Sleep is vital for good health. Experts recommend a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep per night for most adults; a lack of sleep can affect your hormone levels, mood, weight and work or school performance and may result in physical, mental, social and emotional problems. Reaching that goal is difficult for many, thanks to the growing prevalence of sleep disorders.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Loud snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) witch disrupts breathing and poses a risk to life. Serious episodes of OSA last more than ten seconds each and occur more than seven times per hour. OSA patients may experience 30 to 300 such events per night. These episodes can reduce blood oxygen levels, causing the heart to pump harder.
The immediate effect of OSA is that the snorer must sleep lightly and keep their muscles tense in order to keep airflow to the lungs. Because the snorer does not get a good rest, they may be sleepy during the day, which impairs job performance and makes them a hazardous driver or equipment operator. After many years, OSA sufferers may incur elevated blood pressure and heart enlargement.
Do I Have a Sleep Disorder?
Try conducting a sleep disorder quiz on yourself.
Take a look at the list below, and see how many of
these apply to you:
- Waking up tired
- Waking up gasping
- Sore throat after awaking
- Frequently wake up to use the bathroom
- Difficulty staying awake while driving
- Falling asleep while laughing or crying
- Waking up with pain and numbness in your legs
- Difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep
- Being told that you stop breathing while you sleep
If two or more of the above apply to you, this may indicate a serious sleep disorder and you should consult a physician today for treatment.
Treatment for Sleep Disorders
Problem snorers, those who snore in any position or are disruptive to the family, should seek medical advice to ensure that sleep apnea is not a problem. The otolaryngology specialists at Sound Health Services will provide a thorough examination of the nose, mouth, throat, palate and neck. A sleep study in a laboratory environment may be necessary to determine how serious the snoring is and what effects it has on the snorer’s health.
Treatment depends on the diagnosis. An examination and testing will reveal if the snoring is caused by nasal allergy, infection, deformity, or tonsils and adenoids. Snoring or obstructive sleep apnea may respond to various treatments now offered by the otolaryngology specialists at Sound Health Services.
Sleep disorders are conditions that prevent you from sleeping well on a regular basis. They are very common, affecting an estimated 75 percent of Americans on a regular basis. There are more than 100 different types of sleep disorders; the most common are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Central sleep apnea (CSA)
- Parasomnia (abnormal movements and behavior during sleep)
- Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness)
- Restless leg syndrome
- Circadian rhythm disorders
Symptoms vary depending on the type of sleep disorder and how severe its impact. A majority of patients report difficulty falling or staying asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, lack of concentration, memory loss, and depression.
Sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder that affects one in 15 Americans, with most cases undiagnosed. It occurs when a person experiences one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breathing while asleep. These pauses can last a few seconds to a few minutes. Generally, breathing begins again and is sometimes accompanied by snorting or choking.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosing and treating a sleep disorder is important in preventing more serious health problems from occurring. Most patients will need to undergo a polysomnography (sleep study), conducted in a sleep lab or at home. Other tests, such as an electroencephalogram and genetic blood testing, can be useful in a diagnosis.
With such a large number of recognized sleep disorders, there are many different causes. These include allergies and colds, chronic diseases, pain, stress and anxiety, work schedule and more. Treatment depends on the condition itself, but typically involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Surgery may be an option for certain breathing-related disorders, such as snoring or OSA.
Call Sound Health Services for more information or to schedule an appointment.