If you find yourself tired or yawning during the day, you're not alone. Twenty-five to 35 percent of the population suffer Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is when people stop breathing while sleeping. That's why Thursday, St. Joseph's Health Center cut the ribbon on its third sleep clinic. Our Katie Gibas tells us how one patient's visit changed his life.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Even though Michael Flanagan would wake up during the middle of the night, he never thought it was an issue.
"I truthfully didn't feel I was having trouble sleeping. It was one of those things where I was encouraged by my cardiologist," said Michael Flanagan.
That's why Flanagan came to one of the St. Joe's sleep clinics. St. Joe's has been providing sleep services since 1986 when they opened with a one bedroom clinic. The latest lab makes them the largest provider of sleep services in Central New York.
"You have a camera over you. You have a microphone over you, so they can talk to you. It's not hard, but you do get many, many wires and leads," said Flanagan.
Dr. Sherif El Bayadi, an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Fellow, added, "We monitor brain waves. We monitor eye movements, air flow from the nose, so we know when someone is breathing, oxygen saturation, chest wall movements, muscles. We monitor everything so we know exactly what's happening when someone's sleeping."
After his visit, Flanagan was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which means he stops breathing while he's sleeping. Now he wears an oxygen mask to bed.
"You're wearing this mask over your face and straps over your head and a hose attached to you. And you feel like an elephant. But at that period of time, you get used to it. And over time, you don't even feel it anymore," said Flanagan.
Health experts estimate between 25 and 35 percent of the population suffer from the disorder. But only about two percent are diagnosed. Flanagan says it took years to convince him to go to the sleep clinic, but the visit changed his life.
"I sleep wonderful now. I sleep through the night," said Flanagan.
And that means Flanagan has more energy to do the things he loves.
St. Joe's new sleep lab cost $1.3 million and features 16 beds with hotel-like amenities.
Since 1986, St. Joe's has evaluated more than 20,000 patients. This center makes them the largest provider of sleep services in Central New York.
If you'd like to be seen at the new clinic, you can call (315) 218-9804 for additional information.
For more information on sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Check out the links below.