News, Announcements and Expert Commentary from Inova

A Sound Sleep: Diagnosing sleep disorders at Inova Alexandria Hospital

View the latest issue of inHealth (PDF) (October 2, 2013) The newly renovated Neurodiagnostic Sleep Center in Alexandria, VA diagnoses common sleep disorders such as snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy. It features a staff of highly trained sleep physicians, technologists and a board-certified sleep physician in a quiet, homelike environment.

“Sleep disorders are a common problem that can make life harder than it has to be,” notes Lewis Eberly, MD, Medical Director. “The good news is it’s a condition that can usually be fixed.”

Those who suffer from poor sleep may be asked to spend a night in the Sleep Center for an overnight sleep study. Here, specially trained technologists monitor a patient’s status as he or she sleeps. Sensors attached to the patient’s head, upper body and legs monitor breathing, heart rate and oxygen level. Technologists, meanwhile, keep an eye on the patient’s status. The medical director then interprets the results and makes a diagnosis.

The Sleep Center is equipped to diagnose over 80 sleep disorders. These include insomnia, the inability to fall asleep; narcolepsy, an underdiagnosed but prevalent sleep disorder characterized by the sudden onset of sleep during activity and by muscle weakness during strong emotion; and sleep apnea, the most common cause of daytime sleepiness that usually results from pauses in breathing during sleep.

Impaired concentration and loss of memory and coping skills are just some of the negative effects of living with poor sleep. Those who snore or wake up frequently may affect loved ones negatively. Driving while tired may cost the life of the driver or the lives of others. Obstructive sleep apnea, which causes pauses in breathing or slowed airflow while sleeping, may cause heart disease, hypertension and pre-diabetes.

“If you don’t sleep well on a consistent basis or experience problems during the day as a result of poor sleep, we recommend you talk to your physician about a referral,” Dr. Eberly says.

A Few Good Z’s – Helpful tips for a good night’s rest:

– Avoid taking frequent naps during the day.
– Limit alcoholic drinks and drinks with caffeine like coffee or soda before heading to bed.
– Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.
– Be careful of side effects from medications that may affect sleep.
– Get exercise during the day and try to avoid exercising right before bed.
– Make sure that your bedroom is quiet and well ventilated.

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Click to see more news and articles from Inova Alexandria Hospital in the Summer / Fall 2013 issue of INhealth magazine:  Read more arrow

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