Category Archives: Sleep Disorders

Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movements

Patients with restless legs syndrome describe subjective discomfort of the lower extremities that worsens at night. Patients can have an irresistible need to move their legs in bed or during prolonged periods of sedentary activity, such as airplane flights. This condition was first described by Ekblom in 1945. As a result of these distressing symptoms,… Read More »

Sleep-Related Breathing Disorder and Snoring

Sleep-related breathing disorder comprises obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and obesity hypoventila-tion syndrome. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most notable of these conditions because of its high prevalence and association with numerous medical conditions if untreated. Obstructive apnea is defined as cessation of airflow that lasts at least 10 seconds owing to impedance of… Read More »

Narcolepsy and Other Disorders of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Narcolepsy is a prime example of a disorder with dysfunction of a specific sleep state, in this case REM sleep. Isolated fragments of REM sleep intrude into wakefulness, and the result is the characteristic symptoms that invariably cause excessive daytime sleepiness. Narcolepsy in humans was first described in 1880 by the French neurologist Gelineau. Since… Read More »

Causes and treatment of sleep disorders in the elderly

Insomnia in the elderly can have many different causes, frequently in combination (). A precise differential diagnosis is therefore required for appropriate treatment. Common causes of insomnia in the elderly are: (a) psychiatric illness – depression, dementia, and agitated dementia; (b) organic problems – cardiovascular symptoms, nocturia, chronic pain, bronchitis and asthma; (c) sleep apnoea… Read More »

Oral Appliance Treatment of Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

Dental devices represent a common alternative for patients with sleep-related breathing disorders (sleep-related breathing disorder), who are unsuitable candidates for treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (continuous positive airway pressure). These intraoral devices, commonly known as oral appliances, aim at relieving upper airway obstruction and snoring by modifying the position of the mandible, tongue, and… Read More »

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea () syndrome is a complex disorder of neural respiratory control and upper airway dysfunction resulting in repeated complete and partial occlusion of the upper airway during sleep. In itself, this medical phenomenon would not be of particular interest to psychologists. However, there are several aspects of this disorder that bring it quite… Read More »

Snoring as a Medical Phenomenon

Until recently, snoring was regarded as merely an annoyance confined primarily to the snorer’s bed partner. It was the source of many jokes and of frustration among spouses but was rarely taken seriously by the medical community. The establishment of a link between snoring and a serious, if not potentially lethal, medical condition (i.e., obstructive… Read More »

Pathogenesis of Upper Airway Obstruction

In understanding how the upper airway remains patent or becomes progressively diminished in circumference, eventually leading to complete occlusion, it is necessary to understand those factors that naturally occur to keep the airway open. In healthy individuals, each inspiratory effort is associated with a collapsing negative pressure and a simultaneous burst of activity from a… Read More »

Varieties of the Clinical Presentation

As alluded to earlier, the psychophysiological complexity of the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome often results in the manifestation of symptoms that can masquerade as a variety of other conditions. Perhaps the most frequent and obvious misdiagnosis is narcolepsy (). The confusion here is easy to understand because both conditions have excessive daytime sleepiness as a… Read More »