Symptoms of a Sleep Problem
Treatment for Sleep Apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome, Narcolepsy and More
If you have experienced any of the following symptoms, there’s a good chance you may have a sleeping problem. The expert sleep specialists at Midwest Chest Consultants in St. Charles, Missouri will get to the bottom of your sleep issues with advanced capabilities and unsurpassed comfort so that you can finally get the good night’s sleep you deserve.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 45% of normal adults snore occasionally, and 25% are habitual snorers. Problem snoring is more frequent in males and overweight people, and it usually worsens with aging. Sleep apnea is also a common sleep disorder that involves frequent instances of stopped breathing during sleep.
At Midwest Chest Consultants in St. Charles, Missouri, we’re experts at treating snoring and sleep apnea to help you get the best night’s sleep possible.
What is Snoring?
Snoring occurs when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This area is the collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula.
Snoring occurs when these structures strike each other and vibrate during breathing. Reasons for this include poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, bulkiness of throat tissue, a long soft palate or uvula, and nasal passage obstruction.
Snoring disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of appropriate rest. When snoring is severe, it can potentially cause serious, long-term health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea, which can have life-threatening consequences.
What is Sleep Apnea?
The repeated episodes of stopping breathing while you sleep are usually caused by obstructions in the nose or throat that block a person’s airway. Central sleep apnea, which is less common, can be caused by low carbon dioxide in the blood.
Sleep apnea can result in a number of health issues including daytime drowsiness, weight gain, depression, and sexual dysfunction, and can also contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
It is important to receive a proper sleep apnea diagnosis, which often involves a sleep study so that we can determine the best treatment for you based upon the cause and severity of your condition.
If you snore or think you may have sleep apnea, you may need a sleep study to determine the most appropriate treatment for you. Our experienced sleep physicians can accurately diagnose your problem and help you get the good night’s sleep you need.
Involuntary sensations in your legs before and during sleep can keep you from getting the sleep you need. If you can’t get to sleep at night or you feel sleepy throughout the day and don’t know why Midwest Chest Consultants can help diagnose and treat your sleep disorder.
What is RLS?
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder marked by crawling, creeping, burning, itching, or tugging sensations in the legs while resting or sitting for long periods of time. (RLS sometimes affects arms, as well.)
The sensations are often so bothersome that you may feel the need to move your legs frequently while trying to fall asleep. Often, it is difficult to sleep until the sensations subside.
According to the RLS Foundation, about 80% of the 12 million people with RLS also have periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).
What is PLMD?
Similar to restless leg syndrome (RLS), periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is characterized by sudden, involuntary, and repetitive leg-jerking or kicking at the onset of sleep and during sleep. PLMD movements may occur every 10 to 60 seconds — possibly hundreds of times — and often disturb the sleep of bed partners.
Both RLS and PLMD sufferers often feel excessive sleepiness (EDS) during the day. With a sleep evaluation, we can accurately diagnose your condition. If we determine you have RLS or PLMD, we’ll create an individualized treatment program that can bring you welcome relief.
If you or a loved one are experiencing the symptoms of RLS or PLMD, look to Midwest Chest Consultants. Here you’ll receive care from one of our experienced, highly capable St. Charles, Missouri sleep physicians.
At Midwest Chest Consultants in St. Charles, Missouri, we diagnose and treat many patients who have a sleep disorder known as narcolepsy. We can accurately diagnose narcolepsy and cataplexy using state-of-the-art polysomnographic tests and the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). Then we can effectively treat them using today’s most effective therapies. And you’ll be happy to know that we pride ourselves on providing friendly, patient-first care.
What is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that causes people to fall asleep at inappropriate times for a few seconds – or for up to 30 minutes. These people suffer sleep “attacks” in the course of their normal daily activities, even after a full night’s sleep. Narcoleptics may suddenly fall asleep while talking, walking, eating, driving, or working.
Poor quality of sleep is frequently seen in narcoleptics and may require treatment to consolidate sleep at night, resulting in an improvement in daytime alertness. However, narcolepsy may also be genetic. The National Institutes of Health estimates that up to 12% of narcoleptics have a close relative with the disorder.
The symptoms of narcolepsy can include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Cataplexy (sudden, brief losses of muscle control)
- Sleep paralysis (the inability to move when waking up or falling asleep)
- Hypnagogic hallucinations (vivid dreams that are difficult to distinguish from reality)
Midwest Chest Consultants provides the exceptional care you can trust to put your sleep disorder to rest. In addition to being the only accredited sleep center in St. Charles, MO, all care is directed by our highly experienced sleep physicians.
In the U.S., sleep disorders affect as many as 70 million people, and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is often the primary presenting complaint. But it’s still very common for people to think that being tired, fatigued, or excessively sleepy is normal.
In truth, EDS is a symptom of many clinical sleep disorders, and diagnosing the exact cause and disorder is a subtle science. But the dangers that EDS poses make that diagnosis critical. At Midwest Chest Consultants in St. Charles, Missouri, our experienced sleep physicians can diagnose and treat the cause of your daytime sleepiness.
What is EDS?
Of all sleep complaints, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is the most common. While it is a telltale sign that you may not be getting adequate restorative sleep, it is very often overlooked as a sign that you may have a sleep disorder. In other words, it may be a sign that you are at risk for potentially serious health problems, like hypertension, coronary artery disease, and heart attack.
In addition to the serious health implications associated with clinical sleep, being excessively sleepy during the day can put you at significant risk. Daytime sleepiness interferes with the daily activities of 43% of adults a few days out of every month, including activities that are inherently dangerous, such as driving, certain types of work, and much more.
But the risk is not limited to the person experiencing EDS. Driving, work, or other types of accidents put the health and lives of others at risk. Less serious, but also a very real concern, is that EDS can cause poor performance at work or school and can have a negative impact on personal relationships.
As an accredited sleep center, Midwest Chest Consultants can treat your underlying sleep problem so you can get a restful night’s sleep and be productive, alert, and safe during the day.
Don’t put yourself – and others – at risk by driving when you’re sleepy. Drowsiness is a huge but largely underestimated factor in road accidents.
At Midwest Chest Consultants in St. Charles, Missouri, we can help minimize your risk by addressing your sleep habits and any medical sleep disorder. And it’s important to note that sleep disorders remain unaddressed for an average of seven years, which is too long to put yourself at risk of injury or even death.
What is Drowsy Driving?
Each year, drowsiness is indicated as a factor in about 100,000 motor-vehicle accident reports. But it is thought that drowsy driving may actually be a contributor to even more crashes and may be one of the leading causes of automotive crashes.
There is no test to measure drowsiness, and there is little or no police training in identifying drowsiness as a crash factor. In fact, Missouri is one of six states that do not have a code for sleepiness on police accident-report forms.
Because there is no way to measure drowsiness, there is no way to accurately estimate its role in motor-vehicle accidents, which is therefore thought to be vastly underestimated.
What Causes Drowsy Driving?
Drowsiness or fatigue can have many causes, including shift work, self-induced sleep deprivation, stress, and many other situations. But medical sleep disorders like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome are certain to be among the more significant contributors. Why? Because clinically recognized sleep disorders are known to affect as many as 40 million Americans!
According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers are often unaware of their deteriorating condition. That same research shows that drivers who are aware of their drowsiness often continue driving anyway.
Danger Signs of Driving Drowsy
Are you occasionally too sleepy to be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle? Here are some of the clear signs that the National Sleep Foundation wants to you to be aware of:
- Your eyes close or go out of focus by themselves
- You have trouble keeping your head up
- You can’t stop yawning
- You have wandering, disconnected thoughts
- You don’t remember driving the last few miles
- You drift between lanes, tailgate, or miss traffic signs
- You keep jerking the car back into the lane
- You have drifted off the road and narrowly missed crashing
Risks of Driving Drowsy
- Roughly 100,000 police-reported crashes per year are the direct result of driver fatigue.*
- This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.*
- These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.*
- 60% of adult drivers — about 168 million people — say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year.†
- And more than one-third (37% or 103 million people) have actually fallen asleep at the wheel!†
- Of those who have nodded off, 13% say they have done so at least once a month.†
- 4% — about 11 million drivers — admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.†
*Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
†Source: 2005 Sleep in America Poll, National Sleep Foundation
If you’ve ever dozed off while you’re driving, you might have a sleep disorder. Seek help now before you endanger your life or others.
Are you a commercial truck driver? How often do you drift off behind the wheel? If you’re concerned about your safety and that of other drivers who share the road with you, consider this:
- Commercial drivers are especially at risk for fatigue-related crashes
- Truckers get less sleep than they need
- Truck operators have a higher incidence of sleep apnea
As the leader in diagnosing and treating sleep difficulties in St. Charles, Missouri, Midwest Chest Consultants aims to make the roads safer for truckers – and everyone else. Our sleep doctors are experienced at diagnosing sleep disorders that can affect a driver’s alertness.
As the area’s first and only accredited sleep center, we are skilled not only in diagnosis but also in treatment, resolving sleep disorders and restoring your ability to get restful sleep.
Commercial Drivers at Risk for Fatigue-Related Crashes
Professional drivers such as truckers are more susceptible to accidents related to drowsy driving.
For starters, they drive many more miles each year than the average driver, which automatically increases their risk. In addition, truckers and other commercial drivers are more likely to — and actually have reasons to — drive at night, which is when most fatigue-related crashes occur. Nighttime is also when the human body is its sleepiest.
In fact, studies suggest that truck driver fatigue could be a contributing factor in 30% to 40% of all heavy truck accidents.
One study, conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board, found that one-third of all truck accidents that resulted in the trucker driver’s death were probably caused by sleep deprivation.
And for each truck driver fatality, another three to four people are killed.
Truckers Get Less Sleep Than They Need
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that long-haul truck drivers don’t get the sleep they need to be alert behind the wheel. In the study, truckers didn’t get (or take) their full eight-hour breaks between shifts in one out of every eight trips. When they did get their breaks, they often didn’t spend the time sleeping.
In another study, mandated by Congress, truckers reported getting, on average, less than five hours of sleep per day, far less than what they need.
Truck Operators Have a Higher Incidence of Sleep Apnea
In addition to the lack of sleep and nighttime driving, commercial drivers have a disproportionately high prevalence of sleep apnea.
Recent studies have found that as many as 15% of these drivers in the U.S. are affected by this sleep disorder. A study of 600 truck drivers conducted in 1993 concluded that 46% suffered from moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Making the Roads Safer – for Truckers & Everyone Else
Public opinion about truck safety in the U.S. is on the rise. So is public awareness of sleep disorders and the importance of getting sufficient quality and quantity of restorative sleep.
Within the trucking industry, changes have been made specifically to mandate adequate rest periods. Increasingly, companies that hire drivers — and examiners responsible for certifying drivers — are insisting that drivers with known risk factors for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders be evaluated.
While specific mandates are not yet in place, many certifiers send commercial drivers with a high body-mass index (35 or greater) or a neck size greater than 17.5 inches for a sleep study to determine if a clinical sleep disorder is present.
If you need to be evaluated for sleep problems or a clinical sleep disorder, trust the team who’s been trusted for more than a decade. Call Midwest Chest Consultants in St. Charles, Missouri today at (636) 946-1650, or request an appointment online.