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Profile IconBLev and bruce david joined SleepGuide
Aug 21
Primary care physicians are on the front lines of the War on Sleep Apnea. Unfortunately, nobody told them that they're on the front lines of the War on Sleep Apnea! Below is a typical list of tips for healthy living given to me by my primary care physician. Notice the glaring absence of anything Sleep-related:

1. Make sure appropriate screening tests and immunizations are up to date.

2. Complete an Advance Health Care Directive.

3. Exercise "aerobically," enough to raise your heart rate to about (220 - your age) x 70%. Your goal is at least 30 minutes every day.

4. Achieve and maintain normal body weight.

5. Eat foods low in saturated fat and trans fatty acids and high in calcium and fiber, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Take a calcium supplement, if necessary.

6. Practice safe sex, use condoms and a reliable method of contraception.

7. Do not smoke, and avoid inhaling others' cigarette smoke. If you need help quitting, please ask.

8. "Safety-proof" your home to prevent falls, poisoning, accidental use of firearms and fire.

9. Do not drive or allow others to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances. Use sport helmets appropriately, regardless of your age. Observe safety regulations for automobile airbags, seatbelts and car seats.

10. Seek help early for depression, mood changes, alcohol or drug abuse.

11. Perform regular skin self-examinations. Protect your skin from sun damage with sunblock and clothing.

12. Women should seek medical attention for breast changes.

13. Men should seek medical attention for testicular changes.

14. Find balance in your life between work, home and play time. Include stress reduction activities (fun!) every day.

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Comment by Banyon on February 8, 2009 at 6:35pm
I saw a survey last fall (2008) that said 44% of the PCPs surveyed had never screened a patient for SDB and had never sent a patient to a sleep doc. Now you know that means each of these PCPs have dozens if not hundreds of patients that have SDB undiagnosed.

As well as I remember the survey was done by the central office of a large association of PCPs. If anyone has a link to that survery please post it here. Thanks.
Comment by Mary Ann McPheeters on February 3, 2009 at 7:41pm
I thin that those with sleep apnea should be like missionaries -- tell EVERYONE they know what the symptoms are and how they have benefitted from treatment! I have done that and now both my daughters, my mom, husband and a good friend all are on CPAPs. How's that for effectiveness?!! Once they get a couple of good night's sleep they are converts too!

Now, about the docs. Each person, including myself, had to ASK for a referral to a sleep specialist just from my info - not one of us had a doctor recognize or independently think to ask questions relating to sleep. I want to thank OPRAH and Dr. Oz as well as other MDs on TV for their was that info that sent me in search of help first! I also read a lot on the internet - so thanks to Google and Wikipedia, too! Don't you love the free exchange of information?!
Comment by sleepycarol on February 3, 2009 at 8:07am
I asked my primary care physician for a sleep study and she admits that I probably know more about it than she does.

I think in time the shift will have more and more primary care physicians referring patients to sleep studies and or sleep doctors.

By the way -- shame on your doctor on her list of healthy living she left out MEN SHOULD BE CHECKED FOR BREAST CANCER AS WELL!! A good friend of mine lost her husband due to breast cancer. He had a lump and it was assumed it was fatty tissue and by the time it was investigated due to the increase in size it had invaded other organs and it meant a death sentence for him. Not before it was too late did his primary care physician push to have it checked early.
Comment by The SleepGuide Crew on February 3, 2009 at 1:58am
glad to hear you've got a primary care physician who regularly asks about sleep. i can assure you he is the exception to the rule. Darillyn, you're lucky your sister mentioned you to her pulmonologist. Hope he gives you some solid advice. certainly feel free to let us know what he says.
Comment by Randy Bray on February 3, 2009 at 1:40am
I can't complain about the physicians in the Family Practice Clinic we belong to. When there was the slightest hint of a sleep problem he had a sleep Dr. contact me and we set up a sleep study. Any time I'm at the Dr for any reason he asks how my sleep is. So I have no need to beat up my primary Care Physician.
Comment by Darillyn Patterson on February 2, 2009 at 11:52pm
Now that I have health insurance again, I'm going to contact my PCP and request a thorough explanation of the results of my sleep study tests. All I've been told is that I have moderate sleep apnea. Period. End of discussion. Rather, no discussion at all. My twin sister's doctor, on the other hand, referred her to a pulmonologist, who told her some interesting things. When she mentioned me, he told her to have me see him. I might look into that. She already has her CPAP machine. I'm hoping to get mine soon and start treating this sleeping problem.
Comment by Daniel on February 2, 2009 at 10:46pm
Typical Med School curriculum for sleep disorders of all types is about a grand total of 4 hours. Thankfully, there is a growing awareness of the importance of healthy sleep. When I was shopping around for a new primary care physician, I wouldn't tell them I was suffering from sleep apnea or that my profession involved treating people with sleep disorders. If they didn't ask enough questions about sleep, I never made another appointment.

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