Beckie Neal is a mom of three, a grandmother of six. It might seem logical for her to be tired all the time.
But Neal noticed she was sleeping up to 10 hours at night and still falling asleep during movies. Her husband worried she might fall asleep at the wheel. That’s when she spoke with her primary care provider who, without hesitation, ordered a sleep medicine consult.
“When the sleep medicine doctor told me I had obstructive sleep apnea, it made sense why it was so easy for me to fall asleep during the day because I wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep,” she said. “I had heard of sleep apnea, but I had no idea that I stopped breathing in my sleep.”
Since that diagnosis, Neal has worked with the Carle Sleep Medicine team to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine while she sleeps. The device delivers an even distribution of air pressure to promote effective breathing throughout the night, so she can stay asleep and maintain good air exchange.
People like Neal help drive Carle’s high level of CPAP adherence for both regional and national benchmarks.
“Carle’s outstanding compliance rates of over 80 percent show we’re effectively conveying the importance of CPAP use to our patients who then experience real life and health benefits,” said Charles Davies, MD, PhD, who specializes in sleep medicine and neurology. “It’s important that everyone gets good sleep and proper oxygen to the brain and the body. Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with CPAP can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.”
Neal’s form of sleep apnea means she wears a full mask that covers her nose and mouth. She adjusted to her CPAP within a week, and has used it faithfully for 15 years.
“I don’t miss a night. I noticed a difference as soon as I started using it,” she said. “I went from sleeping 10 to 11 hours a night to sleeping seven to eight hours. I had more energy during the day, and I was more awake. I used to fall asleep on a dime during the daytime, but I don’t do that anymore.”
Like sleep experts, Neal encourages anyone with a CPAP machine to use it properly and regularly.
“I just didn’t give up,” she said. “Now, it’s second nature to me. My grandkids see me with it on, and they just think it’s funny. It’s really worth it. … And my husband says I don’t snore anymore.”
Katie Davis, respiratory therapy coordinator, and her team at Carle Medical Supply in Urbana make sure those who need CPAPs know how to use them.
“We love our CPAP patients. We provide education when they get started, and we’re here to answer their questions and make adjustments as they need them,” Davis said.
Neal enjoys her interactions with her sleep apnea care team. At one point, a representative from a CPAP company called and offered to get her a new machine. She thought it was someone from Carle, but turns out it wasn’t.
She went back to Carle immediately so she could continue to keep up with her kids and grandkids.
“I prefer going through Carle because they are local. I can go to the place in Urbana and ask any questions I may have,” she said, also touting the ability to upgrade and update.
“They got me the newest model of the CPAP where they can keep track of everything. They know when I’m using it, and I like that. It keeps you accountable.”
If you have concerns about the quality of your sleep or sleep apnea, please talk with your primary care provider and learn more about Sleep Medicine services at Carle.
Categories: Staying Healthy