Getting enough sleep is as important to survival as getting enough food and water. While there are a number of factors that may affect how many hours of sleep you need, research has shown that, ideally, the average adult should get between seven and nine hours of sleep per day, preferably at night.
Unfortunately for some people, there are a number of sleep disorders that can prevent them from getting their much-needed rest. “Sleep disorders are not an old person’s condition. It affects people of all ages and gender. Most often the treatment of sleep disorders involves no need for surgery or side-effects associated with pharmaceutical drug use,” says Gregory Arneaud, clinical director and founder of ISD Health Solutions, formerly known as Island Sleep Diagnostics.
The company has teamed up with Massy Stores pharmacies in an attempt to make it easier for people to determine if they could be at risk for sleep apnea, to offer the only over the counter, at-home sleep apnea test as an option for screening. “The ApneaStrip is self-contained and requires no connection to any other device or power source,” Arneaud explains. “It is a FDA approved, clinically proven, inexpensive screening device that can determine if an adult is at risk for sleep apnea."
It is designed for the patient to wear during sleep in the comfort of their own home and upon waking, the client simply pushes a button and the ApneaStrip will display a flashing red light (high risk) or flashing green light (low risk). "The results are the very next morning and can be reported to the healthcare provider by phone,” Arneaud says.
The strip must be worn for at least three hours of sleep to provide the results, which are based on the number of times you repeatedly start and stop breathing during sleep. He says, however, a formal diagnosis will be needed before any type of therapy can commence. “One of the benefits of getting tested is that clients receive a complimentary follow-up sleep consultation with an ISD sleep care professional to discuss the results and provide additional information on how to better improve your sleep and quality of life.
Lastly, your cost to purchase the ApneaStrip will be credited to the cost of a formal diagnostic sleep test if medically necessary.” Arneaud says research has shown that thousands of people in Trinidad and Tobago may be affected by sleep disorders due to its prevalence with chronic illnesses. “Out of Trinidad and Tobago’s population of approximately 1.3 to 1.4 million persons, it is estimated that approximately 350,000 to 400,000 persons may be suffering from underlying sleep disorders and don’t even know it. Of these, the most common untreated condition is sleep apnea, which could be identified by habitual snoring and is a result in most cases from upper airway collapses during sleep that lead to frequent disruptions in breathing and a lack of oxygen to the brain and body.
This can also contribute to increased insomnia issues.” According to webmd.com the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are snoring, insomnia, waking up with a very sore or dry throat, occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation, sleepiness or lack of energy during the day, morning headaches, restless sleep, forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex.
“Snoring is most often a cry for help. Most habitual snorers don’t understand how much it affects their bedside partners sleep quality as well as their risk of premature death. The narrowing of the airways reduce the ability to properly oxygenate your body and brain, something that is detrimental to your quality of life and risk for chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, the onset of diabetes, heart attack, stroke and obesity.”
ISD Health Solutions was founded in 2011 and diagnoses and treats sleep disorders. The company currently offers services in Barbados, St Lucia and TT, with plans to expand to Jamaica and Guyana in 2018. Arneaud says research shows that sleep deprivation resulting from untreated sleep disorders contributes significantly to vehicular and workplace accidents. He advises people who display the symptoms of sleep apnea or any other sleeping disorder to get tested as soon as possible.