Obstructive Sleep Apnea: An Overview

By: Quinton Franklin, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, Class of 2018.

Obstructive sleep apnea, otherwise known as OSA, is the most common sleep related breathing disorder with an estimated 26% of adults aged 30-70 having obstructive sleep apnea. Despite the large prevalence, an estimated 80% of moderate or severe OSA cases go undiagnosed. OSA can also have a large impact on your health, causing fatigue, impaired concentration, daytime sleepiness, increased blood pressure, severe gastric reflux, depression and irritability, brain damage, and even sudden death. Given the high prevalence, frequently missed diagnosis, and consequences of untreated OSA, it is important to be educated on OSA and how it is treated.

What is Obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where the airway is completely blocked leading to a cessation of breathing. In OSA, loud snoring can be caused due to the increased effort needed to make air pass through the blocked airway and into the lungs. Complete airway obstruction can be due to the structure of the face, leading to components of the mouth such as the tongue, palate, and tonsils completely blocking the airway. The risk of OSA is increased in men, obesity, increasing age, abnormalities of the face and upper airway and those with a family history of OSA.


How do I know if I have obstructive sleep apnea?

Unfortunately, OSA does not have an easy and specific diagnostic test. If you suspect that you have OSA, or have symptoms such as waking in the night, excessive snoring or cessation of breathing reported by a partner, daytime sleepiness, wake to excessively dry mouth. or other signs of poor sleep, It is important to let your healthcare provider know. Depending on their decision you may be asked to participate in a sleep study, where you will be monitored overnight to check for the presence and frequency of blocked breathing during your sleep.

How is Obstructive sleep apnea treated?

Thankfully obstructive sleep apnea is easily treatable through a variety of methods. OSA can be treated through weight loss if needed, modifications to sleep posture, decreased sedative use, or by way of a continuous positive airway pressure device or CPAP.

What is a CPAP?

A CPAP helps to keep the airway open by way of pressure gradients, increasing the amount of air delivered to the lungs. For best results, it is important to find a CPAP mask that fits snug onto your face, and that is not too loose or tight and to use your CPAP daily. In addition, it is important to keep your CPAP clean and properly maintained, as dirty CPAP machines decrease effectiveness and can cause bacterial infection.


Here at NuCara we employ several respiratory therapists to help you select a CPAP device, mask, supplies, and give further instructions and tips on how to use your device. For more information, look to our website http://www.nucara.com.


You or a loved one suffering from Sleep Apnea?

Come to a NuCara Sleep Clinic and meet our respiratory experts! We can provide answers to questions about Sleep Apnea as well as other respiratory illnesses.

Receive free machine cleanings, a free filter, machine and mask checks, supply checks, and look at our new machines!

Below is a list of clinic dates, times, and locations:

Visit these NuCara locations:
Ackley • Friday, May 25th • 3 – 5 p.m.
Conrad • Thurs., May 24th • noon – 5:30 p.m.
Nevada • Weds., May 23rd • all day
Ottumwa • Weds., May 16th • all day
Story City • Monday, May 21st • 2 – 6 p.m.
Traer • Tues., May 22nd • 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Washington • Tues., May 22nd • 3 – 5:30 p.m.


Vinton • US BANK  • 414 A Ave.
Friday, May 25th • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Questions? Call Kisha at 641.684.5453.

Do you have Sleep Apnea? New Home Sleep Test can help you find out!

How would you feel about being able to perform a sleep study in the comfort of your own home? Recently, NuCara has added Home Sleep Testing to their services. It is a top-of-the-line service that not many home medical facilities are affiliated with yet.

Not only is this a very convenient method of receiving the same diagnosis that a sleep study facility can give, it is much cheaper and it allows for the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Vituox home sleep testing utilizes both Level III and Level IV Home sleep testing devices, monitoring oximetery, heart rate, respiration and chest movement and airflow.

Because Medicare does not allow the home medical provider to courier these devices, VirtuOx mails them to and from the patient’s home.

Because NuCara and Virtuox work so closely on the patient’s treatment, a CPAP/BIPAP can be given to a patient within a few days.

 “I am very excited to work with VirtuOx to provide patients with a much more convenient method of receiving the diagnosis a sleep lab can provide. This service allows me to provide an easier method for patients to receive the care they deserve.” Alyssa Barkalow, CRT.

Contact your local NuCara Pharmacy today for more information!

Article by Alyssa Barkalow, Respiratory Therapist at the Nevada NuCara Pharmacy location.

At-Home Sleeping Device Can Help Detect Sleep Apnea

Do you or a loved one suspect they might be living with Sleep Apnea? According to Kisha Manning, a Respiratory Therapist for NuCara Home Medical a Durable Medical Equipment company based inIowa, sleep apnea is very common, almost as common in adults as diabetes or asthma. NuCara Home Medical currently services 765 patients throughoutIowaand is seeing that number rise each month.

Some patients are hesitant to see their doctor and do a full sleep study to get an official diagnosis. However, there is a test that can be done at home that can indicate whether the patient is a candidate for more testing.

The RUSleeping RTS device is a multi-patient, small, lightweight, battery-operated device with a specially designed cannula for detecting apnea events.

RUSleeping RTS provides the following results to the user:

1. The rate of apnea events (AH) occurring during the sleep period.

2. The total number of apnea events occurring each hour.

RUSleeping RTS is not a diagnostic tool. Rather, it is an assessment tool for collecting and displaying information about sleep related apnea events.

“The RUSleeping RTS is a very easy and quite reliable monitoring device. Because it is a free service we offer, patients don’t have anything to lose,” says Alyssa Barkalow, a Respiratory Therapist for NuCara Home Medical.

If patients fall into a range that indicates an issue, they can then make an appointment with their physician for more testing and an official diagnosis.

“Our goal is to help patients take that first step towards getting help,” says Barkalow. “Many times once they really see what they are dealing with, they realize they have a problem and are more willing to go to the doctor.”

For more information on the RUSleeping RTS device, contact your local physician or NuCara Home Medical at 800-358-3308. NuCara Home Medical is currently holding Sleep Clinics in many of their Iowalocations during the week of February 6th. See your local NuCara Pharmacy for more details.