing difficulties, and bad dreams. The questionnaire also asks the respondent to get information from any cosleeper(s) about nighttime behaviors such as snoring and restless leg syndrome.

Although the PSQI cannot diagnose sleep apnea, it can be a useful tool for helping clarify a suspicion of the condition. It also can be very useful as a source document for starting your sleep diary, since it identifies many key parameters related to the quality of your sleep.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, please contact the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center, serving patients in the Chicago area, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, for a free sleep apnea consultation.