Experts successfully treat sleep disordersResidents of Grand Forks can rest easy at night, thanks to the small staff of the local Sleep Wellness Center at Winmar Diagnostics.
By: Will Powell, Grand Forks Herald
Residents of Grand Forks can rest easy at night, thanks to the small staff of the local Sleep Wellness Center at Winmar Diagnostics.
The Sleep Wellness Center of Grand Forks, currently located in the Stadler Center Complex, was established in 2009 and is an extension of the Fargo Sleep Wellness Center, which was established in 1994.
Travis Boespflug, a sleep technician at the Sleep Wellness Center, treats between 10 and 15 patients a month. The center’s typical patients are either being tested for obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy. OSA causes abnormal breathing throughout the night, which leads to brief but constant waking.
“It’s very gratifying to see all of the positive results from patients who can finally have a good night’s sleep and can finally function properly during the day,” Boespflug says. “It also comes into play that if they are married and have a spouse, they can not only provide a better night’s sleep for the patient, but also their spouse.”
The American Sleep Association estimates 12 million Americans suffer from OSA and many don’t know they have it. According to Boespflug, obesity and a large body size are the biggest risk factors for the condition.
“The biggest thing is neck size. That plays a large role in the obstruction of the airway,” Boespflug says.
Because daytime sleepiness and depression are indicative symptoms of sleep apnea, many of Boespflug’s referrals come from psychologists.
“The referral process comes from independent physicians, whether it’s a rural clinic, Sanford, local psychologists … it’s more the independent physicians that we kind of cater to,” Boespflug says.
“Typically, when we get a referral, it comes with an order that has been presented by the physician,” says Linda Lofgren, a clinician working in the Fargo Sleep Wellness Center. Treatment of sleep apnea can be in the form of different applications, but the more popular path is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.”
In CPAP, prescribed air pressure blown from a machine through a mask forces an obstructed airway to remain open during sleep, allowing the patient a night of undisturbed rest.
“We fit them with that, to best meet their needs,” Lofgren says.
The CPAP machine is also effective in treating patients suffering from parasomnia, the constant occurrence of unnatural dreams, and night terrors, the constant occurrence of violent nightmares.
“It’s almost like they just freeze up,” Boespflug says about night terror patients. “Some people will kind of have convulsions where they’ll just get really tensed up; sometimes their body will kind of just jump all around. There’s all different types, every case is different. Typically, we’ll leave that up to the sleep physicians as to how they want to treat it. A lot of times, people who have night terrors are also diagnosed with sleep apnea, so if they can get hooked up with a CPAP machine, that will solve the issue, too.”
But, parasomnia and night terrors are rare enough that Boespflug hasn’t treated a patient suffering from night terrors in a year.
CPAP therapy often requires long-term use, but enjoys a high rate of success in patients who use it as directed.
In June 2013, Grand Forks Sleep Wellness Center will move to a new location in the city.