March 5-11 was designated National Sleep Awareness Week and Jefferson Regional Medical Center pulmonologists are raising awareness about sleep disorders.
Local doctors hear frequent complaints about sleep issues, mainly insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and difficulty concentrating. Most of the symptoms lead back to the diagnosis of sleep apnea, or nighttime pauses in breathing.
“Other symptoms can include morning headaches, waking up many times in the night and excessive snoring,” said Dr. Adil Imran, who specializes in pulmonary medicine, critical care and sleep studies.
Dr. Ali Al-Nashif, also a specialist in pulmonary medicine, critical care and sleep studies, said if sleep apnea is suspected, doctors sometimes monitor the patient first with an at-home pulse oximetry test, to see if they need a sleep study.
“If we believe it is necessary, we schedule an overnight visit to Physician’s Sleep Center at the I530 Medical Mall,” Al-Nashif said.
During the sleep study, leads and wires are attached to the patient in order to monitor a variety of bodily functions during the night and if the physician reading the test results finds the exam is positive, the physician will probably prescribe a CPAP machine – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.
“The CPAP machine provides a stent of air, if you will, that holds the airway open during the night,” said Dr. Clyde Campbell, pulmonologist, critical care, and sleep study specialist. “There are several different kinds of face masks, including a full face mask and a nasal pillow, and they are difficult to get used to. A lot of people give up. But for those who don’t, and wake up rested in the morning, less sleepy through the day, thinking clearly, with more energy, it can be a life changing event.”