Our physicians specialize in evaluating and treating breathing-related sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
The term breathing-related sleep disorder refers to a spectrum of breathing anomalies ranging from chronic or habitual snoring to upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) to obstructive sleep apnea. Such disorders create both short-term physical ailments and long-term conditions that affect overall physical and psychological health.
For example, apnea, medically speaking, refers to any condition in which the flow of air in and out of the lungs stops for ten seconds or longer. By restricting oxygen intake and causing a buildup of carbon dioxide, apnea poses a serious threat to physical health.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of apnea. With OSA, a person may experience the following physical ailments and symptoms:
- Excessive drowsiness or sleepiness
- Aggravated sleep. This includes motion such as tremors of the hands and feet to more active motion of the arms and legs.
- Morning headache
- Slight disorientation
- Memory lapses
- Personality changes
If left untreated, the symptoms and effects of OSA can affect job performance, daytime function, sense of well-being and personal relationships. Untreated OSA also may be associated with hypertension, congestive heart failure and premature death.
Features of both a patient's history and the physical examination can direct attention to the possibility of a diagnosis of a breathing-related sleep disorder. Most of the procedures involved in diagnosis, evaluation and treatment involve subspecialty consultations with a Novant Health Presbyterian Pulmonary and Critical Care physician.
The physicians at PPCC are also experienced in the treatment of other disorders of sleep including insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and circadian rhythm disorders. Diagnostic studies are performed through the Presbyterian Sleep Lab with available locations in Charlotte, Matthews and Huntersville.