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When a SleepGP approaches patient care, they consider their patient’s individual disease profile. These sleep trained GPs seek to understand whether their patient has any of the following, or a combination of the following, and then manage them accordingly.

Is this patient’s sleep disturbance a health issue? Are they here for snoring issues?

Are they excessively tired though the day? Do they have any insomnia issues we can manage.

Each of these Four Pillars need to be identified and managed individually, or in combination with each other.

One quickly realises that each patient seeking consultation for their sleep health has a unique disease profile – just as individual as for your diabetic patients, or your hypertensive patients. A one-size-fits-all approach is not what you do with these other chronic diseases, why would you approach it differently here.

Indicative patient profiles demonstrate this Four Pillars approach best:

Health
Issue

Daytime
Tiredness

Insomnia
Issue

Snoring
Issue

Health Issue

GPs now know that severe Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a major health issue and carries roughly a threefold risk of heart attack and stroke. It should not be left untreated. Like any chronic disease with potentially dangerous consequences for the individual or those around them, the first port of call for a patient is their GP, a person trusted by the patient to act in their best interest.

While one patient may have a health issue such as OSA, however, it is important to understand that another with less than severe OSA can have significantly reduced cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk and may not require active treatment.

In that case and in the absence of other symptoms of the Four Pillars, a SleepGP may decide it is appropriate to let patients with mild or even early moderate OSA go untreated, but remain under surveillance, making sure their OSA doesn’t get worse over time.

Trained SleepGPs are able to do this with certainty. These patients appreciate that management approach to their OSA – whereas commercial CPAP sales organisations and ‘sleep shops’ would try to sell the patient a CPAP device that was not needed yet, or not needed at all.

Health
Issue

Daytime
Tiredness

Insomnia
Issue

Snoring
Issue

Daytime Tiredness

Complaints of tiredness in General Practice represent 5-7% of GP consultations and after the ‘heart-sink’ feeling that often accompanies this complaint has passed, a good GP is well versed in its management.

Now, a SleepGP has added diagnoses to assist in the successful management of this disorder. The SleepGP will thoroughly evaluate the patient to identify all possible causes of their excessive daytime tiredness, including such conditions as Idiopathic Hypersomnolence, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) and Narcolepsy – all treatable conditions.

Health
Issue

Daytime
Tiredness

Insomnia
Issue

Snoring
Issue

Insomnia Issue

– Misreported, Mishandled or Just Plain Missed?

Simply stated, Insomnia is the inability to get to sleep, or to get back to sleep or have poor quality sleep. Poor sleep is reported in 70% of the population and 10% will meet the criteria of Insomnia. It is an independent co-morbidity and doesn’t respond to Sleep Hygiene counselling as many providers believe.

The causes of insomnia can be complex, but it can be managed in most cases in a primary care setting. Once identified the most successful treatment is CBTi. A referral to a psychologist may be appropriate here.

An up-skilled SleepGP will also know when it is appropriate – and when it is not – to recommend the various hypnotic agents available on the market.

Health
Issue

Daytime
Tiredness

Insomnia
Issue

Snoring
Issue

Snoring Issue

“Whilst many OSA sufferers snore, not all snorers have OSA. That’s why it’s vital that a trained GP is consulted, if your patient, their partner or family say they snore.

Snoring is characterised by high-frequency vibrations of the soft palate, pharyngeal walls, tongue and epiglottis and is considered a sign of partial upper airway obstruction. *Upskilled SleepGPs are trained to assess these areas of the static airway using a flexible nasendoscope.

Never ignore a SnoreTM  though, because a possible causal relationship of snoring has been found to carotid atherosclerosis, sleepiness and other negative health effects.

For all these reasons, a doctor is the best person to consult about snoring, even if your patient thinks its just a social issue.

*(Lee et al., 2008, Svenssonet al., 2008; Tassi et al., 2012, Ulfberg et al, 1996a,b, Pevernagie et al., 2010)

The SleepGP’s Comprehensive Approach

The SleepGP’s comprehensive approach gathers data about the patient’s co-morbidities, medications, lifestyle, sleep health and biometrics (via an in depth iPad based survey). It imports sleep study data which has been reported on by a specialist Sleep Physician, and it includes a physical examination of the airway. This is unique.

This comprehensive personalised approach is entirely different to the one-size-fits-all profit driven approach taken by many commercial and online CPAP sales organisations.

Over 6000 patients have benefited from The SleepGP Model of Care since 2013.

These doctors know that adequate, quality sleep sits alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise in their patients’ holistic healthcare. SleepGPs also know that diagnosing, treating and managing uncomplicated OSA in a GP practice is a more accessible patient pathway with lower cost to the individual and community.…and it takes account of partners’ concerns too.

Everyone has a story – tell us yours.

more energy, improved relationships

Partners also affected by sleep Apnoea…

CASE STUDY: Involving your partner is important to successful OSA management.

Sharan had been experiencing extreme daytime tiredness.  Dennis was very concerned for her, and he had Googled extensively to try to understand why.  They were left wondering what the cause could be, and based on her symptoms decided they would try to rule out Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Their online research was like the research many of us do today when we experience poor health, but they had reached the point where they needed professional advice.

So just as Dennis and Sharan would consult their GP about chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, they decided to speak with their local SleepGP at Coolangatta about sleep apnoea and how to help Sharan once again experience life to the fullest.

Sharan had a Level 2 sleep study, an upper airway examination, an assessment of her general health and had her treatment options explained. Sharan and Dennis opted for an APAP machine.

Dennis’ involvement and support was key to successful diagnosis and treatment of Sharan’s chronic OSA. That shared journey is strongly encouraged and welcomed by The SleepGP. Most partners of OSA sufferers also have their life derailed and disrupted by the impacts of OSA on their partners sleep patterns.

Conclusion: Through her partner’s support, and the skills of The SleepGP, Sharan’s life has returned to normal – and Dennis couldn’t be happier.

The SleepGP

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