Local 22 Firefighters/Paramedics

215 440-4421 / 22

415 N 5th St. Philadelphia., PA 19123.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Do you snore at night?  Are you sleepy during the day?  Have you been told that you stop breathing in your sleep?

Then you may have obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where the upper airway repeatedly closes off during sleep.

It is estimated that up to 52 million people in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea, with the majority remaining undiagnosed.  Symptoms include loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, getting up to urinate during the night, and nighttime sweating. Often the bed partner will note periods where the patient stops breathing in their sleep.

Sleep apnea places an individual at risk for accidents associated with sleep deprivation, and had been linked to significant cardiovascular disease.  This includes hypertension, stroke, coronary artery disease and heart failure.

Diagnosis

  • To diagnose obstructive sleep apnea a patient needs to undergo a sleep study which monitors breathing, snoring, heart rate and oxygen level during the night.
  • These studies are primarily completed at home in what’s called a home sleep test where the patients wears a small monitoring device in the comfort of their own bed.
  • It is simply taken home during the normal sleep cycle and then returned the next day for analysis.

Treatment

  • Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is individualized, with the most common treatment being continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
  • A CPAP device consists of a small mask that is worn over the nose or nose and mouth and it blows air into the airway to act like an air splint to keep the airway open at night. Snoring is eliminated as well as the abnormal breathing events. 
  • Approximately 25% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea are purely positional, where the abnormal breathing events occur predominantly when they are sleeping on their back. In these cases, a positional device to keep the patient from sleeping on their back is very effective in treating her obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Other treatment options include the use of an oral appliance, weight reduction or surgical intervention – including those that increases size of the upper airway or the use of a stimulator that when turned on at night will stimulate the tongue muscle to keep the airway open.

Program

  • Temple Health is excited to introduce our obstructive sleep apnea program for the Firefighters Health Benefits plan in conjunction with the Temple University Sleep Disorder Center located at the Jeanes Hospital campus.
  • Members with symptoms suggestive of obstructive sleep apnea can undergo a simple home sleep test for diagnosis and the appropriate treatment can then be initiated, including CPAP therapy or positional therapy.
  • Follow-up with a board-certified Sleep Specialist at Jeanes Hospital will be scheduled after treatment is initiated.

With the proper diagnosis and treatment, improved daytime function and sleep quality can be obtained along with the removal of the cardiovascular risks associated with untreated obstructive sleep apnea.  In addition, it will also make your spouse happy!  For more information please call (215) 728-2148 to schedule your test today.

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