Each year, some 38,000 cardiovascular deaths are attributed to sleep apnea or cessation of breathing. Sleep disorders, which affect some four percent of the general population, prevent you from getting a full night's sleep and deprive the body of time to recover from each day's activities. Comprehensive, state-of-the-art sleep laboratories at Northwest Hospital, which are staffed by certified technicians and supervised by a board-certified medical director, are utilized to diagnose sleep disorders for patients 18 and older.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
- Daytime sleepiness
- Frequent nighttime urination
- High blood pressure
- Irritability or moodiness
- Loud, irregular snoring
- Memory loss
- Morning headaches
- Poor concentration
The Sleep Disorders Center at Northwest Hospital is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and staffed by physicians who are board-certified in sleep medicine. The state-of-the-art center offers comfortable, hotel-like, private rooms, each with its own private bathroom and a Select ComfortTM Sleep Number(R) bed. Sleep studies are performed seven days a week.
Types of Sleep Disorders
Apnea sufferers stop breathing for 10 to 60 seconds or longer and often awake with a loud snort or jerking motion when they gasp for air, resulting in disruptions to sleep several times during the night and contributing to increased fatigue and sleepiness during the day.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The airway in the back of the throat collapses and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs and reaching the bloodstream, causing periods of apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea
The brain may fail to signal the chest muscles to breathe, causing periods of apnea.
Periodic involuntary leg movements or jerking motions during sleep may cause a lighter, less restful sleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Involuntary, periodic nighttime leg movements disrupt sleep and cause leg discomfort once you awaken.
Gastric acid may back up into the esophagus, disturbing sleep and causing you to awaken several times during the night.
Nightmares, night terrors, sleep walking and bedwetting may all contribute to complaints of insomnia.
Excessive daytime sleepiness may occur, despite a full night's sleep. Uncontrollable sleep attacks during the day may last minutes or hours.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Sleep disorders can usually be diagnosed through a single sleep study, although additional studies are sometimes needed to confirm findings. Sleep studies are available at Northwest between 8:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. seven days per week. Depending on the type and severity of apnea, you can get help through:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a small machine that blows air into the nose through a nasal mask and keeps the airway from collapsing.
- Dental appliances
- Weight loss
What Happens During A Sleep Study
Upon arrival at the Sleep Center, a technologist explains the testing procedure and conducts a detailed sleep, wakefulness and neurological history. You then prepare for bed in the usual manner. Electrodes and sensors are applied to your head, face and legs. The sensors applied to the head and legs show if the sleep pattern is disturbed. A sensor taped to the nose measures airflows from the nose and mouth to identify any breathing abnormalities that occur during sleep. The sensors on your chest monitor heart rate, rhythm and breathing effort. A sensor attached to the finger monitors oxygen levels.
State-of-the-art, computer-assisted devices monitor sleeping patterns and levels of CPAP in therapeutic trials. Most patients are fully rested and able to work the next day following the sleep study.
For More Information
To learn more about the Sleep Disorders Center and if you qualify for a sleep study, call 410-701-4559.