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Helping Patients Rediscover a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is easy to take for granted, but those who live with sleep disorders understand the physical and mental toll they can have on daily life.

At the Sleep Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen, sleep medicine physicians diagnose sleep disorders and recommend treatment to help patients get the rest they need.

Some of the most common sleep disorders recognized by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine include:

• Insomnia. This disorder can be temporary or long-term and is characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep and fatigue when awake.

• Narcolepsy. People usually develop this disorder early in life. Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, muscular weakness when angry or laughing, sleep paralysis and overactive dreams.

• Obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder is characterized by loud snoring and interruptions in breathing, which can
lead to inadequate sleep, daytime fatigue, heart disease and stroke.

• Restless legs syndrome. People with this condition feel an unpleasant tingling in their lower extremities during rest that prompts them to move their legs.

Sleep medicine physicians conduct overnight sleep studies to diagnose sleep disorders. A patient arrives at the
Sleep Center around 8 p.m., and a sleep technologist discusses the exam with him or her. A technician helps the patient settle in and attaches electrodes to him or her to collect data during sleep.

“Once the patient falls asleep, data is collected on brain waves, eye movement, snoring, heart rate and other physiological activities, while a video monitoring system records the individual at rest,” says Diane Baltzell, B.B.A., R.R.T., manager of Respiratory Therapy, Cardiopulmonary and Rehab Services and Neurodiagnostics at Texas Health Allen. “Patients go home around 6 a.m. and return to the Sleep Center within a few days to discuss the results of the test and determine appropriate treatment.”

To find out if you have a sleep disorder, visit TexasHealth.org/GoodSleep and take the sleep quiz or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355) for more information. (Summer 2010)

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