|[May 04, 2012]
El Camino Hospital Los Gatos Opens Sleep Disorders Program
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
Ads for sleep clinics feature a laundry list of symptoms associated with
chronic sleep disorders: fatigue, irritability, inability to
concentrate, memory loss, slow reaction, angry outbursts, and looking
tired. Some point out increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and
What they don't mention is that sleep disorders are strongly associated
with sexual dysfunction. Nor do ads for erectile dysfunction (ED)-yet
some studies have shown that up to 70% of men diagnosed with sleep apnea
suffer from ED. That fact is central to why El Camino Hospital Los Gatos
decided to launch its new Sleep Disorders Program, despite the presence
of several other sleep clinics in the Silicon Valley. It's also why
patients have been pouring in.
"One of our busiest urologists urged us to open a sleep clinic," says
Bido Baines, Executive Director, Urology Services and Men's Health
Program at El Camino Hospital. "He was referring up to 300 patients a
year to outside sleep clinics for diagnosis and treatment-and 50% of his
erectile dysfunction patients were being diagnosed with sleep apnea. But
he was frustrated that outside clinics either took six months to see the
patient or were lax in providing follow-up. He urged us to create a
center that would facilitate a seamless continuum of problem solving for
Scientists aren't sure why sleep apnea and sexual dysfunction are linked
in both men and women. But a study published last year in The Journal of
Sexual Medicine reported significantly higher levels of sexual
dysfunction in women and men aged 28 to 64 with obstructive sleep apnea
(compared to individuals without sleep apnea.)
Dr. Edward Karpman, a board certified, fellowship trained urologist in
the El Camino Hospital Men's Health Program, says, "Many of my patients
come to me with a long list of health problems that none of their
doctors has been able to link together; heart disease, obesity,
depression, fatigue. So I ask, 'How's your sleep?' and find out they
haven't had a really good night's sleep in years. I think trying to
figure out the sleep angle is just as important as everything else."
Steve, a 58 year-old retired technology executive who is one of Dr.
Karpman's patients, couldn't agree more.
"I was this close to giving up," says the South Bay resident, who
asked that his full name not be used. "I wasn't sure how long I wanted
to hang around. Life wasn't worth it."
Overweigt, suffering from cardiovascular issues, erectile dysfunction,
and a sleep disorder that had afflicted him since his early 40s, he was
on antidepressants and rarely felt like getting up in the morning. His
weight had ballooned and he woke up exhausted. He also suffered from
osteoporosis that had erased 20% of his normal bone mass. His life
changed the day he walked into the Men's Health Program at El Camino
"It wasn't an issue of not being able to afford good medical care,"
Steve says. "I had the best private insurance available. The problem is
that no one was looking at the big picture. I had a cardiologist over
here; a primary care doctor over there; a sleep specialist 10 or 12
miles away and so on. None of them were talking to each other."
"No one had even checked my testosterone level before," Steve says. "It
turns out that it was incredibly low, which probably is at the heart of
many of my health problems. But Dr. Karpman didn't stop there. He's like
a bulldog-he wasn't going to let go until he found a way to improve my
Adjusting Steve's testosterone was only one part of the puzzle. Dr.
Karpman worried that Steve's treatment for sleep apnea was ineffective.
A sleep evaluation confirmed his suspicions. A prescription for a new
device has had "miraculous" results.
"Before that, I spent $5,000 on a stupid mask that I wore all those
years for absolutely no benefit," Steve says. "When they took another
look they found that I needed a different type of device-which solved
the problem. If you don't get your sleep right, nothing works right.
This has changed my life."
The "all in one place" approach to treatment makes a huge difference,
according to Steve, who now sees a cardiologist right next door to Dr.
Karpman, and a sleep specialist at the hospital. "They're all working
together-I can't tell you what a difference it makes," he says. His
weight has dropped from 310 to 248. His relationship with his wife "is
like we're newlyweds again. You can't pay enough money for that. It's
like starting all over again."
Although the hospital's sleep disorder program got its push from the
Men's Health Program, it welcomes women, too. One of the first patients
was Joann Medina, an operating room nurse. Even though she thought she
slept well, she felt tired during the day. "I went through many years of
denying I had any sleep issues, but when I heard the hospital was
opening a sleep center, I felt it was time to find out for sure," says
Medina, who often vacationed and shared a hotel room with friends, was
told she snored and moved around as if not having a restful sleep. It
made her hesitant to travel with others.
"I feel good that I'm finally doing something about it," says Medina,
"especially since I realize that my sleep apnea could have negative
effects on other aspects of my health."
Although she hasn't been fully evaluated yet, she did learn she has
sleep apnea, a not-surprising diagnosis given her friends' feedback. The
next step will be recommendations about the appropriate treatment. "As
soon as I find out what my options are I can make an informed decision,"
Sleep disruptions are a symptom, not a disease, and can be caused by a
variety of issues. Sleep apnea is the most common diagnosis, affecting
one in 15 people, or 18 million Americans. It may coexist with or be a
precursor to other conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease,
depression, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, dementia, stroke,
obesity and endocrine issues.
The only way to accurately diagnose a sleep disorder is a sleep study.
The process takes approximately 12 hours from start to finish, and
includes patient evaluation, analysis of sleep study results, diagnosis
of any sleep disorders and recommendations for follow up treatment,
including surgery if necessary.
The El Camino Hospital Sleep Disorders Program will recommend treatment
for a diagnosed sleep disorder, often giving patients a range of
possible solutions such as a device that can be used at home to regulate
breathing during sleep, or surgery. Unlike most other sleep programs,
however, it will also refer patients to cardiologists, endocrinologists
or other specialists to follow up on underlying causes.
"It's really a testament to El Camino Hospital that they listened to our
concerns and opened this program," says Dr. Karpman. "It's allowed us to
provide our patients-both men and women-with comprehensive, 'big
To learn more visit www.elcaminohospital.org/sleep
or call 408-866-4070.
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