Sleep Disorders

According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, 95% of those affected with sleep apnea remain undiagnosed, largely because health professionals have not had the opportunity to learn about sleep disorders and sleep deprivation. More health care professionals are now realizing the need to be able to identify, refer, or treat patients with sleep disorders.

Sleep Disorder Facts:

  • It is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders.
  • Most sleep disorders go undiagnosed and untreated for years, creating larger, life threatening health issues.
  • Sleep disorders can contribute to severe health problems including high blood pressure, irregular heart beat, and even heart attacks.

Types of Sleep Disorders:

There are many types of sleep disorders. Some of the more common sleep disorders are listed below.

  • Sleep Apnea - a potentially life threatening condition, is one of the most under-diagnosed sleep disorders. There are several types of sleep apnea:
    • Obstructive Sleep Apnea - occurs when air cannot flow freely to the lungs due to a  blocked airway.
    • Central Apnea - occurs when the brain fails to signal breathing muscles.
    • Mixed Apnea - both obstructive and central apnea’s are present
  • Narcolepsy - causes excessive drowsiness and a tendency to fall asleep at inappropriate times such as while eating, talking, or driving. Some individuals also experience sudden muscle weakness, usually brought on by emotions such as laughter and anger.
  • Insomnia - inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
  • Sleep-Wake Cycle Disorders – often occurs in individuals who keep irregular hours such as shift workers and people who travel a great deal.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome - characterized by an unpleasant “crawling” sensation in the limbs.
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder - involves repetitive movements, usually of the lower limbs. Often recognized as brief muscle twitching, jerking movements, or an upward flexing of the feet.
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