Over 100 million Americans do not get a good night’s sleep. For many, this is due to them suffering from one of over 80 different types of sleep disorders. These disorders can lead to a variety of problems, including trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, difficulty staying awake during the day, sleepwalking, nightmares, and other problems which can greatly interfere with sleep.
Snoring is not just more than an annoyance, but is often a signal that there is abnormal interference with air intake during sleep. There is a considerable reason to treat snoring as more than just a nuisance, especially if it is loud enough to disturb others. There may be important health consequences for those who snore, including risk for diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Signs that snoring may be a sign of more serious health issues include decline in daytime alertness or energy, elevated blood pressure, morning headaches, or pauses in breathing during the night. Those who snore may suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Effective diagnosis is necessary to see what may be causing a person to snore.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. This leads to obstruction of the airway and lack of oxygen to the lungs. After a period of fighting to breathe, the person briefly arouses from sleep and regains airway muscle tone. This leads to sleep being extremely fragmented and of poor quality. Over 20 million American adults suffer from OSA, and more than 90% of these cases go untreated. OSA can lead to high blood pressure and other heart and lung problems, such as stroke and congestive heart failure, and even death. Diagnosis and treatment is available for those who suffer from OSA.
Common symptoms of OSA include:
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia can affect men and women of all ages, and can last for periods as short as a week to several years. Insomnia can lead to lowered performance at work or school, obesity, depression, anxiety, and poor immune system functioning. There are several causes of insomnia, including both physical and psychological factors. These causes include drugs like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, stress and anxiety, and many medical conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome, congestive heart failure, asthma and stroke. Evaluation and diagnosis can lead to treatment for sufferers of insomnia.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that can affect both the legs and the arms. Most people with the condition describe the feeling as being unpleasant, with “creepy, crawly” sensations occurring in the legs and arms when lying still, especially during bedtime. The feeling may appear most often in the calves, and can be relieved by stretching and moving the legs. The condition can lead to pain, insomnia, and thus, extreme daytime sleepiness. RLS can also affect how long people spend sitting still, affecting activities like travel, work, and leisure. A sleep test can help to diagnose the condition and treatments are available.
Narcolepsy is defined by a feeling of constant sleepiness and a tendency to fall asleep at inappropriate times. Narcolepsy can lead to drastic negative effects on a person’s quality of life. A person with narcolepsy not only suffers these sleep attacks, but also feels constantly tired and does not feel well rested after any amount of sleep. With proper diagnosis and treatment, those with narcolepsy can lead nearly normal lives.