Over eighty sleep disorders are recognized by the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. Not only are there many disorders but many treatments. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions.
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the upper airway collapses when the individual is asleep. Some of the common signs are snoring, periods of the patient not breathing, restless sleep, frequent awakening, hypertension, diabetes, etc. Common symptoms include day time sleepiness, tiredness, frequent urination during the night, etc. Untreated sleep apnea has been shown to be associated with increased risk of hypertension, stroke, diabetes, depression and other disorders.
Insomnia is a common disorder in which patients have difficulty to initiate or to maintain sleep. It frequently manifests as day time tiredness, irritability, poor work performances, psychiatric disorders, etc. Many patients with insomnia have underlying undiagnosed anxiety or depression.
Restless Leg Syndrome is an urge to move one or both legs when they are at rest; this occurs mostly during the evening or sleep. It can be partially relieved by walking. Often, it manifests as kicking the legs during sleep.
A Sleep Disorder Center is a place or institution where patients with sleep or related disorders are evaluated and treated. Most of the sleep centers have diagnostic sleep labs. Most studies are done at night, although MSLT studies are done during day time.
To assist patients, we asked them to score the following scenarios using a scale of 0-3 with 0 being never and 3 being often.
Sitting and reading________________
Sitting inactive in a public place, such as a meeting or theatre________________
As a passenger in a car for an hour without break_________________
When circumstances permit, lying down in the afternoon_______________
Sitting and talking to someone______________
Sitting quietly after lunch (without alcohol)_____________
In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic_________________
If the score is more than ten, sleep apnea may be a strong consideration. Even
with a lower score, if an individual has diabetes or hypertension, the diagnosis or
sleep apnea is high.
A laboratory sleep study is considered the “gold standard” in accurately diagnosing sleep disorders. Athena Medical Clinic and Sleep Medicine Associates or Athens has a sleep lab that is equipped with the latest technology to monitor various brain activities and body systems while the patient sleeps. We analyze the results from the sleep study and provide appropriate treatments.
Polysomnography is an overnight test that measures multiple variables during sleep, including the patient’s airflow through the nose and mouth, blood pressure, electrocardiographic activity, blood oxygen level, brain wave patterns, eye movement and the movement of respiratory muscle and limbs. We also observe various sleep stages and body positions of the patient throughout the night.
We do home sleep studies for patients who are unable to come to the office. Small equipment, which weighs less than one-half pound is used for diagnosis.
Continuous positive airway pressure therapy is considered the most effective nonsurgical treatment for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea breathe more easily during sleep by increasing air pressure in the throat so the airway does not collapse while breathing.
MSLT, also called a “nap study,” is used to see how quickly a person falls asleep during the day. The MSLT is the standard way to measure the level of daytime sleepiness. Brain waves, heartbeat, eye and chin movements are recorded. This study also measures how quickly and how often one enters the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep.