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Do you get a good night’s rest when you go to bed? Sleep problems are often ignored. But if left undiagnosed and untreated, sleep disorders can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

A sleep study at Harlingen Medical Center may be something your doctor may consider if you or a loved one (ages 5 years or older) has trouble sleeping, snores and stops breathing when sleeping, experiences chronic tiredness, lack of concentration or any other signs and symptoms related to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This is a potentially life-threatening disorder which may cause you to stop breathing during your sleep — possibly several hundred times a night.

To determine whether you might benefit from a sleep evaluation, your physician may refer you to have a sleep study (“polysomnogram”), a non-invasive, pain-free procedure which requires spending a night in the Sleep Lab at Harlingen Medical Center. If obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed, a second-night therapeutic sleep study may be ordered to determine if your sleep may be improved through treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Alma Summers, RRT, RCP, Sleep Lab Director for Harlingen Medical Center, noted that loud snoring can be a possible symptom of sleep apnea – although NOT everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

Please take the following self-scoring questionnaire as a guideline to help identify sleep-disordered breathing problems, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Check the appropriate line if you have experienced the symptom(s) on a regular basis:

  • I have been told that I snore.
  • I have been told that I stop breathing when I sleep, although I may have no recollection of this.
  • I am always sleepy during the day or always fatigued – even if I slept throughout the night.
  • I have high blood pressure or heart disease.
  • I have been told that I sleep restlessly. I am always tossing and turning while asleep.
  • I tend to sweat excessively during my sleep.
  • I tend to wake up during the night gasping or choking.
  • I frequently wake up with headaches in the morning.
  • I tend to fall asleep during inappropriate times.
  • I have noticed, or others have noticed, a recent change in my personality.
  • I am overweight.

If you have marked three or more lines, you show symptoms of Sleep Apnea. It is recommended that you talk to your physician about a possible sleep examination. Likewise, if your partner shows any signs of Sleep Apnea, you should persuade him or her to do the same.

For more information on sleep studies at Harlingen Medical Center, please contact Alma Summers at 956-341-1000 or by e-mail at, and visit To schedule an appointment, please call Central Scheduling at Harlingen Medical Center at 956-365-1839.