Why you need to go to see a sleep doctor
A somnologist is a doctor who deals with sleep disorders of any etiology; detects the quality of sleep and in case of its disturbance, determines possible risks for the patient, and also selects individual methods of correction. If at the reception it turns out that sleep disturbance is due to snoring, or respiratory arrest, respiratory monitoring is carried out. It reveals the degree of obstruction and the severity of nocturnal hypoxemia. After that, treatment can be prescribed – CPAP therapy.
The causes of sleep disorders are manifold – stress, emotional imbalance, nervous and mental illnesses, intoxication (especially alcoholism, drug addiction), heart and respiratory disorders, etc. The sleep disorders caused by them can lead to increased blood pressure, headache, impaired potency, deterioration memory, and even to sudden death in a dream.
Often, the patient comes with a complaint of poor sleep, but during the examination it turns out that it was not the disease that caused the poor sleep, but, on the contrary, that sleep gives rise to painful sensations. For example, the cause of such deviations as sleepwalking, sleep-speaking, teeth grinding, enuresis, can often be excessively deep sleep or, conversely, not deep enough.
Often, the patient comes with a complaint of poor sleep, but during the examination it turns out that it was not the disease that caused the poor sleep, but, on the contrary, that sleep gives rise to painful sensations. For example, the cause of such deviations as sleepwalking, sleep-speaking, teeth grinding, enuresis can often be either excessively deep sleep or, on the contrary, very sensitive and not deep enough sleep.
An objective study of sleep is carried out using polysomnography using special computer complexes with video monitoring. While a person is sleeping, various indicators are recorded with the help of equipment, which are recorded on a computer. After all the indicators are recorded, data processing begins. Ultimately, a curve is built which is called a hypnogram. It allows you to judge the structure of sleep, the quality and number of its stages and phases in a particular person.
Apparatus such as respiratory monitoring are used to detect obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Respiratory monitoring detects sleep disturbances and the severity of apnea. This diagnosis helps in the future to choose the more correct treatment tactics: surgical or conservative therapy using CPAP devices.
Nocturnal pulse oximetry is the most affordable method for detecting breathing disorders during sleep. During the night, all episodes of desaturation (violation of blood oxygen saturation) are recorded, and the desaturation index can indirectly suggest obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and its severity. If serious violations are detected, a more detailed examination (respiratory monitoring or polysomnography) is necessary.
Sleep disorders treatment
For the correction of sleep disorders, pharmacological methods of correction are primarily used. Quite good medicines have now appeared. They practically do not cause the negative effect that is often generated by conventional sleeping pills, and they hardly disturb breathing during sleep.
There are also non-drug methods of treatment – psychotherapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, phototherapy (treatment with bright white light). The latter method is very interesting, since, along with high efficiency, it is completely safe. Phototherapy is usually prescribed in the morning, but if there is a need for vigorous night activity, phototherapy is also carried out in the evening, for example, to the medical staff before the night shift.
Another effective method of fighting sleep disorders is the “Brain Music” program. Its essence is that a person’s electroencephalogram is converted into music. It is recorded on an audio cassette or CD, which the patient listens to in accordance with individual instructions.
In obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, surgical treatment is carried out in the ENT department (plastic surgery of the soft palate) or the selection of CPAP therapy (for moderate and severe OSAS, when surgical methods of treatment are not effective).
Respiratory monitoring is a respiratory screening system that records respiration, pulse, and oxygen during nighttime sleep. Respiratory monitoring is mainly carried out using the expensive SOMNOCHECK MICRO diagnostic system. The device does not restrict movement and does not interfere with sleep. It can be used by both adults and children from the age of 10. The patient can take any comfortable position (the body and sensors can withstand significant loads). Monitoring is carried out within one day.
The device is removed by the patient independently, at home. Decryption of data and delivery of the device – at the second appointment with a doctor-somnologist. Next, the doctor analyzes the therapy data and explains the further treatment tactics for the patient.
IMPORTANT: The service is carried out only after an appointment with a sleep doctor or in the referral of a sleep doctor from another healthcare facility.
CPAP therapy is a non-invasive ventilation of the lungs (a mask through which air enters, covering the nose and mouth). This prevents respiratory arrest during sleep and snoring. The treatment is carried out using the SOMNObalance apparatus with a JOYCEone nasal-oral mask. It is carried out for three nights and can be assigned to both adults and children from ten years of age.
The patient, according to the instructions given by the doctor, the selected mask and the set therapy parameters, puts on a nasal-oral mask attached to a special compressor before going to bed. If the patient has a short-term cessation of breathing during sleep, the sensors are triggered, and the device pumps air.
The device is removed by the patient independently, at home. The decryption of the data and the delivery of the device takes place at the second appointment with the doctor-somnologist. Further, the doctor analyzes the therapy data and explains the further tactics of patient management.
IMPORTANT: These treatment methods are selected by the doctor individually for each patient. In no case should you use them uncontrollably and without a doctor’s prescription.
Elena Bayandina– doctor neurologist, reflexologist, somnologist of the highest medical category.