TRURO - For many people, everyday life is busy, too busy sometimes.
© Submitted photo
Truro Snore Shop staff, from left, Terra Densmore, insurance; Rachel Hill, reception and equipment replacement program; Vanessa Kent, registered respiratory therapist.
But it’s important that keeping healthy remains an important part of the plan. And we all know that depends on what you do throughout the day, every day. What’s often overlooked, however, is that good health also depends on how well you’re sleeping at night.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder that can lead to numerous serious health conditions, but many people are not even aware of the condition let alone that they are suffering from it.
The Snore Shop, located on Prince Street in Downtown Truro, can help if you suffer from such symptoms as excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, snoring patterns that disturb bed partners, memory loss and limited attention, among others.
General manager Lisa Johnson explains that sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during the night, perhaps hundreds of times, usually for periods of 10 seconds or longer.
“In most cases, the person is not aware of this, although sometimes they may wake up gasping for breath,” she said. “Other times, someone else in the house complains of disruptive snoring patterns that are disrupting their own sleep. It’s important to understand that not all people who snore have sleep apnea. Snoring that involves an interrupted breathing pattern is what causes problems because it leads to a decrease in oxygen blood levels, which in turn causes the heart to work harder.”
Johnson says it’s always helpful to talk with your doctor first, but at-home sleep studies are available from The Snore Shop without a doctor’s referral.
“Our team works with clients and their doctors to help determine the seriousness of snoring,” she said. “Results of home studies are sent to the family doctor for diagnosis, and together we can develop a treatment plan.”
She explained that an at-home sleep study requires use of a simple, comfortable device similar to a headband connected to a recorder that monitors breathing, oxygen levels, sleep levels and heart rate to determine if you have sleep apnea.
“Patients determined to be suffering from sleep apnea are then given a breathing mask to wear at night which is connected to a machine that provides Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP),” she said. “This continuous flow of air creates enough pressure to maintain an open airway, allowing for restful sleep.”
The general manager emphasized the importance of treating sleep apnea.
“It may mean your quality of life is severely impacted because you don’t have the energy to play with your children or to enjoy social activities on the weekend. It often means couples are no longer sleeping in the same room. And it can result in lost jobs, especially for long haul truck drivers or people who operate heavy equipment, for example. And the long term health risks are significant, including heart attack and stroke.”
She noted The Snore Shop focuses exclusively on sleep issues and is constantly working to raise the bar in the industry.
“Superior patient service always comes first, followed closely by community involvement,” she said. “We have three staff in our Truro shop so we can ensure patients are getting the best possible care. One is a clinician, another handles reception and insurance issues so the patient doesn’t have to be concerned about that, and the third deals with an equipment replacement program. We sell parts for masks, which many companies don’t do; we offer evening appointments; we have refurbished equipment we can make available if patients don’t have insurance coverage; we provide free follow-up for life; we donate equipment to the Canadian Lung Association and have also provided masks to the Dept. of Respiratory Therapy at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre.”
She said The Snore Shop was founded with the community in mind.
“We really like to be involved in our community,” she said. “We have skating parties and bowling events and walks for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. We participate in home shows and seniors expos to discuss issues and dispel myths about sleep apnea. Our staff volunteers their time to all manner of community causes that patients bring to our attention.
“When we have patients tell us ‘thank you for saving my marriage and my life,’ or ‘I feel wonderful now. I didn’t know what I was missing in life,’ we know we’re providing solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives.
Grace Murray is the promotions and marketing director for the Downtown Truro Partnership. Her column features downtown businesses and appears monthly in the Truro Daily News.