For over two decades every night 63 year-old Darrell Holmquist’s sleep was always interrupted.
His road to a restful sleep was discovered in an unusual way because Darrell wasn’t overweight, didn’t smoke or over indulge in alcohol, which are many of the common causes to sleepless nights. His optometrist recommended Darrell to see his primary care physician after learning of his sleepless nights and then discovering the blood vessels behind his eyes were in poor condition.
“I have glaucoma and I recently learned that research has shown a link with people who have glaucoma and those who sleep poorly,” said Holmquist, who retired after 33 years of teaching history at Joliet Central and Lincoln-Way East and Central High Schools. “So I definitely wanted to reduce the chances of my glaucoma worsening, so I immediately made an appointment with my doctor.” It was then determined Darrell had bad circulation in the back of his eyes which qualified him for a sleep study. At this point, his doctor referred him to have his sleep study at the SilverCross Sleep Disorders Center located in Pavilion A at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. Here, it was determined that he indeed had mild sleep apnea.
A sponsored article by Silver Cross Hospital.
“Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep,” says Dr. Phillip Leung, board certified pulmonologist and medical director of the Silver Cross Sleep Disorders Center. “These breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour.” During Darrell’s sleep study, he had 18 breathing pauses every hour.
Sleep apnea usually is a chronic condition that disrupts sleep making you tired during the day. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes; make arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, more likely; and increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents.
While at the Silver Cross Sleep Disorders Center, Darrell spent the night in a private home-like room where he had his own bathroom, calming décor, and comfortable bed to help put him at ease. He spent the next 8 hours undergoing a polysomnographic test and a sleep study that provided a detailed picture of his entire sleep cycle. The study allowed technicians to analyze Darrell’s exact sleep pattern, from the onset of sleep through the 4 normal levels of sleep, to breathing, oxygen levels, heartbeat, movement and snoring activity. The next morning it was determined that he had mild sleep apnea and required a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help control his breathing while he sleeps.
“My experience at the Silver Cross Sleep Disorders Center was terrific,” said Holmquist who resides in New Lenox. “The technician Terri, did everything with such thoughtful care to make me comfortable so my test results were reliable and valid. And the facility is gorgeous. It felt like a fancy hotel.”
Advice to Other Patients
“I would definitely recommend other people who aren’t sleeping well to get a sleep study because it will change their lives,” said Holmquist. “I no longer need to take afternoon naps because of the high quality of my night’s sleep. I am awake after sleeping, and can continue my hobbies of riding my bike 7 miles a day!”
Holmquist also encourages new CPAP machine users to be patient when getting used to sleeping with the mask and machine. “The key to successfully using the CPAP machine is to give yourself time to adjust to sleeping with the equipment and find the right mask that allows you to sleep comfortable in any position,” stated Holmquist.
In addition to diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, the Center specializes in sleep related breathing disorders, insomnia, sleep related movement disorders, and narcolepsy. “We are committed to helping our patients receive the correct treatment that will enable them to rest properly, so they can have a better quality of life,” says Dr. Leung.
If you or someone you love is experiencing a sleep problem, we invite you to contact the Silver Cross Sleep Disorders Center for an initial consultation. For more information, call 1-815-300-REST (7378) or visit www.silvercross.org/sleepdisordercenter.