Archive for the ‘Sleep Apnea’ Category

Who needs a sleep study?

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

From the website of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health.I

f you often feel very sleepy, even though you’ve spent enough time in bed to be well rested, talk with your doctor about whether you might benefit from a sleep study.

Doctors can diagnose some sleep disorders by asking questions about your sleep schedule and habits and by getting information from sleep partners or parents.

To diagnose other sleep disorders, doctors also use the results from sleep studies and other medical tests.

Sleep studies often are used to diagnose sleep-related breathing disorders. Signs of these disorders include loud snoring, gasping, or choking sounds while you sleep or pauses in breathing during sleep.

Other common signs and symptoms of sleep disorders include the following:

  • It takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night.
  • You often wake up during the night and then have trouble falling back to sleep, or you wake up too early and aren’t able to go back to sleep.
  • You feel sleepy during the day and fall asleep within five minutes
  • if you have a chance to nap, or you fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day.
  • You have creeping, tingling, or crawling feelings in your legs that are relieved by moving or massaging them, especially in the evening and when you try to fall asleep.
  • You have vivid, dreamlike experiences while falling asleep or dozing.
  • You have episodes of sudden muscle weakness when you’re angry, fearful, or when you laugh.
  • You feel as though you can’t move when you first wake up.
  • Your bed partner notes that your legs or arms jerk often during sleep.
  • You regularly feel the need to use stimulants, such as caffeine, to stay awake during the day.

Talk with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of a sleep disorder. It’s important to note how tired you feel and whether your signs and symptoms affect your daily routine.In infants and children, many of the same signs and symptoms of sleep disorders can occur.

If your child has persistent snoring or other signs or symptoms of sleep problems, talk with his or her doctor.If you’ve had a sleep disorder for a long time, it may be hard for you to notice how it affects your daily routine.

Using a sleep diary, such as the one found in “Your Guide to Healthy Sleep,” may be helpful.

Your doctor will work with you to help decide whether you need a sleep study. A sleep study allows your doctor to observe sleep patterns and diagnose a sleep disorder, which can then be treated.Certain medical conditions have been linked to sleep disorders.

These include heart failure, coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), obesity, diabetes,high blood pressure, and stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA, or “mini-stroke”).If you have or have had one of these conditions, talk with your doctor about whether it would be helpful to have a sleep study.

First NY Professional Sleep Medicine Conference To Be Held in Albany, NY Oct. 1-2

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Medical Reporters Welcome
Written by: David Castillo on September 9th, 2010

First NY Professional Sleep Medicine Conference To Be Held in Albany, NY Oct. 1-2, 2010: Medical Reporters Welcome read this item [Newswise] — The New York State Society of Sleep Medicine (NYSSSM) will hold its first annual meeting and sleep conference, featuring speakers who are nationally recognized experts in clinical sleep medicine, on October 1-2, 2010 in Albany, NY.

Among the topics at the two-day conference for physicians, psychologists, dentists and technologists are:
• “Recent Advances in the Treatment of Excessive Sleepiness,” Michael Thorpy, MD, first president of NYSSSM and Director, Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, Montefiore Medical Center (MMC) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), Bronx, NY.
• “What Animals Can Tell Us About Sleep,” George Zhao, Neurology Fellow, Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, MMC, Bronx, NY.
• “Sleepiness and Depression,” Jon Freeman, PhD, Director of Laboratory Services, Sleep Disorders Institute, New York, NY.
• “Sleepiness in Women,” Joyce Walsleben, RN, PhD, NYU School of Medicine, NYU Sleep Disorder Center, New York, NY.
• “Short and Long Sleep Time and Health Risks,” James Gangwisch, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Reporters and medical writers are welcome, for free, but must register by contacting Jerilyn Saalman, Clinicians can register by contacting Stephen Feld, A full schedule of events for the conference, including corporate sponsors, is available at the NYSSSM web site:

CPAP treatments said to restore brain function

Friday, September 10th, 2010

As reported on, researchers in Italy have discovered that people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), may be able to increase their volume of brain gray matter through CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy.

In a study involving 17 patients with OSA and 15 healthy people, principal researcher Vincenza Castronovo of the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele and San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy found that patients with OSA had reductions of gray matter volume and an associated decrease in neuropsychologic performance.

After three months of CPAP therapy, the OSA patients showed a significant increase in gray matter volume and in neuropsychologic testing.

No further improvement in gray matter volume was noted when patients were re-evaluated after one year of CPAP therapy, writes WebMD Health News contributor Bill Hendrick.

OSA, a sleep-related breathing disorder that typically sees a decrease or temporary halt in airflow, despite an ongoing effort to breathe, occurs when muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway.

The result includes partial reductions and complete pauses in breathing that can produce abrupt reductions in blood oxygen levels and reduce blood flow to the brain.

CPAP therapy corrects low levels of oxygen in the blood and reduces pauses in breathing by providing a steady flow of air through a facemask that is worn while sleeping.

The gray matter, which refers to the cerebral cortex, is where the brain does most of its processing of information. It has a gray-colored appearance because it lacks the myelin insulation that makes most other parts of the brain look white.

In the study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging and voxel-based morphometry, a neuroimaging analysis technique, to scan brains and describe differences in gray matter. While patients with OSA initially had reductions in gray matter volume in several regions of the brain, significant increases in gray matter volume were noted after three months of CPAP therapy in specific regions of the brain — the hippocampus and frontal areas.

Those improvments were said to specifically correlate with the improvement at neuropsychological tests of executive functioning and short-term memory, according to Dr. Castronovo, who says measuring neuropsychological performance may help doctors assess patients with obstructive sleep apnea to determine the effectiveness of treatment.

“Our results also suggest that specific neuropsychological measures are valuable tools for the assessment of therapy success and can offer to patients and physicians the evidence that adherence to treatment can lead not only to clinical but also to brain-structural recovery.” As the article points out, gray matter deficits in people with obstructive sleep apnea also were reported in the February 2010 issue of the journal Sleep. A French study published in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of Sleep Research reported gray matter loss in multiple brain regions in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Castronovo and colleagues say their study, findings of which were presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in San Antonio, provides evidence that CPAP therapy works and offers hope to obstructive sleep apnea patients.

Untreated sleep apnea can cause variety of problems

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Untreated sleep apnea is on the rise in people in the 25- to 45-year-old age group.

So says a respiratory therapist and owner of a Buffalo, N.Y.-area apnea clinic, quoted in the Buffalo News online.

Having sleep apnea can affect a person’s mood and psychological wellness, says Fermoile, often without the person being aware of the cause.

“People have no clue that this is going on,” Fermoile told the newspaper. “People will say they feel worse in the morning than at night. That’s just bizarre. That’s like being hungrier after dinner than before.”

Fermoile, who owns Apnea Care, treats patients in Erie and Niagara counties, often teams up with Dr. Dan Rifkin, a neurologist and owner of the Sleep Centers of Western New York.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops during the night – possibly many times each night. Typically, the stops last only a few seconds, followed by a resumption of breathing and sleep.

While the sleeper is unlikely to remember being briefly awake, the condition is considered serious enough to warrant treatment.

For his part, Fermoile says part of the education role in treating sleep apnea is not only understanding what’s really going on, but debunking misconceptions, one being that apnea only affects people who are overweight.

And then there’s the age issue.

“It used to be people who were only over 50 [would come in for treatment]. Now, we’re seeing a huge number of people between 25 and 45,” he said. “I think it’s because they never had their tonsils and adenoids out.”

There are warning signs of sleep apnea or hypopnia, a related condition in which the sleeper’s breathing slows but does not entirely stop, says Fermoile. They include:

• Family history: those whose family members have sleep apnea may be at higher risk
• Snoring: especially if the snoring includes little breaks in the middle of snores
• Blood pressure: Some apnea patients have problems with high blood pressure, but not always. Fermoile suggests having blood pressure tested while asleep, typically during a sleep study
• Acid reflux that occurs at night
• Morning headaches or “foggy” feelings, symptoms that usually go away, which may be the result of a low oxygen level resulting from sleep apnea
• Short-term memory problems.
• Leg cramps, especially at night.
• A feeling of being warm or hot, especially at night, which can also be a symptom of the low oxygen levels of apnea.

Weight linked with sleep disorders in Australia

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia shows a link between obesity and sleep disorders.

A review of some 20 years of records for a sleep clinic in Newcastle, Australia, revealed the link, said specialist Dr. Jeffrey Pretto. “We found that the average male that we did a sleep study on put on about 10 kg (22 pounds) and the average female about 12 kg (26 pounds).”

Dr. Pretty also pointed to an increase in the percentage of sleep clinic patients who were severely obese—having a Body Mass Index of more than 40.

“Back in 1987, only three percent of people that were referred to us for sleep studies we’d classify as having morbid obesity. In 2007, that went up to 15 percent.”

The research showed for every unit increase on the body mass index, male patients suffered an extra 5.5 problematic breathing events per hour of sleep while for women they had an additional 2.8 events.

Parents should help teens get back on right sleep track

Saturday, August 7th, 2010 – HOUSTON — ( August 4, 2010 ) —

Computers, televisions and cell phones are preventing your teen from getting enough sleep, and that can affect grades and day to day life, said a sleep expert at Baylor College of Medicine.

“Because teens tend to stay up and wake up later in the summer, their bodies get used to it, making it harder to wake up early in the morning when the school year begins,” said Dr. Philip Alapat, assistant professor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at BCM and medical director of the BCM Sleep Center.

Sleep deprived
Teens should be getting eight to nine hours of sleep a night, but most do not. This makes them sleep deprived, and it gets worse as the week progresses. This is why teens may prefer to sleep in on the weekends to make up their sleep debt, said Alapat.

However, this type of sleep pattern is not ideal.

“When teens are sleep deprived, it can result in poor performance in school. It can also result in mood changes and sleepiness in dangerous situations like driving,” said Alapat.

Routines rock!
Parents should help teens develop and maintain a regular, nightly sleep routine that doesn’t involve televisions, computers or cell phones. Teens should also avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening as this promotes late bedtimes.

Sleep deprivation may also be associated with other sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. If a teen has symptoms such as snoring, gasping or choking in their sleep, they may need to be evaluated by a specialist to see if they have a sleep disorder.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea linked to type 2 diabetes

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Written by: David Castillo on July 1st, 2010

Obstructive Sleep Apnea linked to type 2 diabetes read this item Did you know that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can increase risk for type 2 diabetes?

This sleep disorder is characterized by temporary pauses in breathing while sleeping. This occurs because the airway is repeatedly blocked throughout the night.

Millions of people suffer from the condition, but are unaware of it. Apart from its discomforts, sleep apnea is also associated with cardiovascular problems, obesity, and, most recently, type 2 diabetes.

According to Dr. Gary Foster, obesity is one of the main risk factors. He explains: “Excess weight deposits extra fat around the thorax, reducing chest compliance and functional capacity, while increasing oxygen demand.”

Based on Foster’s research, more than 80 percent of obese patients have undiagnosed sleep apnea. Further studies suggest that untreated OSA affects the body blood glucose control. It is also associated with depression, high-blood pressure, heart attacks, and other health problems.

While sleep apnea can easily be treated, people who suffer from it are often unaware of its presence. If you think that there are abnormalities in your sleep behavior, it is best to have yourself checked in your nearest sleep clinic.

Source: DiabetesHealth

Lack of sleep linked to many problems in kids

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Posted on June 5, 2010

More than two million kids have sleep disorders.

Three-year-old Jack Frank’s nighttime snoring and daytime grouchiness led to a diagnosis of sleep apnea. The fix wasn’t meds or machines. Instead surgeons took out his tonsils.

“That amount of obstruction in the back of the throat can contribute to difficulty with sleep apnea,” said Dr. Leslie H. Boyce, Pediatric Sleep Specialist.

One study found tonsillectomies, along with removing the adenoids, improved sleep for 80 to 90 percent of kids.

“Even kids who don’t have official abnormalities on their sleep study, but have big tonsils, and snore, actually benefit cognitively by having their tonsils removed. And they do better in school,” said Dr. Boyce.

Sleep disorders may also disguise themselves. A study in the journal Pediatrics found 28 percent of kids referred to a doctor for sleep problems, also had ADHD symptoms. After treating the sleep disorder, half of them no longer qualified for an ADHD diagnosis.

In teens, sleep problems impact academics. In one study, Minnesota researchers found students who got A’s were getting 15 more minutes of sleep than B students. Those B students got 11 more minutes of shut-eye than C students.

Doctors say fixing nighttime problems is a start to solving daytime stress for kid of all ages.

Sleep experts say kids in grade school may need up to twelve hours of sleep each night. Teens typically need about nine hours.

Dr. Boyce says about a third of kids have trouble sleeping through the night.

Sleep Apnea: The Not So Silent Killer

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

by Dr. Najeeb Zuberi. Originally Posted: April 28, 2010 12:32 PM
Huffington Post Article

If you or your sleep partner snores, you may be suffering from a more serious and potentially life threatening health issue–sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans: 90-pecent of which do not even realize they suffer from this condition.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by a reduction or pause of airflow (breathing) during sleep. This disruption in your natural breathing pattern triggers the body to violently awaken itself with a rush of adrenaline. Essentially, the cardiovascular system is shocked into awakening the sleeper to prevent damage to the body or more importantly, death.

This disruption in an individual’s breathing pattern can happen several times during the night and episodes can actually stop someone from breathing for several minutes. Most people who suffer from sleep apnea do not remember the episodes, but it can result in daytime exhaustion. With so many people unaware of their condition, this can lead to years of sleep deprivation.

Effects of Sleep Apnea
Many of my patients report health, social and professional problems associated with exhaustion. But feeling tired and lackluster is not the only medical concern for my patients; there are many primary health concerns associated with sleep apnea. The traumatic sleep apnea episodes negatively affect the heart which is why many individuals who suffer have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and arrhythmias. Sleep apnea can also cause sleep deprivation which many believe is a leading cause of auto-related accidents.

Even if you are not diagnosed with sleep apnea, mild and chronic snoring can be equally harmful to you and certainly detrimental to your sleeping partner’s health.

Effects of Snoring
Like sleep apnea, snoring also disrupts the normal breathing pattern during the night, limiting chances for a healthy sleep process. While most people don’t think of snoring as problematic, it affects millions of Americans, especially people who are overweight or over 50 years of age.

Many of my patients have expressed how their snoring negatively impacts their personal lives or how this condition has even impacted their relationship with their significant other. Individuals who snore often awake feeling tired and fatigued and in order to achieve a healthy and restorative night’s rest one must get the proper amount of both deep sleep and REM (dream state) sleep to reenergize the body.
So what are my treatment choices? My first recommendation is to see your neurologist or a sleep specialist. After you have been properly diagnosed you can then address your specific problem.
If you are diagnosed with severe sleep apnea you may be required to use a CPAP (Continues Positive Airway Pressure) device. This machine opens up the person’s airway during sleep by a constant flow of pressurized air into the throat. This prescribed treatment is generally preferred over a more invasive surgical treatment.

However if your sleep apnea is mild or if you are one of the millions of American’s like me who snore, then there is a cost effective and affordable answer for you (and your partner). The Sona “Stop Snoring” pillow is the only medically tested, and FDA cleared registered medical pillow designed to treat mild sleep apnea and to help prevent snoring. This patented technologically advanced pillow not only will assist in treating your mild sleep apnea and snoring issue, but it will also help you achieve a more restorative nights rest.

I designed the Sona Pillow to encourage a more natural and comfortable sleeping position. The pillow will reposition the jaw and assist in the opening of your airway to help you breathe more freely and get a great night’s sleep.

Less Sleep Linked With More Eating

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Published: April 26, 2010

New York Times

Looking to lose a little weight? Portion size and exercise are crucial. But don’t forget about a good night’s rest.

Scientists have known for years that skimping on sleep is associated with weight gain. A good example was a study published in 2005, which looked at 8,000 adults over several years as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night corresponded with a greater risk of weight gain and obesity, and the risk increased for every hour of lost sleep.

More recent studies have taken a much closer look.

One published this year in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition took a small group of men and measured their food intake across two 48-hour periods, one in which they slept eight hours and another in which they slept only four. After the night of abbreviated sleep, the men consumed more than 500 extra calories (roughly 22 percent more) than they did after eight hours of sleep. A University of Chicago study last year had similar findings in both men and women: subjects took in significantly more calories from snacks and carbohydrates after five and a half hours of sleep than after eight and a half hours.

Some studies pin the blame on hormones, arguing that decreased sleep creates a spike in ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, and a reduction in leptin, which signals satiety. But more study is needed.


Losing sleep may increase appetite and, as a result, weight.