Education

Snoring/obstructive sleep apnea  (OSA)
Most, if not all of us have experienced someone snoring. It can range from light, intermittent to loud and disruptive. Unfortunately for the snorer it can be a sign of a more serious disease, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Symptoms of OSA include snoring, stopping breathing or pauses during sleep (called apnea), daytime fatigue, morning headaches, depression, and problems with memory and concentration. Untreated, it can lead to accidents, high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks, and makes diabetes more difficult to control. It can stress relationships, as the bed partner’s sleep is disrupted as well. Evaluation for OSA includes a polysomnogram, which is an overnight sleep test. This will determine the presence and severity of any OSA. There are several treatment options available including nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), weight loss, an oral appliance, and radiofrequency somnoplasty. Your options are based on several things, including the severity of your illness, previous options tried and/or failed, and insurance requirements. Regular follow-ups are important to be sure your therapy is optimized. www.sleepapnea.org

Insomnia
Many people experience occasional problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. For some, the problem becomes so severe that it negatively affects their daily functioning. It is important to rule out other sleep problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome/periodic limb movement disorder. It is also important to evaluate medications, lifestyle, and sleep habits, as they have a direct impact. There are many medications available that are safe, even for long-term use, as well as behavioral/relaxation techniques that can be used. www.sleepfoundation.org

Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is often misunderstood. It involves excessive daytime sleepiness such that the need to sleep overrides daytime functioning needs. It also can involve poor quality sleep overall, with some people also experiencing cataplexy, or sudden loss of muscle tone often due to strong emotion (“sleep attack”). People with narcolepsy are often thought of as being lazy and having poor self-control. In reality, narcolepsy is a disorder of the wake-center of the brain. A deficiency of hypocretin has been found in the brain fluid of some patients, but the overall mechanism of narcolepsy is not fully understood. The diagnosis of narcolepsy is made with an overnight sleep test (polysomnogram) followed by a daytime “nap challenge” (multiple sleep latency test, or MSLT). Treatment for narcolepsy includes stimulant medications and lifestyle management. If properly treated, people with narcolepsy can live a normal life. www.narcolepsynetwork.org

Restless legs syndrome/periodic limb movement disorder
People with restless legs syndrome (RLS) have an uncomfortable and irresistible urge to move their legs, which happens during periods of inactivity, such as sitting or lying down. It tends to start in the evening and can last through the night. It is relieved by moving the legs. Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) has similar symptoms to RLS but happens only during the night. It is important to rule out anemia and other sleep problems such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), as these must be treated first. Many people have RLS/PLMD without any identifiable cause. The good news is that there are medications available to help, and it has no relationship with Parkinson’s disease (another motion disorder). www.rls.org

Other sleep disorders
Sleep eating, parasomnias, night terrors, shift work sleep disorder, delayed sleep phase syndrome, sleep walking and REM-behavior disorders are examples of sleep disorders that are less common. If you think you have a sleep disorder, please discuss it with your provider, as there is most likely a treatment available that can improve the situation. www.sleepfoundation.org

CPAP service/supplies
One of the most important influences on a patient’s success or failure with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is follow-up. Even if it seems “little” or that it is a recurrence of previous problem (no matter how many times), please speak up! The key to success is a positive, interactive relationship between patient and provider. A CPAP that is not used will not help, and sleep apnea can have serious consequences if not treated appropriately. Our providers, respiratory therapists, sleep technicians and nurses are knowledgeable, sympathetic, and professional. Our office staff is knowledgeable in a variety of insurance plans. Together, we are dedicated to doing what it takes to make our patients’ CPAP experience as efficient and enjoyable as possible. www.sleepapnea.org