Sleep medicine is a relatively new medical specialty that is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. It is a rapidly growing and advancing field of medicine, with the scholarly component for certification evolving and becoming more concrete.
Sleep labs have popped up all over the country to help people get better sleep. The technicians and physicians at these sleep labs measure every aspect of a patient’s sleep and record it to use when determining a diagnosis and proper treatment. What the patient undergoes at a sleep lab is called a sleep study.
What Do Sleep Doctors Look For?
One of the most common issues found in a sleep study is sleep apnea. Sleep doctors are also looking for issues such as insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, and periodic limb movement.
The name of the diagnostic testing procedure used in a sleep lab is polysomnography. Electrodes will be placed on the patient’s body so that the technicians can monitor brain wave activity, heart rate, muscle tensing, leg twitching, and eye movement to indicate REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
How Are Sleep Disorders Treated?
There are many options available to treat sleep problems. There have been medications to treat insomnia for decades. Sleep apnea can now be treated with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask.
For narcolepsy, physicians generally prefer to start patients with medications like modafinil or armodafinil. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) can sometimes be cured by checking the iron levels of the patient’s blood and adjusting their diet or adding supplements. Certain medications can also help with RLS, such as ropinirole, rotigotine, pramipexole, and muscle relaxants.
Symptoms of a Sleep Disorder
People know that they have a sleep problem either because a roommate or family member told them they’re having problems while sleeping or because they never feel well-rested. Those you live with may tell you that you toss and turn, stop breathing, snore loudly, grind your teeth, or even walk around while sleeping.
Sometimes there is an underlying cause for your sleep troubles, in which case the underlying condition must be diagnosed and treated in order to get a good night’s sleep. Until that is corrected, sleep will continue to elude you. The data captured during a sleep study can prove beneficial as far as ruling certain conditions in and others out.
Sleep Lab in South Carolina
The brain and body need to rest and recharge every night. Someone who has a sleep disorder never gets that chance to fully relax, sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
Problems like sleep apnea affect approximately 18 million Americans. Most sleep conditions can be treated one way or another, it is simply a matter of getting the diagnosis of any underlying cause and treating it.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from a sleep disorder, there is help available. Contact the doctors at SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation today by calling (803) 749-1111 or request an appointment online, and start sleeping better in no time!