The American Sleep Association states that 50 to 70 million adults in the United States are affected by sleep disorders. These sleep disorders can have profound effects on your overall health. In fact, some of them are accompanied by severe health risks that are much more serious than just being a bit tired.
Listed below are the four most prevalent sleep disorders reported. If you believe that someone you know is suffering from one of these, it is important that they seek out the proper medical attention. While it may not seem too serious to you, it is essential that a medical diagnosis is made and that the person is treated adequately. It could save them from serious health consequences later on.
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. This may be short term insomnia or chronic insomnia that lasts for possibly years. Short term is usually caused by something troubling happening at that time in your life. Maybe there is a relationship ending, financial difficulties, or a death in the family. Chronic insomnia will often have no concrete reason that it is happening. Although, depression can lead to chronic insomnia.
Symptoms of insomnia include not being able to sleep even when you are exhausted. Then when you wake in the morning, it feels like you did not sleep a wink. This leads to an inability to concentrate, it will definitely make you grumpy, headaches, and a lack of a social life.
There are treatments for insomnia. The ones most often prescribed for serious cases has to do with medication. There are medicines on the market, both over the counter or prescription, that will make it possible for someone to sleep. It is also a good idea to avoid alcohol and anything with caffeine.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that literally affects millions. What can be frustrating is that the person suffering from it may not even know they have it. It is a condition where the person’s airway becomes blocked while sleeping, resulting with the person not breathing for several seconds or even a few minutes possibly hundreds of times a night. Choking noises usually are made when the person starts to breathe again. Sleep apnea is frequently accompanied with loud snoring. Sleep apnea results with the brain becoming oxygen deprived. It can even result in heart disease or stroke.
Sleep apnea can be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It is used as a way to keep the airway open as you sleep by air pressure through a mask. It is frequently prescribed by a doctor to combat sleep apnea. It does require being hooked up to a machine at night and wearing a mask.
Also, if the person suffering from sleep apnea is overweight, it could be cured by them changing their lifestyle and losing weight. The United States is the most overweight country in the world. Nearly fifty percent of the adult population is either overweight or clinically obese. The extra weight makes it difficult for the person to breathe well. The bigger the neck that someone has, the more difficult it is to breathe while lying down and sleeping. The extra fat blocks the airway, obstructing it so much that sleep apnea occurs. Dieting means that the person is changing what they eat for a certain amount of time. This is not good enough. The change should last a whole lifetime. Portion control and eating smartly can result in sleep apnea being cured for many people.
There is another way to treat sleep apnea effectively. Dr. Avi Weisfogel was a dentist operating a successful practice for fifteen years. During this time, he had been noticing more and more patients suffering from sleep apnea. This eventually led to a new passion for Dr. Weisfogel. He was determined to diagnose and treat those suffering from this sleep disorder.
Weisfogel left his practice behind and started to focus on creating his own sleep clinic. After a couple years, he was able to start accumulating enough patients with sleep apnea to make a difference. He had spent millions of dollars creating oral appliances for those that have sleep apnea. They are to be worn at night by the patient, and it will open the airway more to prevent the constant breathing problem. Weisfogel now helps other medical professionals with opening their own sleep clinics in their offices.
Narcolepsy can be a debilitating sleep disorder where the person can literally fall asleep out of nowhere in a matter of seconds. For those that have seen this done in person, it leaves you scratching your head. It can severely limit your lifestyle and have a huge detrimental effect on your career. It is a disorder that works its way into every aspect of your life.
There are ways to treat narcolepsy that can have the person leading a somewhat normal life. There are medications that can be prescribed by a doctor that will assist with alleviating the constant tiredness that accompanies narcolepsy. It is also important to schedule naps during the day to help regulate the times when the person is able to sleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a disorder where the person has an uncontrollable urge to move their legs while they are resting. Sometimes there is also aching, burning, and a feeling that something is crawling on their legs. These symptoms may be present even during the day, but more so at night. The person suffering from it feels better when they are moving or walking. People that pace back and forth sometimes will have restless legs syndrome.
There are medications that can be used to lessen the need to constantly be moving. There is also behavioral therapy that can result with helping those suffering from RLS.
Read our previous article mentioning Dr. Weisfogel here!