The majority of patients are referred to the Center from a variety of referring specialties including psychiatry, internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, family medicine, cardiology and ENT. These referrals are based on the reputation of the center’s physicians who have around 60 years of sleep medicine experience between them. To encourage this referral process, the center concentrates on making the process as easy as possible for the referring physician's staff by maintaining exceptional communication.
Due to the high referral rate, the Center does very little advertising or promotion. Occasionally the center will participate in employer health fairs or radio, television and print advertising.
The patient population at the center ranges in age from adolescent to the elderly. Efforts are made to accommodate patients who do not have insurance, as well.
Like most sleep centers, the Sleep Disorders Center of Alabama primarily treats patients diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea is very common and affects more than 12 million Americans. In fact, 80% of individuals exhibiting some form of sleep-related disorder will be diagnosed with OSA symptoms as their primary underlying diagnosis.
Dr. Pegram and other sleep experts stress that if left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a myriad of other problems including: hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases , memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. In addition, sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle accidents.
Recent research findings, Pegram adds, have uncovered new areas of concern regarding sleep disorders including those in teenagers and young adults. “More young people are having sleep problems generally because they get less sleep than they actually need. We need to educate family practitioners about this, not to mention high schools and colleges.” he says.
As awareness of sleep disorders increases in the medical community and the public at large, the field will continue to grow significantly. The Sleep Disorders Center of Alabama, Birmingham, is striving to educate and treat their patients for better health and better quality of life.