Restless Leg Syndrome and Other Sleep Disorders
In addition to restless leg syndrome, our San Francisco Bay Area SleepQuest offices provide treatment for other disorders. To learn more about them, contact our office today.
Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint among people everywhere. It is defined as the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. This problem can be either "acute", lasting one or more nights, or "chronic", lasting months to years. When insomnia continues for longer than a month, it is considered chronic. More often, people experience chronic-intermittent insomnia, which means difficulty sleeping for a few nights, followed by a few nights of adequate sleep before the problem returns. Many patients who have sleep-disordered breathing also suffer from insomnia.
Restless Legs Syndrome
In addition to restless leg syndrome, our San Francisco Bay Area SleepQuest offices provides treatment for other disorders. Many report a strong irresistible urge to move their legs, as well as a "creeping and crawling" feeling when they are at rest. The sensations have also been described as "pins and needles" or "an internal itch". These sensations are generally relieved by getting up and moving around.
Restless Leg Syndrome affects both sexes, can begin at any age and may worsen as one gets older. RLS can disrupt sleep, leading to daytime drowsiness and non-restorative sleep. Medications may be prescribed as well as alternative treatments to resolve the symptoms of RLS.
Narcolepsy is a rare sleep disorder of unknown origin that is characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and the sudden onset of sleep. Scientists have made progress toward identifying genes strongly associated with the disorder. These genes control the production of chemicals in the brain that may signal the sleep and wake cycles. Narcolepsy patients may experience sudden "sleep attacks" during any type of activity and can occur at any time of the day. Symptoms include:
- excessive daytime sleepiness
- cataplexy- an abrupt decrease in muscle tone elicited by strong emotion
- sleep paralysis- the temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up
- hallucinations (both auditory and visual) at the onset of sleep or when awakening
- abnormal REM sleep
While there is no cure, a combination of approaches has been shown to be effective.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)
PLMD is a sleep disorder characterized by rhythmic movements of the legs and arms during sleep. The movements typically involve the legs, but upper extremity movements may also occur. Movements occur periodically throughout the night and can fluctuate in severity from one night to the next. They tend to cluster in episodes lasting several minutes or even hours. PLMD movements are very different from the normal spasms or jerks, called hypnic myoclonia, that we often experience initially while trying to fall asleep. PLMD can cause a partial or full brief awakenings resulting in unrestful sleep. While the causes are unknown, recent research has shown that people with a variety of medical problems, such as Parkinson's Disease and narcolepsy, may also experience frequent periodic limb movements during sleep. Medications such as antidepressants may also induce PLMD. There are however, medications that are used to successfully treat PLMD.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
UARS falls within the spectrum of sleep disordered breathing. Patients who have UARS exhibit many of the same symptoms as someone who has Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) including daytime fatigue and snoring. During sleep, breathing effort increases, but full or partial closure of the airway does not occur as it would with someone who has OSA. In addition, oxygen levels during sleep remain within normal levels, but sleep becomes disturbed due to subconscious awakenings. Patients diagnosed with UARS may benefit from positive airway pressure device treatment (PAP).
How are the above other sleep disorders related to sleep apnea?
Patients who have any of the sleep conditions described above may also have Sleep Apnea. By diagnosing and treating the Sleep Apnea, some of these other conditions may become less problematic. Accordingly, sleep clinicians prefer to manage a patient's Sleep Apnea first before attempting to correct any other existing sleep disorder.
To learn more about sleep apnea and to obtain your complimentary assessment, contact us today. Whether you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, or a combination of the two, we will work closely with you and your doctor to provide you with appropriate care.