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NMMC-West Point Sleep Laboratory

 

The NMMC-West Point Sleep Laboratory is fully accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, equipped with the latest diagnostic tools and staffed by highly trained technologists and physicians.

Millions of people had trouble sleeping last night and will probably have problems again tonight. An estimated one-third of Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder. Repercussions range from heart disease and high blood pressure to daytime sleepiness or in serious cases, death. Fortunately, most sleep disorders are treatable once they are diagnosed.

What is a sleep test and how is it performed?



A sleep test monitors brain activity, eye movements, EKG activity, oxygen saturation, airflow and leg movements. This is an overnight test, and family members cannot stay in the center (except under special conditions).


Your sleep study will be preformed in a beautifully decorated private room. During your stay, we will make every effort to maintain your regular sleep routine and make you as comfortable as possible. The following morning you will meet with one of our sleep specialists to discuss your study and treatment options. If required, treatment will be started in the Sleep Laboratory before you leave.



Why go to a Sleep Laboratory?

  • Pauses in breath during sleep

  • Awaking with choking or gasping for breath

  • Loud irregular snoring

  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Obesity
  • Sleeping at inappropriate times (while driving, talking, etc.)
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • Irritability
  • Poor judgment/concentration/memory loss
  • Depression
  • Nightmares or disturbing dreams
  • Sleep walking, talking
  • Repeated movements of the legs during sleep
  • Temporary weakness of body or speech muscles occurring with excitement, anger or other strong emotions

Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening breathing disorder that occurs during sleep. It is usually caused by an obstruction or narrowing of the air passages. Often the spouse notices the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea that may include:

  • Loud, irregular snoring
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory loss

People with sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night, sometimes hundreds of times. Pauses in breathing can last 10 seconds to several minutes, and the personís sleep is repeatedly interrupted.

Treatment for sleep apnea varies according to symptoms and severity of the problem. CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Is the most widely accepted treatment for sleep apnea. It delivers a small amount of air through a mask while you sleep. The pressurized air splints the airway open during sleep. This results in:

  • Elimination of snoring and abnormal breathing events
  • Absence of daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Improved quality of life
  • May help improve high blood pressure and cardiovascular risk

New studies have shown that CPAP may improve glucose control in diabetes. Some patients may benefit from oral mouthpieces or surgical techniques that reduce tissue in the airway.

Consequences of untreated sleep apnea can include:

  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased quality of life
  • In serious conditions, death

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Restless Leg Syndrome is a disorder characterized by disagreeable leg sensations that usually occur prior to sleep onset and cause an almost irresistible urge to move the legs. The patient experiences an unpleasant sensation in the legs at night or difficulty in initiating sleep. Patients may also complain of sensations of creeping inside the calves. Other sensations may include crawling, pulling, pricking, tingling or itching. The discomfort is relieved by movement of the leg.

This disorder is not related to emotional or physiological disorders. In more severe cases restless leg syndrome can be painful enough to cause insomnia. As a result the person may be extremely tired during the day. RLS is more common in women than men. Approximately 30 percent of people with RLS have a hereditary cause.

These conditions may cause RLS:

  • Anemia
  • Poor blood circulation in the legs
  • Nerve problems in the legs and feet
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis

Diagnosis of the disorder can often be made on the basis of your description of symptoms.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Periodic limb movement disorder is characterized by periodic episodes of repetitive limb movements that occur during sleep. It often requires more extensive study, such as a polysomnogram (sleep study), to make a diagnosis. The movements usually occur in the legs and consist of extension of the big toe with partial flexion of the ankle and knee. Movements may also affect the arms.

The patient will experience insomnia or excessive sleepiness. Some people with PLMD need treatment because they sleep through the limb movements and have no disturbing symptoms. Others with PLMD who are light sleepers may require medication for a more restful sleep. The effectiveness of a particular drug will depend on the severity of the condition, and the patientís other medical problems. Treatment is usually the same as for restless leg syndrome.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder which causes irresistible sleep attacks. While the disorder affects each person differently, it is often marked by sudden attacks of sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, muscular weakness, hallucinations and sudden sleep attacks of rapid eye movement. Because these attacks can happen anywhere and at any time, they can be very dangerous.

Narcolepsy is diagnosed using a combination of the patientís history, and findings from both a nighttime sleep study and a series of nap studies conducted the next day. Narcolepsy usually starts at an early age and is a lifetime condition. It is usually treated with carefully administered stimulants to prevent the sleep attacks, along with educational support.

Insomnia

The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep can be transient, lasting for a few days or weeks, or chronic, lasting months to years. Insomnia patients are generally treated by their regular physicians and only infrequently require specialized studies. Other specialists, such as internal medicine physicians, clinical psychologists and geriatric specialists, may become involved in the care of patients suffering from insomnia.

For more information on the NMMC-West Point Sleep Laboratory, call (662) 495-2143.