Sleep disorders can affect people of any age. Problems with falling asleep, staying asleep, or difficulties staying awake during the day are the most common complaints from people who suffer with sleep disorders. But in many cases, sleep disorders may go unnoticed for years. For example, sleep apnea is estimated to affect up to ten percent of the population, but often, the problem remains undiagnosed.
The reasons are twofold:
- The sleeping individual may be unaware of his or her breathing disturbances that take place every night.
- The daytime symptoms associated with sleep apnea, such as fatigue, high blood pressure, depression, etc., may be attributed to other causes and not correlated to a sleep problem.
Narcolepsy is another sleep disorder that is often undiagnosed. Patients with narcolepsy may present with strange symptoms, including feelings of temporary paralysis and hallucinations, often associated with excitement or emotion. These may be misinterpreted as psychiatric disturbances instead of a sleep disorder.
Sleep disorders can range from relatively benign conditions, such as sleepwalking in children, to more serious problems, such as violent behaviors during sleep, nocturnal seizures, or sleep related cardiac arrhythmias. Sleep may induce or exacerbate many forms of sleep disordered breathing including obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, upper airway resistance syndrome, or sleep related hypoventilation.
An accurate evaluation of sleep disorders relies on overnight sleep studies, conducted by specially trained technologists who monitor and record various activities during sleep. After each study, the record is visually analyzed and interpreted by a sleep specialist. At Rogue Valley Sleep Center, we do not use automated data analysis, because it may produce false results.
Once diagnosed, most sleep disorders can be treated rapidly and effectively. Accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatment, individually tailored to each patient, ensures optimal outcomes and helps restore natural, healthy sleep.
© 2008 N. Butkov