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Patient Story: I thought everyone felt as tired as I did

Patient Story: I thought everyone felt as tired as I did

Doug Barrett worked rotating shifts for 15 years and could fall asleep just by sitting still. A co-worker suggested he have a sleep study at Campbell County Health to find out why, and he's been using a CPAP machine ever since.

“I never go anywhere without it,” said Doug. “You really can sleep while wearing a CPAP machine, and it’s made a huge change in my life."

A CPAP machine helps keep a person’s airway open during sleep with a mask that fits over the nose and mouth. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and the newest models are compact, quiet and can travel anywhere.

After seeing his doctor, Doug had a sleep study performed at the hospital’s Sleep Center. A sleep study measures breathing, heart rate, stages of sleep, any episodes of sleep apnea (stopping breathing during sleep) and many other things to diagnose and treat potential sleep disorders. The sleep room is equipped just like a regular bedroom, but has cameras and audio equipment monitored from a control room by certified technicians while the patient sleeps. The study is read by Dr. Peter Fort , a physician certified in Sleep Medicine, who may then order a study to calibrate a CPAP machine for the patient. CPAP and other equipment to treat sleep disorders is available at Home Medical Resources.

Doug admits he was probably a heavy snorer, and he’d had major several heart surgeries by the age of 44.

Left untreated, sleep problems like Doug’s can contribute to other health issues too, like weight gain, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The Sleep Center at Campbell County Health can diagnose and treat over 70 different sleep disorders, and was recently accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It’s one of only three accredited sleep centers in the state of Wyoming. The most commonly treated sleep disorders are snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and shift work disorder.

“It’s a lifestyle change, like learning a new habit,” said Doug. “I have way more energy now, and I sleep soundly all night.”