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Sleep Medicine FAQs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. It is estimated that 80 – 100 million Americans are sleep deprived, 50-70 million Americans have some kind of sleep disorder, and 80% are undiagnosed.

Q: What is sleep medicine?

A: Sleep medicine is a medical specialty or subspecialty devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disturbances and disorders.

Q: What does a sleep medicine specialist treat?

A: There are more than 80 sleep disorders, and the specialist focuses on the top five- sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.

Q: What is sleep apnea?

A: It is also called obstructive sleep apnea. Essentially the person with sleep apnea stops breathing many times at night, causing them to snore loudly, gasp for air, wake frequently and sleep lightly. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness. It strains the heart, raises blood pressure, and the risk of stroke and heart attack. It shortens a person’s life and in the worst cases, can quadruple the risk of death.

Q: What causes sleep apnea?

A: It is the result of a blockage of air flow which is often due to poor muscle tone and soft tissues in the throat which collapse during sleep, and block the airway. It is related to obesity, heart disease, a family history of sleep apnea, allergies, smoking, a small airway and enlarged tonsils.

Q: Who gets sleep apnea?

A: Mostly men, but many women have it and don’t get diagnosed. For women, the risk increases with pregnancy and after menopause. More than 25 million Americans have sleep apnea, and that is just those who have been diagnosed. Some estimates suggest that one in four adults ages 30-70 have sleep apnea. And, sleep apnea affects about 10% of children who snore.

Q: How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

A: Your Pinehurst sleep doctor will evaluate your symptoms and risk factors, and order a sleep study to help them diagnose your problem. Symptoms include daytime sleepiness, poor attention, mouth breathing, and poor performance. A sleep study is non-invasive and is the gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea.  During your sleep your breathing, sleep patterns, oxygen levels, heart rates, snoring and body movements will be monitored.

Q: What is insomnia?

A: Insomnia is difficultly sleeping, either falling or staying asleep. Chronic insomnia touches about one third of Americans, and 10% have chronic insomnia. Symptoms are fatigue, low energy, problems with concentration and mood disorders. Insomnia affects the quality of your sleep; and causes or aggravates anxiety, stress and depression. It often results from poor sleep habits, and can be remedied with medications, and behavior changes.

Q: Is snoring dangerous?

A: Habitual snoring is related to serious health problems, and is a common symptom of sleep apnea. Infrequent snoring it is annoying, particularly if you have a sleep partner, and can interfere with your quality of life, and even your marriage.

Q: How is snoring diagnosed?

A: Your Pinehurst Sleep doctor will review your eating habits, the medicines you take, ask about your allergies, and whether you smoke and drink alcohol. They will also examine your throat and nose, mouth and jaw to rule out abnormalities that cause snoring. When sleep apnea may be the cause of your snoring, they will request that you keep a diary of your sleep and snoring patterns. And, they will recommend a sleep study to determine whether you stop breathing during sleep.

Q: What is enough sleep?

A: According to the CDC, healthy sleep duration is at least 7 hours a night for optimal health. The average American sleeps 6.8 hours at night and 40% sleep less than six hours at night.

Q: What are the risks of not getting enough sleep?

A: An increased risk of type 2 diabetes, depression, ADHD, obesity, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Sleeplessness is estimated to cause nearly 20% of serious auto crash injuries, 1500 deaths and 40,000 injuries annually according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Poor sleep negatively affects our well-being, and work and life performance.

Q: Who is affected by poor sleep?

A: 35% of men and 39% of women. 97% of teens. 70% of college students.

At Pinehurst Surgical, each of our surgeons in Pinehurst, Sanford, Troy, Rockingham, Laurinburg and Raeford, NC is truly a specialist in his or her field. So whether you’re coming in for a routine checkup or a major surgery, you can feel confident knowing that your problem will be treated in the most thoughtful, dedicated manner possible.