Signs of a Sleep Disorder?: July 24, 2011

Milt Gnagy read the warning signs.

“I was falling asleep, pulling up to stop lights and I was partially dozing off.”

And knew something was wrong.

“Wasn’t feeling well, was tired all the timeā€¦”

He kept nodding off during the day and waking up at night.

“Gasping for air, my chest was pounding and everything.”

Specialists say sleep disorders fall into two categories:

“One is when you’re trying to sleep and you can’t get a good quality sleep which is sleep-related breathing disorders. And then on the other end is poor choices, which is habit,” says Dr. Javaad Khan Sleep Specialist with Lee Memorial Health System.

It’s thought millions of people are affected by sleep disorders, but as many as 95% may be undiagnosed. People might feel bad enough to go to their primary physician, but fail to mention their troubled sleep.

In those cases, sleep is the issue, and lack of sleep can damage your health.

“Neurologically you can have impaired concentration, it can cause stroke, heart disease, poorly controlled blood pressure it can cause different types of arrhythmias it can cause impaired glucose control,” says Dr. Khan.

One night in a sleep lab confirmed Milt had sleep apnea, which stopped his breathing. Lifestyle choices can make it worse.

“If you’re an active smoker, it goes up by a factor of three. Alcohol worsens sleep apnea. And then diet and weight,” says Dr. Khan.

Finding the source of his restlessness put Milt’s mind and body at ease.