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Posts Tagged ‘sleep testing

brain-damage

Studies show that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects much more than just your sleep. It can even damage your brain.

A recent brain imaging study from France involved 16 adults. Each of them had just been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

In numerous brain regions the study found a loss of “gray matter.” This is brain tissue that contains fibers and nerve cell  bodies. There also was a decrease in brain metabolism.

The authors suggest that these changes may explain some of the impairments that often occur in people with sleep apnea. Examples include attention lapses and memory loss. The study was published in March 2009 issue of the Journal of Sleep Research.

The results are similar to those found by a research team from UCLA. Their study was published in Neuroscience Letters in June 2008. They reported that people with sleep apnea have tissue loss in the “mammillary bodies.” These are brain regions that help store memory.

In July 2008 the UCLA team published another brain imaging study in the journal Sleep.It involved 41 people with moderate to severe sleep apnea. It also included 69 control subjects matched by age.

Results show that people with sleep apnea have extensive alterations in “white matter.” This is nerve tissue in the brain. It contains fibers that are insulated with myelin -a white, fatty sheath. The structural changes appear in brain regions that help control mood and memory. These regions also play a role in adjusting your blood pressure. Damage also was found in fiber pathways that connect these brain regions.

What causes the brain damage? The authors suggest that oxygen, blood flow and blood pressure may be involved. Sleep apnea involves breathing pauses that can occur hundreds of times a night of sleep. These pauses can produce drastic changes in oxygen levels.

These breathing pauses also reduce blood flow in the brain. People with sleep apnea also are at risk for high blood pressure. Both of these conditions create a potential for brain tissue damage.

Dr. Ronald Harper of UCLA said that the studies show how important it is for sleep apnea to be treated. CPAP is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. The findings make it all the more imperative that OSA be treated as soon as possible to prevent further injury. The long-term effects of OSA are terribly damaging to memory and thinking processes.

Can treatment reverse the brain damage caused by sleep apnea? The authors are uncertain if the changes are permanent.

But studies show that CPAP does help your heart, it may even save your life.

mind-racing

Insomnia can make you feel like your mind is racing out of control. A revealing new study explains why your brain may be unable to put the brakes on your thoughts. It links the problem to low levels of a brain chemical.

A new study shows that GABA levels are reduced by 30 percent in adults with chronic primary insomnia. The study was published in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

GABA is reduced in the brain of individuals with insomnia, suggesting over activity is present. It was explained that low GABA levels create an imbalance of brain activity. This may lead to an inability to shut down waking signals in the brain.

If your GABA levels are low, then your mind can’t slow down. It may race forward at full speed even when it is time to sleep. An over active mind is a key feature of psychophsicological insomnia. At bedtime you are unable to stop thinking and worrying. Your body may be ready for sleep, but your mind remains alert. This state of “hyperarousal” can make it hard for you to fall asleep.

Most with insomnia have “secondary” insomnia. It occurs along with another medical problem, mental illness or sleep disorder. It also may result from the use of a medication or substance. In contrast primary insomnia is unrelated to another health problem. Estimates that about 25 percent of people with insomnia have primary insomnia. The study only links low GABA levels to long lasting, primary insomnia.

All participants in the study had been suffering from primary insomnia for mor than six months. The average duration of their symptoms was about 10 years. The GABA connection affirms that primary insomnia is a legitimate disorder.

Recognition that insomnia has manifestations in the brain may increase the legitimacy of those who have insomnia and report substantial daytime  consequences. It was also explained that insomnia can affect your energy, concentration and mood. It also increases your risk of depression.

One solution for the problem of primary insomnia is the use of hypnotic medication. The short-term use of a sleeping pill can help break the cycle of sleepless nights. The study notes that many of the most effective sleeping pills increase activity at the GABA neurons.

Another treatment option is cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT helps you learn how to correct attitudes and habits that hinder your sleep. Many of these bad habits develop as people try to cope with chronic insomnia.

saving money

 Current economic conditions in the U.S. are forcing many consumers to cut back on health care expenses. Yet sleep experts advise that the cost of a sleep study is a sound investment for millions of people who suffer from a sleep disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 15 million adults in the U.S. did not receive needed medical care in 2005 because they could not afford it. In July, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners conduted a national survey. Results show that 22 percent of people have reduced the number of times they visit the doctor because to current economic conditions.

 In such a challenging economy, should your sleep needs be a priority?

Sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health. It affects everything from your weight and blood pressure to your energy and mood. If you have been struggling with an ongoing sleep problem, then a sleep study may be just what you need. It could be the key that unlocks the door to a dramatic improvement in your health and a better quality of life for you.

 Losing sleep over the economy, but losing sleep over an undiagnosed problem is no fun.

People are notorious for underestimating how sleepy they are. People assume that thier disrupted sleep and level of sleepiness when awake is normal for their age. Symptoms of some sleep disorders also can go unnoticed. For example loud snoring and gasping for breath durning sleep are two warning signs for sleep apnea. But you may be unaware of these sym if you live or sleep alone. As a result, millions of people go through each day wondering why they can’t stay awake. Others go to bed each night wondering why they can’t sleep. The answers to these questions often can be found by a sleep study…

    Here are some benefits to think about:
Research shows that there are numerous benefits to detecing a sleep disorder with a sleep study.  The study pinpoints the nature and cause of your sleep problem. This provides the foundation for an effective treatment plan. Treating a sleep disorder promotes heath, productivity and well-being. In the long run it also can save you money!

  • Improved Health
    Research has linked sleep disorders to many other health problems. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity. A study in the journal Sleep even shows that people with severe, untreated sleep apnea have five times the risk of dying from a heart problem. Effective treatment of a sleep disorder can reduce the risk and severity of other related health challenges.
  • Reduced Spending
    Studies have linked undetected and untreated sleep disorders to an increase in health-care utilization and spending. You are likely to make more visits to the doctor’s office each year. You are also likely to spend more money on your health care. Expenses may include testing, medications and hospitalization. Research shows that effective treatment of a sleep disorder can reduce your health-care spending. Compared to the high cost of remaining untreated, treating most sleep disorders is relative inexpensive.
  • Greater Productivity
    Studies have linked sleep disorders to lower productivity and more absences at work. A severe sleep disorder may even prevent you from being able to stay employed. Effective treatments of a sleep disorder can enable you to improve your job performance.
  • Better Safety
    Research has linked sleep disorders to an increased risk of work-related injuries and motor-vehicle accidents. Effective treatments promotes your safety at work on the roads.
  • Improved Quality of Life
    Sleep disorders can take a severe tool on your personal well-being. Taking care of yourself leads to improvements in your mood, attitude, energy, memory and overall outlook on life. Sleep disturbances can put strain on your relationships.

Mysleepapnea.com can help you with obtaining a Home Sleep Test.

Yes, ladies, that is a clue, to get more sleep! Theres a reason they call it beauty sleep.

Sleep helps you restore to your body’s full potential; including weight! Sleep influences the hormones in the body related to hunger. A good night’s rest can improve the chances of successful weight loss.

Adequate rest could play an important role in shedding pounds. It might seem like one more thing added to the long to-do list for losing weight, but paying attention to sleep patterns and getting the recommended amount of shuteye might help with reducing the number on the scale.

According to the National Sleep Foundation 63% of Americans do not get 8 hours of sleep a day and 31% get less then 7 hours on week days. In their 2008 Sleep America Poll, 72% of the respondents were overweight or obese. For, work days, these individuals reported less time in bed than the average weight respondents.

Simply stated, many people are not well rested. This is an even more improtant issue for those struggling to lose weight. Among other health risks, sleep deprivation could contradict weight loss effots by increasing hunger.

Sleep & Hormones

Sleep deprivation influences two hormones that play a major role in appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that is responsible for increasing appetite. Leptin is a hormone that lets the brain know when the body is full, therefore decreasing appetite.

When sleep deprivation occurs there is a decrease in leptin (the full hormone) and an increase in ghrelin (the appetite hormone). This leads to an increase in appetite overall. It appears taht this can result in hunger and increased food intake the day following a night of too little sleep.

How much?

Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Unfortunantely, there is no specific number of hours that is considered enough sleep. Several factors, including age and gender, influence how much one need to be well rested. Researching is still being conducted to look more closely at the variations in sleep requirements.

Getting a good nights sleep

The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips to improve the quality and quantity of sleep.

  • Before bedtime choose activities that are relaxing such as reading an enjoyable book or listening to soothing music. Avoid stressful activities such as paying bills or engaging in problem-solving.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products close to bedtime. All can disrupt sleep and influence sleep quality.
  • Eat and exercise at least 3 hours prior to bedtime. This reduces the possible disruption of falling asleep and staying asleep due to digestion, frequent bathroom trips and elevated body temperature.
  • Make an effort to create a sleep-friendly environment. The bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool. Sleep on a supportive mattress and pillows, and decorate in a way that is inviting and free of allergens.

Studies have shown the lack of sleep speeds up risky decisions.

  Heightened expectations and low risk perception – that is what lack of sleep seems to induce when decision making during gambling was studied in an experimental study. This showed that parts of the brain, where regions were important in responding to losses were under-recruited when losses were encountered. This represents a double jeopardy – expecting a higher payout when none is really offered and being less sensitive to loss, when it might be prudent to be.

  Sleep deprivation affects many aspects of our well being. It impairs vigilance, flexible thinking, working memory, and executive functioning. People appear to make fewer optimal decisions when they lack adequate sleep.

  Understanding why we make poorer choices when sleep deprived is important not only because of the increaseing numbers of persons affected, but also because there exists today, unprecedented  opportunities to incur damaging losses by means such as online gambling. This work is one of many that evaluated the neutral correlates of decison-making but the first to apply such methods to sleep deprived individuals.

  It was observed that there are quite large differences to the necessity for sleep. While most lay persons do not question the need for sleep and acknowledge that sleep restriction for whatever reason is something they would avoid if given a chance, there are a surprising number of persons like Thomas Edison who felt that sleep was optional and that man would evolve to do away with sleep.

A 2007 study in the journal Sleep used a gambling task to show that risky decisions can be more attractive to a sleep-deprived brain. The study also cites other research showing that well-rested people learn to avoid high risks and choose what is most advantageous, while sleep-deprived people tend to continue making high-risk decisions.

It may not seem this way on the surface, but to a sleep doctor there’s a big difference between someone feeling “tired” and someone feeling “sleepy”.

  • Tired means you lack energy, have trouble focusing, and feel “out of it” all the time.
  • Sleepy means you’re yawing, nodding off, and can’t keep your eyes open.

How you feel during the day is a key piece of information for doctors because different sleep disorders have differet symptoms. Insomnia patients are constantly tired but rarely feel the urge to sleep during the day. Sleep apnea and narcolepsy patients are tired too, but they are constantly fighting off sleep.

The clearer you are in describing your symptoms, the quicker your doctor can get you the help you need. Insomnia isn’t immediately life-threaterning, but sleep apnea, with often goes undiagnosed for years, can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

The risk of people with sleep apnea falling asleep at the wheel is also very real. People with the disorder are twice as likely to have a car crash, and three to five times as likely to have a serious accident involving personal injury, according to a 2007 study conducted in Vancouver.

 While sleep apnea patients often omit the critical word “sleepy” when describing their daytime symptoms, insomniacs rately make the mistake of including it -probably because they just don’t feel they can sleep. They are well aware, instead of being up half the night and feeling exhausted and unfocused during the day.

 Saying that you are so sleepy that you have to nap in your office during the day hopefully will sound the alarm to your doctor. Just saying that you’re tired or run down might leave you with the wrong diagnosis -or none at all.

*Try to write down all the feelings you have on a day when you feel your symptoms the most. That way it’s in writing, and you can be more specific when you see your doctor.

Some sleep disorders can be diagnosed during a routine exam and a conversation with a sleep specialist. But if you or your doctor suspects you have sleep apnea a further examination may be requested.

It use to be that you had to travel to an actual ‘lab’/hospital. Most of the time they are hours away, booked for months at a time, and a big inconenience. Some people may have a disability, or dependents, or a job that makes a night in a lab too difficult. Now, finally with our latest technology, cases like these have been answered with: The Home Sleep Test (HST).

There are many home test kits available on the market today. But, none of them record all of the full vital signs that a complete in-lab study would, for other sleep disorders -eye and limb movements that might be related with a neurological disorder, for example. The increasing evidence, however, shows they are highly effective in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea. A home sleep test will collect this kind of information though to be symptoms of OSA:

  • Airflow
  • Breathing efforts
  • Blood oxygen
  • Snoring vibrations/density
  • Head and neck movements
  • Calculated cessations/stops in breathing

With the new acceptance of home testing growing in the sleep community: in 2007 the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) revised their policy and now endorses the use of portable monitoring for a specific group of people. Now, many insurance plans are starting to cover home tests for eligible patients. Many providers of home sleep testing, have an on-site doctor or therapist who will help you with obtaining a home sleep test, if you have difficulties with your insurance plan (we do 😉 )

So…who’s eligible?

The following points are taken into consideration when determining eligibility:

  • You are between 18 and 65 years of age. Home sleep test haven’t been recommended for children or older adults.
  • You have no other major medical problens; such as pulmonary disease (ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease)
  • Patients suspected of having no co-morbid sleep disorder other than OSA.
  • To monitor response to non-CPAP treatments after the dianosis has already been made.

Other medical problems can affect your results, including lung disease, neuromuscular disease, and congestive heart failure, be sure to talk to your doctor to rule out any possible infracions that may effect your testing.

You also maybe eligible for a Home Sleep test if health or safety concerns prevent you from being able to leave home for a night. The Home Sleep test may be used to evaluate your response to some sleep apnea treatments, such a titration pressure, and weather you’re a nasal breather or a mouth breather.

A Home Sleep test can and will make things much more clear if you feel that your just not getting a good nights sleep, or if your partner complains about your snoring and even if you’ve ever nodded off while driving. Give yourself and your loved ones the peace and ease of knowing that you’ll be save and yourself a complete and whole night of sleep, waking feeling refreshed! 🙂


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