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It probably should come as no surprise … with the growth in popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there is a sudden explosion of people offering everything from sleep disorders advice to “cures.”  And, as in anything else, caution is definitely needed.

This in no way is intended to mean that all people and organizations that post messages about sleep disorders on social media sites are trying to lead you astray.  Many very legitimate sources of information are out there, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Sleep Apnea Association, and providers of care, such as we, ourselves.

But there are definitely people trying to capitalize on the recent surge of awareness of sleep disorders, striving to play on false hope to promote or sell a product.  And they have agendas that don’t always place the welfare of patients or buyers at the top of the list.  Two of the most suspect types of posters are those who are trying to sell an “alternative” treatment product and those who trumpet “cures” for conditions such as sleep apnea.  There is even one company that masquerades as a sleep disorders “association,” when all it is trying to do is sell it’s product.  If their product is good, why do they feel the need to use a name that implies they are something that they truly are not?

When seeking advice or actual help for sleep disorders, the way to be sure you are “talking” online with a person or organization that is really trying to be of service to you is by checking the following:  1.  If they are a sleep disorders center, are they accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine?  2.  If they claim to be a treatment professional, find out if they are actually board-certified in sleep medicine.  If they cannot meet one of these criteria, they are at the very least not likely to have accurate, proven information.

It’s like everything else … take the time to be sure.  Your health and well-being will be better served if you do.

 

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Mark R. Stoiber, 47, President of the Sleep Wellness Institute in West Allis (Milwaukee), Wis.,  passed away unexpectedly on July 2, 2010.

Mark, along with his business partner and dear friend, Ron Baake, was co-owner of the Sleep Wellness Institute since its inception in 1994.  He had been involved in helping people with sleep disorders for more than 20 years.  He was the co-founder and initial driving force behind the non-profit Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research and Education Foundation.

Mark graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in allied health and earned his polysomnographic  technologist registration at the Stanford School of  Sleep Medicine.  He formerly served as the coordinator of the sleep disorders center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  He was a frequent public speaker and lecturer on sleep disorders topics and was the author of “How to Guarantee Your Experience with CPAP is a Happy One.”

Always alert to new opportunities to serve, Mark created the CPAP2GO retail stores that now operate in the Milwaukee area.  He recognized that many people get inferior customer service from DME providers, and correctly determined that by offering convenient locations and hours, excellent customer service, and a wide selection of products from which to choose the stores would be successful in reaching CPAP users.

Mark’s knowledge, creativity, wit and willingness to think outside the box made him great.  He will be sorely missed.

From the “Is this a Good Use of Research Money?” file:

Golfers who undergo treatment for sleep apnea may improve their golf game as well as their overall health, shows new research. A new study presented at CHEST 2009, the 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), found that golfers with OSA who received nasal positive airway pressure (NPAP) therapy for their disorder improved their daytime sleepiness scores and lowered their golf handicap by as much as three strokes. Researchers suggest that the possibility of improving your golf game may be a significant motivator to improve NPAP compliance rates among golfers.

“More so than many sports, golf has a strong intellectual component, with on-course strategizing, focus, and endurance being integral components to achieving good play,” said Marc L. Benton, MD, FCCP, Atlantic Sleep and Pulmonary Associates, Madison, NJ. “OSAS can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and cognitive impairment, all side effects that can negatively impact a person’s ability to golf to the best of their ability.”

Okay … these findings may encourage some golfers to be compliant with their therapy, and that’s good.  But this story has attracted major news media attention all over the country.  FAR more important for people to know is that treating sleep apnea saves lives, saves marriages, helps diabetics to better manage their disease, and prevents co-morbidities like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, asthma, depression and erectile dysfunction.  That is what people really need to know about getting treated for sleep apnea.

The Sleep Wellness Institute, Inc., will open its third CPAP2GO store  on Thursday, Oct. 1, in West Allis.  CPAP2GO specializes in continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, masks and supplies used to help many people with obstructive sleep apnea.  The CPAP2GO stores are the only retail CPAP stores in Wisconsin operated by a sleep disorders center.  The first store opened in Franklin last year, and a Waukesha location opened in April.

The newest store, at 2931 S. 108th Street, will be open Monday through Saturday, with evening hours Monday through Friday.  It will be staffed by specially trained employees and will feature the “30/30 Advantage” – an in-stock supply of more than 30 masks and a free 30-night comfort and fit guarantee.  Much of the equipment will be covered by most health insurance plans.

The store will be managed by Cody Glorioso, who is the director of the Sleep Wellness Institute’s durable medical equipment department.  The store’s telephone number will be 414-761-CPAP (2727). A website, www.cpap2go.net, provides more information for customers.

The Sleep Wellness Institute is Wisconsin’s largest independent sleep disorders laboratory.  It is fully accredited to diagnose and treat sleep disorders among adults and children by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Tips courtesy of CPAP2GO in West Allis, Waukesha and Franklin, Wis (Milwaukee area).

  1. Wash your CPAP mask daily (warm soapy water or Citrus II mask cleaner and wipes).
  2. Check your filter every other week — clean or replace if dirty.
  3. Do not over tighten your mask; it may cause leaks.
  4. If you are tightening your mask because of leaks or comfort, your seal may be broken or needs to be replaced.
  5. Replace your mask and accessories every 6 months.
  6. Follow up with your physician as instructed.
  7. Keep in contact with your CPAP provider to ensure your success.
  8. Use distilled water for your water chamber.
  9. If you have any dryness in your nose or throat, try increasing the humidity.
  10. Use your CPAP all night, every night … and while napping

Visit CPAP2GO on the web at www.cpap2go.net

Cody Glorioso

DME Director

The Sleep Wellness Institute is opening its second CPAP2GO store today at 2320 East Moreland Blvd.,  in Waukesha (Greater Milwaukee Area).  Like the first CPAP2GO store in Franklin, the new store features a wide variety of brand name CPAP machines, masks, and accessories.  It also offers the 30/30 Advantage … a choice of more than 30 different masks and a 30 night comfort and fit guarantee.  Most of the products offered are covered by insurance.

The store is open Monday-Saturday, with evening hours Monday-Friday, as well.  The Waukesha store is located just off HWY 94, directly in front of Blain’s Farm and Fleet. Either store may be reached by calling 414-761-CPAP (2727).  Or you can just walk in, browse, and talk with the CPAP experts who staff the store.  Your questions are always welcome.  Check us on the web at www.cpap2go.net.

Steve Gardner

The Sleep Wellness Institute

The cost of diabetes in this country will rise to more than $200 billion per year. That point makes it more important than ever that medical professionals include asking questions about sleep while making their diagnosis, since it has now been shown that 58% of diabetics have some form of sleep disordered breathing.

At the same time, 40% of all obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients have diabetes.

In  patients who have both, the most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can help in the more effective management of diabetes, thereby reducing hospitalizations and healthcare costs related to diabetes.

If you or someone in your family has diabetes, snores at night and feels exhausted during the day, ask your physician about sleep apnea.  It’s too important to ignore.

Steve Gardner

Sleep Wellness Institute

A gentleman named Ken recently recorded a brief video about his experience with CPAP, which is now posted on our website http://www.shareyourcpapstory.com. Click here to view Ken’s story.

We’ve designed Share Your CPAP Story to help those people who may be discouraged with the way their CPAP therapy is working out.  We hope it will encourage those people to stay with it, and to advocate for themselves when something may seem wrong.

By advocating for yourself, we mean asking your CPAP supplier if they have more than one mask you can try.  Can you bring it back and try another if you’re uncomfortable?  Most of all, demand that they provide you with service after the sale.  If your mask is leaking, or feels uncomfortable, or you’re getting water in your tubing, demand that they help you.  It’s their job.

And it’s your life.

Please visit www.shareyourcpapstory.com

Steve Gardner

The Sleep Wellness Institute

An educational video about sleep apnea produced by the Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research & Education Foundation is now available online.  You can access the video by clicking here.

The video was made possible by a grant from the National Football League Retired Players Association.  It clearly and plainly describes what sleep apnea is and includes an interview with a physician, a sleep disorders specialist, a golf professional who has sleep apnea, and a young woman who was trained as a sleep technician through a scholarship awarded by the Foundation.

The 8 minute 23 second video is worth a watch.

Steve Gardner

The Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research & Education Foundation

The Sleep Wellness Institute, Inc., Wisconsin’s  largest independent sleep disorders diagnosis and treatment center, has signed an agreement with Precision Pulmonary Diagnostics (PPD) of Houston, TX, to provide sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment to over-the-road truckers employed by Schneider Trucking Company of Green Bay.

According to Chief Executive Officer Ron Baake of the Sleep Wellness Institute, sleep centers aligned with PPD provide services across the nation to various trucking companies. The Sleep Wellness Institute will be the exclusive provider in Wisconsin for Schneider drivers.

“Over-the-road trucking has long been thought to be an area of great concern,” Baake explained. “Since drowsy drivers are every bit as common as drunk drivers, the trucker who is hauling a huge rig and is affected by sleep apnea is a major risk.”

Schneider began working with PPD both to find ways to cut healthcare costs and to promote on the road safety. The Sleep Wellness Institute is now at the midpoint of a definitive two-year study being conducted to examine the link between sleep apnea to increased health care costs.

PPD provides professional screening for drivers who are at risk for sleep apnea using a HIPPA-compliant, online tool customized to the individual trucking company’s requirements.

Once a driver has been noted as being at risk, the local PPD allied sleep center provides local diagnostic services with the ease of web-based scheduling and quick, reliable turn-around — from diagnosis to treatment.

Drivers who require treatment will be fitted for and provided with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, flow generator, and heated humidifier for nightly use. Significant attention is paid to driver education and monitoring driver compliance with CPAP to ensure the equipment is being used properly.

Baake said that a wireless compliance monitoring system is used. It provides daily information of CPAP use, efficacy, and allows real-time troubleshooting of any problems drivers may be experiencing.

For more information on the Sleep Wellness Institute, visit www.sleepwellandlive.com. For more information on PPD, visit www.precisionpulmonary.com.

Steve Gardner

The Sleep Wellness Institute

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