Good Sleep is a Vital Part of Good Health
About 4% of men and 2% of women suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, but as many as a third of us don’t get enough quality sleep. Poor sleep plays a key role in overall health, and contributes to a wide range of diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and liver disease. It can also severely impact quality of life, contributing to depression, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and poor concentration.
As part of the overall testing process provided by the Texas Center for Preventive Cardiology, we measure sleep patterns in some patients to better understand if poor sleep is impacting their health. Once we understand how sleep fits into a patient’s overall health profile, we can find ways to address these issues and implement routines that make sleep easier and more beneficial.
Innovative In-Home Testing
In the past, sleep testing had to be performed in a dedicated sleep center. For those with sleep disorders, this environment may make falling asleep more difficult and paint an inaccurate picture of a patient’s actual sleep patterns. At the Texas Center for Preventive Cardiology, we test sleep patterns with an FDA-approved device worn on the wrist. This allows patients to undergo sleep testing at home and provides us with additional data that can better predict the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The WatchPAT™ consists of a small chamber that slips around the index finger connected to a device worn around the wrist, much like a digital watch. The watch runs for ten hours, and the patient drops it off at our office the next day. The results are instantaneous. During those ten hours, we learn:
- the actual time the patient sleeps; not just the time spent in bed
- blood oxygen levels
- heart rate
- body position
- the intensity (loudness) of any snoring
- the length of the various stages of sleep, including REM sleep
- the number and length of any sleep interruptions
Armed with this information, we may be able to make recommendations that will improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep. It’s part of the overall purpose of preventive care: to integrate the practice of medicine and the practice of life.