Putting sleep issues to rest; sleep lab comes to Standish

Dr. Kumar's sleep diagnostics center opens Sept. 1


ARENAC COUNTY — As more and more is learned about sleep apnea, the more it’s realized as one of the biggest deterrances to a good night’s rest, but it doesn’t have to be that way in Standish, when Sound a Sleep sleep diagnostics lab opens Sept. 1.

Dr. Narendra Kumar, M.D., says he decided to construct his third sleep lab in Standish because he sees many patients from this area at his EEG (Electroencephalogram) clinic and due to the fact there is a lack of sleep specialists in the area.

“We felt like we had the opportunity to become the premiere sleep lab in the area,” Kumar said.

According to Kumar, the new sleep center located on West Cedar Street will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and designed to resemble a hotel atmosphere for sleepers.

“When people go for a sleep test, a lot of the times, in a hospital setting, they feel they can’t sleep because it’s not their bed and they’re uncomfortable,” Kumar said. “The answer to that problem is a hotel.

“I say that nobody has a problem sleeping in a hotel, so we wanted to design our rooms like a hotel with Sleep-Number beds and flat-screen TV/DVD players.”

Kumar says in the last 10 years, there have been revealing advances in the sleep diagnostics field.

“We’re starting to realize most of the people snoring have severe underlying sleep apnea, which can cause loss of oxygen to the brain and high blood pressure among other things like headaches and irritability,” Kumar said.

He adds cardio problems in adults and attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD, in children are two areas doctors are finding to be directly related to sleep apnea.

Also, people who suffer from sleep apnea, according to Kumar, can wake up on average between 200-300 times each night, mostly without realizing it.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re consciously waking up,” he said. “You’re brain wakes up and when that happens 200 times a night, it doesn’t get any rest.”

The doctor says symptoms can range from snoring, to not breathing in the middle of the night to waking up tired.

“One boy, six years old, his parents said he would go to bed at 8:30 p.m. and wake up around 8:30-9 a.m., eat breakfast and then be ready for bed again,” Kumar said.

He also says an example of somebody with underlying sleep apnea would be a person using medicines to lower their blood pressure, however the medicine remains ineffective.

But the awareness of sleep diagnostics still has a ways to go, Kumar says.

“75 to 80-percent of sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed,” he said. “It’s one disease that can only get worse as you get older.”

He added surgery to remove the uvula used to be the main treatment for sleep apnea, however, he says doctors have found it only helps for a year or two at most, which is why doctors are now turning to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines in which a mask is worn to pump air through the nose during sleep to keep the airwaves open.

“They are the main treatment now,” he said. “The improvement you can receive is astronomical.”

Kumar says he completed his residency in the ENT (Ear, nose and throat) field and head and neck surgery at Case Western Reserve University Hospital in Cleveland after training for nine years in India.

“I moved to Michigan in 1988 and have been practicing in the sleep diagnostics field for about four years,” Dr. Kumar said. He added he currently has two other sleep labs in Saginaw and Midland and mentioned building a fourth lab in Bay City soon.

For more information on Sound a Sleep, visit www.soundasleeplab.com.


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