McLeod Health offers clinic to treat sleep disorders

By: For the Record

FLORENCE, S.C. — As part of a continued commitment to patients from the Midlands to the coast, McLeod Regional Medical Center has established the McLeod Sleep Clinic to help diagnose and manage sleep disorders in adults 18 and older.

At the clinic, patients consult with a sleep specialist to arrange diagnostic tests, determine the appropriate diagnosis and discuss a treatment plan. Should the patient need durable medical equipment, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, these items will be ordered as needed.

The McLeod Sleep Clinic treats the following sleep disorders: sleep apnea (obstructive and central); narcolepsy; restless leg syndrome; shift work/circadian rhythm sleep disorder; REM behavior disorder; sleepwalking; sleep talking; and insomnia.

Physician referral is required.


Obstructive sleep apnea, a common and serious sleep disorder, affects 20 percent of males and 10 to 15 percent of females. It is characterized by repeated collapse of the pharyngeal airway during sleep, resulting in reduced or complete cessation of airflow despite ongoing breathing efforts.

The risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include obesity, male gender, aging, daytime sleepiness, systemic hypertension, menopausal status, African-American race, Chinese and Indian ancestry.

Non-obese individuals are still at risk for obstructive sleep apnea, accounting for 30 percent of patients who have the disorder.

Most patients with obstructive sleep apnea come to the attention of their physician because they are complaining of daytime sleepiness, or the bed partner reports loud snoring, gasping, snorting, or interruptions in breathing while sleeping.

Other associated symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are irritability, awakening with dry mouth, awakening with a sensation of gasping, lack of concentration, morning headaches, impotence, frequent urination at night and depression.

Daytime sleepiness may go unnoticed because it is usually chronic. The patient may admit to consistently falling asleep while reading, watching television or even driving. While snoring is common with obstructive sleep apnea, not all people who snore have the disorder.

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, and weight gain. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated.

Polysomnography (sleep study) is the gold standard diagnostic test when it is performed overnight in a sleep laboratory with a technologist in attendance.

In certain circumstances when the patient is diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, the treatment, usually CPAP, can be started on the same night to determine the right pressure for the patient. Sometimes another study is needed to determine that pressure.

In some patients, the diagnostic evaluation may be performed at home without a technician in attendance.

Although CPAP is the standard treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, the sleep specialist can sometimes advise other alternatives, such as oral appliances and surgery. Also, in obese patients, weight reduction and exercise are advised.

For more information about the McLeod Sleep Clinic, call 843-777-5827.

For the Record