Body Week: Wisconsin pulmonology doctors weigh in on undiagnosed sleep apnea, medication costs


After beginning “Physique Week” on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Morning Present” with applications in regards to the mind and the center, Wednesday’s present examined the lungs and issues round childhood and grownup respiratory illnesses.

Two Wisconsin medical doctors shared recommendation for managing bronchial asthma, sleep apnea and different frequent issues that have an effect on the lungs. 

Listed below are three takeaways from this system:

Sleep apnea typically goes undiagnosed

Tens of millions of individuals unknowingly have sleep apnea, stated Dr. William Ehlenbach, affiliate medical director for pulmonology and sleep drugs at SSM Well being Dean Medical Group. The sleep problem could cause issues if left untreated.

Signs of sleep apnea embrace daytime sleepiness and never feeling refreshed after waking up within the morning. Some individuals with sleep apnea go to sleep even once they don’t imply to, which could be harmful for drivers.

Mattress companions ought to look out for loud loud night breathing and pauses in respiration. Ehlenbach estimated half of people that snore have sleep apnea. 

“Everybody with obstructive sleep apnea snores, however not everybody who snores has obstructive sleep apnea,” he stated.

Whereas research in a lab had been beforehand the one technique to reliably diagnose sleep apnea, Ehlenbach stated know-how has improved sufficient over the past 15 years to permit for at-home research — though lab research could also be extra complete.

“That is one thrilling space the place I believe the know-how is enhancing,” he stated. “It reduces the barrier to individuals getting evaluated for sleep apnea, which is so vital.”

As soon as identified, steady constructive airway strain, or CPAP, machines are the simplest remedy for this dysfunction, Ehlenbach stated. The machines have grow to be smaller and quieter. Masks have grow to be extra comfy, too. 

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“For most individuals, sleep apnea is a continual situation (that) shall be with them for the remainder of their life,” he stated.

Phrase of warning for pulse oximeters

Over-the-counter pulse oximeters — units to measure oxygen ranges of the blood — gained extra reputation through the COVID-19 pandemic. However Dr. Louella Amos, a pulmonologist on the Youngsters’s Hospital of Wisconsin, cautioned about studying outcomes, notably for kids. 

Children have small fingers, which could have an effect on the accuracy of the studying, Amos stated. Fingers additionally should be heat and there must be good perfusion, or how blood strikes by way of the vessels, to get a dependable end result, she stated.

“Should you’re frightened in regards to the accuracy of the quantity, I’ve dad and mom perhaps carry their oximeter, and we evaluate it to our medical-grade pulse oximetry within the clinic,” Amos stated.

When prices run excessive

Greater than 25 million Individuals endure from bronchial asthma, in keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. One of many largest issues for remedy is the price of inhaled medicines, Ehlenbach stated.

Inhalers could be the popular type of remedy as a result of inhaled steroids lead to far fewer negative effects than the treatment in tablet kind, he stated. Ehlenbach suggested sufferers frightened in regards to the prices of inhaler treatment to search for generic manufacturers.

“The price of inhalers is known as a very important downside,” he stated. “That’s a monetary toxicity that our sufferers bear.”

“Physique Week” is a week-long sequence on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Morning Present.” An hour of this system is devoted every day to at least one half or system of the physique. Wednesday’s present featured the lungs. Subsequent, we discover the gastrointestinal system. Take heed to the present weekdays at 8 a.m. on The Concepts Community. Submit your questions in regards to the physique to