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Are sleep clinics legit/helpful, or a scam?

missypiemissypie Posts: 16,795Registered User Senior Member
edited March 2010 in Parent Cafe
Husband snores terribly, I can't take it much longer. I see those commercials on TV for sleep clinics, but I don't trust any provider of quasi-medical services that advertises on TV. Any thoughts?
Post edited by missypie on
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Replies to: Are sleep clinics legit/helpful, or a scam?

  • dadx3dadx3 Posts: 1,497Registered User Senior Member
    Sleep apnea is a real problem that can have serious consequences. My Dad has it, as do a couple of my friends. It is often (usually?) diagnosed in sleep clinic setting. I would talk to your primary care physician to get a referral to a sleep clinic.
  • silverladysilverlady Posts: 326Registered User Member
    I had to go for 2 sleep studies. The first showed that I stopped breathing during sleep, and the second they found out what the ideal setting on the CPAP machine for me. I have only had the machine for about a week. My husband says that I no longer snore, and I don't thrash around like I did before. I know that I will acclimate myself totally to the machine. I have to rent it for several months before I own it. It doesn't seem to bother my husband at all. He is sleeping better with me sleeping better.
  • IllinoisMom2006IllinoisMom2006 Posts: 879Registered User Member
    Up until 4 weeks ago, my husband snored like a freight train. I finally convinced him to talk to his primary doc about it. The doc referred him to a sleep clinic inside a local hospital. Led to a diagnosis of mild sleep apnea. Instead of going on a CPAP machine, he was fitted for a dental appliance that has almost completely stopped the snoring. And the infrequent snoring that I still hear is more like heavy breathing. His particular brand is called a SUAD device.

    Back to the OP, I would hesitate to go to a sleep clinic that advertised on tv unless my doc referred me there. Also, depending on your insurance, it may not be covered without the referral.
  • edadedad Posts: 2,584Registered User Senior Member
    I wonder if anyone who has had a sleep test is found to be normal and does not need a CPAP or other therapy.
  • bulletandpimabulletandpima Posts: 9,826Registered User Senior Member
    I am with IllinoisMom. do not go to any that are advertised on tv. My brother just went to one, but it was on a docs referral. That is how you want to do it.

    Get your DH to go to a doc, and then move on from there.
  • mimk6mimk6 Posts: 4,109Registered User Senior Member
    I would not go to one from a commercial. I'd recommend you get your primary doctor to refer him to an ENT doctor who will then, if he/she feels it necessary refer him to a legit sleep clinic. There he will be hooked up to machines that can measure his breathing - and how many times he actually stops breathing, etc. That will help for diagnostic purposes and for assessing what kind of CPAP he might need. DH has been a couple of times. I would imagine most people who go to a sleep clinic do get a DX, because the doctor already has a pretty good idea of what's going on. I think the first time my husband went to a doctor, he took a tape I'd made of him snoring. And, it may be that some insurance companies want the sleep study before they pay for the CPAP, etc.
  • jessiehljessiehl Posts: 3,328Registered User Senior Member
    Legit sleep clinics are real medical places where they do real diagnosis of sleep disorders (and they do studies, and such). I'd get a referral to a clinic from a doctor, not just go to one that's advertised in a commercial.

    I've had four sleep tests done over the course of three different studies. I have some experience with them.

    Sleep tests are pretty expensive - you want your insurance paying for at least *most* of your sleep test.
    I wonder if anyone who has had a sleep test is found to be normal and does not need a CPAP or other therapy.

    I'm sure there's some, but usually people are referred for sleep tests because they have sleep problems that are interfering with their lives and the doctors haven't been able to find other explanations. People who are fine and dandy (or who might be sleepy, but the cause is obvious, like "they're only in bed for four hours/night") don't normally get referred. So you're talking about a sample that's going to have a large number of people with disorders.
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 16,795Registered User Senior Member
    LOL, I have a sleep problem that is interfering with my life - H's snoring!
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,439Registered User Senior Member
    A friend used to work at a sleep clinic ( after she was trained as a respiratory therapist), and liked it, but changed jobs because she wanted to deal with patients when they were conscious.
    But it is very legitimate treatment.
  • my-3-sonsmy-3-sons Posts: 2,323Registered User Senior Member
    ^^^^Exactly! After H's sleep study diagnosed a severe sleep apnea, he began using a CPAP and the quality of BOTH our lives improved dramatically. Encourage your H to see his doc and get a referral to a sleep clinic.
  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 Posts: 7,950Registered User Senior Member
    LOL, I have a sleep problem that is interfering with my life - H's snoring!



    ^^^^^Ditto. We have a big house with a couple of empty bedrooms, so I can get some sleep if DH is on a snoring jag. But last year when we went on vacation, he had several days of relentless, horrible snoring. I almost went nuts as there was no escape. I actually considered going home early because I got so sleep deprived and angry at him. I know it was not intentional, but it can really challenge your affection for that person at the time, lol. Next time we travel, I need to find a really good pair of earplugs or a state of the art pair of headphones.
  • musicmommusicmom Posts: 2,248Registered User Senior Member
    My husband snored loudly for years. About 3 years ago, I noticed that he would COMPLETELY stop snoring for about 30 seconds right in the middle of a long snoring episode.
    Read: Me trying to get to sleep next to loudly snoring DH.

    At first, I was relieved for a few second of peace. THEN I realized that he had stopped breathing! This would be followed by louder snorting, gasping, etc when his breathing finally kicked back in.

    Next am, I insisted be see Doc. Referred to pulmonologist who runs a sleep clinic attached to our hospital. Overnight study, CPAP, viola!
    DH loves his CPAP. He did not realize how his sleepless nights were affected his days.
    Lack of concentration, falling asleep in a chair at a moments notice, even pale listless skin.

    HIGHLY recommend a sleep clinic.
  • worknprogressworknprogress Posts: 1,536Registered User Senior Member
    Good point, Jessie!

    Most people are encouraged by a family member to talk to their doctor - who then refer the patient to the clinic. By the time they see the family doc, usually the family member knows full well that the person has a serious problem.

    Went away with my mom about a year ago. I could not believe how she snored, with the stops and starts, etc. I finally took my pillow into the bathroom and slept on the floor with my ears covered. My heartfelt sympathies to you. I have told my husband if I ever follow her pattern - tell me and I will march myself into the doc's asap.

    I asked my dad about my mom and he said that was why he slept in a different bedroom - but he didn't want to make her feel bad!

    Missy - for your own sanity, insist he get checked out!
  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions Posts: 13,328Super Moderator Senior Member
    As I have learned through several family members who are helped by CPAP machinery following sleep study diagnosis:

    Snoring may indicate sleep apnea, but not necessarily. And someone can have this medical problem with no evident snoring.

    This is more to the point:
    At first, I was relieved for a few second of peace. THEN I realized that he had stopped breathing! This would be followed by louder snorting, gasping, etc when his breathing finally kicked back in.
    and usually it's the partner that's the best witness to the problem. Sleep technicians told my relatives that when a spouse has observed something like the above, there's about 80-90% correlation; the overnight sleep lab study will demonstrate there's a medical problem.

    Some sleep is obstructed mechanically, e.g. tongue falling back into throat or too small air passage/ large (if uninfected) tonsils taking up too much space, and other things like that. = "obstructive sleep apnea"

    There's also a stopping of breathing initiated from the central nervous system/brain that gets a signal, I think based on CO-2 levels or something, that it needs to do this to not die. So following a sleep interruption (which the sleeper can't even perceive), there's a grab for air, causing one to stop breathing then grab for air, many times in a night. (the definition of "many times" is something the dr's have ranges for; I dont' know how many is too many, but the number defines whether the condition is "mild, moderate, severe" or other adjectives.

    Or there's a combination of mechanical and brain malfunctioning together, called "Complex Sleep Apnea."

    Either way, the stopping of breathing at the level of 7-10 seconds, if observed (might also be seen by how the chest area heaves), is a warning bell.

    All these disturbances rob people of their REM sleep episodes (Rapid Eye Movement, a good thing..) which is the most restorative form of sleep. They THINK they've been sleeping for hours, and they have (as far as they know) but there was no restoration of the body in that deeply relaxing mode. So they wake up tired! And scrape or crank through the day, also sometimes getting into difficulty due to inattention, exhaustion, crankiness...Falling asleep while driving is one of the most serious consequences of all this (to self and others) when it's undiagnosed.

    The CPAP or BiPAP machines (there are various kinds) work by pumping a steady, dependable stream of air (sometimes humidified lightly if that's called for) into the person so they don't experience any or as many sleep interruptions per night. Keeping steady airstream is like having a wind keeping a windsock open; without steady airstream, a windsock (analogous to throat tissues) collapses, and the body reacts automatically to reopen it to breathe, but all at the expense of a restful night.

    That's all I know from listening to people in my family. I'm no doctor, but they say these diagnoses can be very important to restoring quality of life, and in some cases fending off diseases that come from compromised, worn out bodies trying to scrape through without sleep (even when the clock says they DID sleep enough).

    Older machines are noisier than some of the new ones. There are also people who get these and don't use them because it takes patience to adjust or re-fit things until it's comfortable. The new machines are released now with a monitor that the technicians check to make sure it's being USED at home, which fits into people not getting expensive machines from their insurance and using them as doorstops.

    Wow, it is possible to learn a lot by listening to others. Again, I'm sharing what I've heard as a layperson and apologize in advance to any M.D.'s or DDS's who see where I've stated it clumsily or with an error.
    ^
    HIGHLY recommend a sleep clinic.
    Missypie,yes. Those studies might tell you whether the snoring by Spousal Unit is indicating apnea/hypopnea --which might end up with CPAP machine or dental piece recommended; or is just plain old noisy snoring -- which gets you to the pharmacy for earplugs.

    Obviously, check with care how much your insurance covers the sleep clinic diagnosis and the machines (or dentistry). The dental appliance is made to fit so it juts the jaw out at night enough to open the air passages enough to help. A relative was told the dental custom-fitted night-piece has success rates around 50-60%; CPAP when fitted properly higher at 90%. The dental piece is less plastic to deal with.
    The CPAP machines go through airport security not counted as baggage (by piece or weight) because they are medical equipment. They get wanded for security, of course. Looks like a second fat briefcase.

    The CPAP machine, depending on the mask, is wonderful for the spouse who gets to imagine sleeping with ET or Darth Vador or a snorkeling champion. And, if it all is a good fit -- everyone feels better the next day.
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