Make Sleep a Priority in 2019

Trying to fit in all of our obligations often comes at the expense of sleep but it simply needs to be a priority. Sleep restores our body and fuels our day and you cannot adequately and consistently perform socially, at your job, and for your family without it. Simply put – it’s essential for good health and safety.

“The problem is many people do not view lack of sleep as a medical condition in need of attention” shares Director of the Sleep Disorders Lab at Divine Savior Healthcare, Mike Lindner, but “according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than 70 million people in the U.S. have a sleep disorder and many of those are completely unaware of it”.

While an occasional late or restless night is normal, difficulty sleeping for several weeks can be dangerous and indicative of a more serious medical condition in need of attention.

If you or a loved one are experiencing problems sleeping, now is the time to take charge of your health. 

If you experience the following, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder:

  • Loud, habitual snoring
  • Tired or groggy feeling upon awakening
  • Choking, gasping or holding breath during sleep
  • Falling asleep quickly, especially during normal wake hours
  • Overweight and / or have a large neck
  • Trouble falling asleep at night
  • Frequent morning headaches, dry or sore throat
  • Regularly irritable, anxious, or short tempered


Effects of prolonged lack of sleep:

Lack of sleep can make your daily life feel more stressful or cause you to be less productive. Sleep loss has been found to impair the ability to perform tasks involving memory, learning and logical reasoning, while poor sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating, accomplishing simple tasks and handling minor irritations.


“Those diagnosed with sleep disorders suffer real consequences, including reduced energy, excessive daytime sleepiness, diminished mood, greater risks for motor vehicle and heavy equipment accidents, and pain resulting from the physical and mental effects from a lack of sleep,” Lindner says.

In addition, sleep disorders significantly increase your risk for obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia/early aging, lower immunity, and some cancers.


What you can do if you’re suffering:

“I recommend that patients who start experiencing problems sleeping keep a sleep diary for a week or more,” states Divine Savior Healthcare Pulmonologist and sleep specialist Dr. Clint Bonebrake. “This diary will help give you and your doctor a picture of your sleep habits and schedules.”   Bring the diary in to your physician to discuss how things you are doing may be affecting your sleep. Your physician will evaluate you and discuss your options. If you need further evaluation, they can then refer you to a sleep specialist”.

“People experiencing problems with sleep do not have to continue to suffer. We now know more than ever about the process of sleep and can provide treatments to address the majority of sleep disorders,” states Dr. Bonebrake. “A patient may be recommended light therapy, medication, an oral appliance, surgery or other treatments to solve their sleep problems.”

Stop counting sheep and get back to sleep!  Divine Savior Healthcare’s Sleep Disorder Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and we’re pleased to have on staff Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialist Dr. Clint Bonebrake.  The center performs a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic sleep tests and offers comprehensive follow-up with patients who have diagnosed sleep disorders. Talk to your primary care provider if you are experiencing sleep problems. For more information on sleep studies at Divine Savior Healthcare, call us at 608-742-4131 or visit www.dshealthcare.com.

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Top Ten Tips for More Sleep

  1. Start going to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier. Still feeling sleepy during the day? Push it back another 15 minutes
  2. Keep daytime naps to 20 to 30 minutes in length and take them before 3:00 PM  
  3. Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and alcohol close to bedtime
  4. Exercise: Regular physical activity can lessen stress and help improve sleep
  5. Commit to a routine and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  6. Make your sleep environment dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
  7. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
  8. Use your bedroom for sleep and sex only, not TV, electronics, etc.
  9. Do not eat 2-3 hours before bedtime
  10. Avoid nicotine





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Experiencing a dull pain in the pit of your stomach

Stomach PainGastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and gallbladder disease are two very common disorders. Knowing which one you have may be trickier than you think. Symptoms may be vague, such as a “dull pain in the pit of your stomach”, making it hard for you to explain to your doctor what’s exactly going on.

At Divine Savior Healthcare, General Surgeons, Dr. Eric Anderson and Dr. Joshua Pogorelec, have seen many patients with these symptoms and after further examination are able to help  diagnose and treat both diseases.

What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD refers to stomach contents moving into the esophagus causing a burning sensation commonly referred to as heartburn. Other symptoms may occur as well, such as pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea and an acid taste in your mouth.  If this continue, prolonged exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus.  This in turn can result in difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing or permanent damage to the esophagus.

Although not all reflux results in symptoms or damage to the esophagus, common symptoms include:
• Heartburn
• Acid regurgitation
• Belching
• Difficulty or pain when swallowing
• Waterbrash sudden excess of saliva
• Dysphagia the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus
• Chronic sore throat
• Laryngitis
• Inflammation of the gums
• Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
• Chronic irritation in the throat
• Hoarseness in the morning
• A sour taste
• Bad breath
• Coughing at night

What is gallbladder disease?
The gallbladder is located below the liver on the upper right side of the abdomen. The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is made in the liver and allows fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Any condition that affects the gallbladder is considered a disease, and there are many different scenarios that fall under gallbladder disease:
• Inflammation
• Gallstones
• Common bile duct stones
• Biliary Dyskinesia
• Infection
• Perforated gallbladder
• Gallbladder polyps
• Porcelain gallbladders
• Gallbladder cancer

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec share "the most common disease of the gallbladder is gallstones. Most people with gallstones do not even know they have them.  Once they cause problems, the gallbladder may need to be removed. Symptoms include pain below the right rib cage or in the “pit” of the stomach. This pain may radiate to the right upper back, chest, or shoulder. Other symptoms may include, bloating, nausea or vomiting, fever or chills, chronic diarrhea, jaundice yellow-tinted skin, or unusual lighter-colored stools or dark urine.”

After taking a closer look at GERD and gallbladder disease, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec are able to provide helpful insight on common distinguishing factors between the two diseases.

Common distinguishing factors:
• Location: Although both may feel like a “pit in your stomach”, if you experience symptoms located closer to your throat or in your chest it is more likely to be GERD related. Symptoms located near your right lower rib radiating into your right upper back, chest and shoulder are more likely to be associated to your gallbladder.
• Pain: Unlike GERD, gallbladder pain usually begins suddenly, and changing positions, belching, passing gas or taking medications rarely helps pain symptoms go away.
• Timing: With heartburn being the most common symptom of GERD, symptoms of reflux are likely to occur shortly after eating, where symptoms of gallbladder disease usually occurs several hours after eating and have more consistent patterns of reoccurrence the same time each day.

What does treatment look like?
The symptoms of GERD are commonly and effectively treated with over-the-counter medications such as anti-acids and proton pump inhibitors. However, if relief does not go away from these medications your provider may recommend you be evaluated by one of our surgeons at Divine Savior.

After a thorough history and physical, our surgeons may recommend further evaluation of the esophagus and stomach with endoscopy.  Similar to colonoscopy, but without the need for prep, upper endoscopy allows the surgeon to visualize the esophagus, stomach and intestine to evaluate for damage to the esophagus, infection and a hiatal hernia.  Depending on the findings, further testing may be indicated to evaluate the function of the esophagus. 

Patients with severe GERD benefit from surgery to prevent reflux from occurring.  This procedure is commonly performed by both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec, is minimally invasive, and very effective at treating GERD.  In fact, most patients no longer require any antacid medications after the procedure.

If you are found to have stones in the gallbladder causing symptoms, the best course of action is to have the gallbladder removed.  Leaving the stones in place will continue to cause pain and may result in serious infection of the gallbladder and bile ducts, jaundice or pancreatitis. 

Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec routinely perform minimally invasive removal of the gallbladder.  This is most often an outpatient procedure and very successful.  After a short recovery, most patients will find their symptoms are gone and they are able to live a normal life. 

If you experience symptoms related to GERD or gallbladder disease, or have concerns about either, it is best to consult your provider for further examination. Treatment for either disease varies person to person, but taking action immediately and being properly treated can help you prevent problems from worsening.

To schedule an appointment with Divine Savior Healthcare General Surgeons, Dr. Anderson or Dr. Pogorelec, call 608-745-5176.

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