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Sleep medicine specialists provide diagnosis and treatment for disorders affecting healthy sleep habits and sleep-related conditions. Sleep difficulties can indicate issues with overall health. Chronic sleeping problems could be indicative of unidentified medical conditions or health issues and they can affect people of all ages.
Physicians practicing sleep medicine have the expertise to identify the causes of sleep problems and provide diagnosis in order to treat the condition. This process includes undergoing a sleep evaluation, tracking sleep patterns and symptoms as well as a physical examination and further testing.
A sleep medicine physician may perform a sleep study. Types of sleep studies include polysomnography, multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) and maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT.)
Common sleep disorder treatments include medications, continuous positive airway pressure, oral appliances and therapy to improve sleep habits.
Some of the conditions that are commonly treated by sleep medicine specialists include both mild and serious cases of insomnia, narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea. Other sleep-related problems can include excessive snoring and circadian rhythm disorders such as frequent jet lag and shift work change which can be the cause of chronic changes in sleep patterns.
Sleep medicine specialists also diagnose and treat what are classified as parasomnias, including bedwetting, night terrors, restless legs syndrome, sleep paralysis, sleepwalking and bruxism (teeth grinding.) Chronic disruptions in sleep patterns could also aggravate certain medical conditions, including epilepsy, asthma, and heart disease.
Because healthy sleep patterns are so vital to overall health and quality of life, Sleep medicine specialists cross over into several other medical specialties including working with Neurologists, Pulmonologists, Internal medicine, and Psychiatrists to provide all-round expert health care to patients suffering from a myriad of sleep-related illnesses.