Sleep Disorders that Might be Affecting You
Sleep disorders are becoming more and more prevalent in the United States. While most believe sleep disorders are various conditions that prevent you from a good night’s rest, they can actually be much more serious. Not only can they stop you from being fully rested, but they can have greater consequences to your overall health. According to a recent study, more than 75 percent of people in the United States between the ages of 20 and 59 have reported that they have sleep problems on a regular basis. This could be a sign that a sleeping disorder is present.
It is normal to experience problems sleeping due to high stress. Just because your body is exhausted, it does not mean that your mind can shut down. How often have you laid down in bed with your mind running a mile a minute and because of this, you just cannot sleep for hours? If this happens on an almost nightly basis, then you might want to talk to a medical professional because this could be just one sign of a sleeping disorder.
There are several different symptoms for sleep disorders. It all depends on the type of disorder that the person may be facing. However, these symptoms can lead to depression, lack of energy, the inability to concentrate, and other serious consequences to your health. It’s important to receive a diagnosis and treatment quickly if you believe you have a sleep disorder. More than likely, it has been present for quite some time already. Below are a few of the more common sleep disorders to be aware of.
Willis-Ekbom Disease (Restless Legs Syndrome)
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an overwhelming need to constantly move your legs. The urge to do so can be very strong, and the person may be doing it without consciously realizing it. Many times it can be accompanied by a tingling sensation in the legs. These symptoms can display themselves during the day, but they are most likely happening more often at night. There can be much more serious health conditions associated with RLS. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Parkinson’s disease may be present. A sleep professional may recommend medication as a treatment.
Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)
RBD has been generally thought of as quite rare, but according to recent Mayo Clinic research, more instances of RBD may be prevalent. Men age 70 or older have been experiencing more frequent diagnosis of this sleep disorder. If you have ever seen anyone suffering from RBD, there is a good chance you will never forget it.
RBD is categorized under parasomnias. When people sleep, their body enters into a type of paralysis. This allows them to dream without jumping around the room in their sleep. RBD patients have an incomplete or entirely absent paralysis, meaning that they can indeed act out their dreams. These dreams are usually the most vivid, intense, and violent because they stir up quite a bit of emotion.
The person may begin talking in their sleep, even moving on to yelling. They may then start punching, kicking, grabbing, and jumping around the room. It might even lead to the person that is experiencing RBD to run around the house blindly. It is easy to see how this could become dangerous, especially for the elderly. Once again, this sleep disorder might be treated by medication.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that was first treated at the Mayo Clinic in the 1930s. It is recognized by the person experiencing severe “sleep attacks” during the day. It can literally happen at a moment’s notice. The person may suddenly feel extremely exhausted and fall asleep without any warning. It can seriously disrupt someone’s quality of life. You can see how it would be frowned upon at work to all of a sudden fall asleep on the job. Or even worse, have a sleep attack while driving. The key to treating narcolepsy is with a range of stimulant medications. However, finding the right dose can be tricky. The person should still be able to sleep at night comfortably.
Insomnia is the sleep disorder characterized by the inability of falling and staying asleep. Everyone experiences insomnia every now and then, but those that suffer from it nightly will have it greatly affect their quality of life.
Insomnia is classified into three categories. Chronic insomnia is when it happens on a regular basis for at least one month. Intermittent insomnia is when it takes place periodically off and on. Transient insomnia is when it happens a few nights here and there. It can often be treated with sleeping pills or other sleep aides.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is often overlooked by those suffering from it or their families around them. It is just not loud and obtrusive snoring. It involves the person pausing frequently while sleeping, often holding their breath for several minutes at a time. The body therefore takes in less oxygen and can greatly affect a person’s health, even inducing stroke or heart disease.
Luckily, there are sleep professionals out there like Dr. Avi Weisfogel. He left behind his successful dental practice to focus on diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. In doing so, he spent a couple years of his life researching on ways to best treat it. In the process, he spent millions of dollars creating oral appliances to correct the life threatening disorder.
He was listening to his dental patients concerns and it inspired Weisfogel into action. As a medical professional, he took their complaints very seriously. Not only did he open up a sleep clinic to treat these disorders, but he counsels other medical professionals on how to do the same. Sleeping disorders are quickly becoming more and more likely to be diagnosed if the person takes it upon themselves to seek the correct medical professional. If you have concerns about yourself or someone you know, do not hesitate to set up an appointment.
Read our previous article on Dr. Weisfogel here!