You May Have a Sleep Disorder If...
Wake up refreshed? Alert throughout the day? If not, you may have a sleep disorder.
Surgery opens the airway by removal of tissues, like
tonsils, adenoids, nasal polyps, and structural deformities that may obstruct
it. There are several types of procedures, but none are completely successful
and without risk. It is also difficult to predict the outcome and side
- One procedure, called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, removes tissue at
the back of the throat. In addition to having low success rates of between
30%-60%, it is difficult to predict exactly which patients will benefit, as
well as the long-term outcome and side effects.
- Other procedures include tracheostomy (creating a hole directly in
the windpipe, for those with severe obstruction),surgical
reconstructionfor those with deformities, andprocedures to
treatobesity, which contributes to apnea.
Non-specific therapy addresses the behavioral aspects
that may be an important part of a treatment program.
- If you are overweight, weight loss can reduce the number of apnea
episodes. One should avoid depressants, like alcohol and sleeping pills,
which can increase the likelihood of and prolong apnea episodes. Some people
have apnea events only when lying on their back. So placing a pillow or
other device to help keep you on your side may also help.
Other Sleep Disorders
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Particularly around bedtime, many people (about 15% of the population)
experience "pins and needles feelings," an "internal itch," or
a "creeping, crawling sensation" in their legs, with a subsequent
irresistible urge to relieve this discomfort by vigorously moving their legs.
This movement totally relieves the discomfort. These symptoms are classic for
restless leg syndrome.RLS makes if difficult to fall asleep and may also
awaken you out of sleep, forcing you to walk around to relieve the discomfort.
Though not considered medically serious, symptoms of RLS can range from
bothersome to having a severe impact on you and your bed partner's lives.
Most people with RLS also have periodic limb movement
disorder (PLMD), repetitive movements of the toe, foot, and sometimes knee
and hip during sleep. They are often recognized as brief muscle twitches,
jerking movements, or an upward flexing of the feet. As with sleep apnea,
sufferers may be unaware that RLS and PLMD disturb sleep and produce symptoms
similar to those noted above. Once again, it is often the bed partner that
brings this to light, as movements awaken him or her throughout the night. It
is important to note that RLS and PLMD are associated with several other
medical conditions, including iron-deficiency anemia. So one should, as always,
seek proper medical attention.