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WHAT TYPES OF SLEEP DISORDERS CAN BE TREATED WITH SLEEP MEDICINE?

Sleep medicine is one way to treat many chronic sleep disorders. Sleep medicine is a practice where trained specialists—or sleep doctors—can assist patients who suffer from disorders or conditions that affect their ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or experience restful sleep. Such physicians can research, diagnose, treat, prevent and manage complications surrounding sleep and can be found at any Sleep Clinic Michigan.

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF SLEEP DISORDERS THAT MANY PEOPLE FACE?

Sleep disorders can impair both the quality and quantity of your sleep, and usual daytime wakefulness. The effect of which is seen on your daytime functioning, and physical and mental health. You may know not it, but sleep disorders can contribute significantly to the onset of various medical, psychiatric, and psychosocial problems. Hence, it is important to understand the types of sleep disorders that you can possibly have and their respective treatments.

SLEEP APNEA:

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the person’s breathing pattern is hindered while they’re asleep. It is characterized by a continuous interruption in breathing during sleep, which may occur repetitively as well.

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder in which there is either partial or complete airway blockage due to the collapse of the tissues at the back of the throat. In central sleep apnea, a neurological sleep disorder, the brain is unable to send signals to muscles involved in breathing. The etiology of central sleep apnea is the inefficiency of the respiratory control center in the central nervous system.

How To Identify Sleep Apnea?

In OSA, the symptoms are more often noticed by the patient’s bed partner rather than the patient themselves. The clinical signs include:
snoring
fatigue during the day
uneasiness during sleep
choking or gasping for air in sleep
difficulty in sleeping
headache

In CSA, people mostly describe symptoms as frequent awakenings, insomnia, choking or gasping for air, and waking up with a start.

INSOMNIA:

Insomnia is perhaps, the most known sleep disorder, to which most people would relate to. If you have insomnia, you’d struggle to fall asleep or remain asleep during the night. You’d also end up waking up early and not feeling refreshed due to poor sleep.

Insomnia can be acute, which is characterized by occasional episodes of sleeplessness and is experienced by 50% of adults. However, chronic insomnia is when the person experiences long-term symptoms for at least three nights per week for a month or more. Around 1 in 10 adults suffer from chronic insomnia and it is twice as common in women as in men. Insomnia can also be categorized into primary insomnia and comorbid insomnia. The disorder is not associated with another underlying health condition in the former. In comorbid insomnia, the symptoms may be due to underlying health problems, pain, medications, and substance abuse.

How to identify insomnia?

Insomnia is identified via various kinds of evaluation, such as a physical exam, and past medical and sleep history. Your physician may also require you to maintain a sleep diary to record the quality and quantity of sleep. On the basis of such records, the physician will identify insomnia if present.

RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME:

As the name indicates, RLS, another sleep disorder is characterized by an intense, uncomfortable sensation in the legs. While it may occur at any age, RLS is more common in adults and dominant in women as compared to men. In RLS, you may experience sensations that can be defined as tingling, extending, or aching. It may be partially or completely relieved by stretching the leg.

How is RLS diagnosed?

To diagnose RLS, the sleep specialist evaluates your medical and sleep history. They also conduct a physical and neurological examination for the presence of nerve damage or issues related to blood vessels. If the physician suspects any underlying medical disorder such as iron deficiency, renal disease, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, they may prescribe a blood test.

NARCOLEPSY:

Like OSA was a breathing-related sleep disorder, narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects sleep. It is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and episodes of sleep attacks during the day.

If you suffer from narcolepsy, you would be experiencing an irresistible urge to sleep during the day. Its symptoms also include a sudden decrease in muscle tone or weakness (cataplexy) and sleep paralysis.

How is narcolepsy identified?

Narcolepsy is diagnosed via two sleep lab tests including a polysomnogram (PSG) and multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT).

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM DISORDERS:

Circadian rhythm disorder is characterized by disruptions in the circadian rhythm that maintains the 24-hour biological cycle. The sleep disorder is presented as a frequent or occasional disturbance in the sleep cycle. As a result, you’d either experience insomnia or excessive sleepiness.

How are circadian rhythm disorders identified?

It is a challenging feat to diagnose such disorders. The sleep specialist will first rule out the chances of other sleep disorders that alter the diagnosis. They may prescribe overnight or daytime sleep studies to make an adequate diagnosis.

WHAT ARE SOME TREATMENT OPTIONS?

The ideal treatment strategy for treating OSA is CPAP therapy and titration. It is the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate sleep apnea. In CPAP therapy, the patient wears an appliance that prevents the throat from blocking the back of the throat. In CPAP titration, the physicians identify the ideal pressure required to prevent the blockage.

Apart from CPAP, other methods include nasal expiration positive airway pressure and oral pressure therapy. The former includes mechanical valves being placed at the nasals. In oral pressure therapy, an oral vacuum is used to stabilize the tongue and prevent it from blocking the airway.

Insomnia:

Insomnia does not require extensive treatment strategies but certain lifestyle amendments and therapies. Its treatment options include ensuring good sleep habits, and cognitive behavioral therapy with or without relying on short-term sleep aids. Amongst these strategies, the most viable for insomnia is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).

The multiphase treatment addresses the patient’s behavior and cognition. The behavioral aspect of CBT-I features two research-backed treatment strategies including sleep restriction therapy and stimulus control therapy. It aims to amplify the quality and quantity of sleep. On the other hand, the cognitive component alters sleep-related thoughts.

RLS:

RLS is treated in a variety of ways depending on the intensity of its symptoms. Sometimes, RLS manifests itself as a symptom of another medical condition. By resolving it, RLS is treated as well. In case the conditions cannot be treated such as renal failure, the physician opts for symptomatic relief of RLS.

Narcolepsy does not require clinical strategies for its treatment. Instead, it can be managed by improving daytime alertness to improve productivity. Physicians advise their patients to maintain and follow a sleep-wake schedule regularly. You may also be advised to avoid substances such as alcohol and caffeine that alter the sleep pattern. Narcolepsy can also be treated by avoiding sleeping in late on weekends and taking short naps during the day.

Circadian rhythm can be treated via behavior therapy, bright light therapy, medications, and chronotherapy; depending on how it affects your quality of life.

DON’T SUFFER ALONE, SEEK HELP!

If you are unable to sleep peacefully at night, it’s time to stop struggling and find adequate treatment. Visit our Lung and Sleep disorder center for timely treatment.

ALSO READ: Restructure Your Smile To Perfection With Dental Implants

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