Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Wake Up, Stark County! :: Sleeping Disorders Essays
Wake Up, Stark County! Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from chronic disorders of sleep and wakefulness, such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and insomnia. The majority of those affected remain undiagnosed and untreated. At the Doctors Hospital Center for Sleep Disorders, 1001 patients are regularly treated for some form of these disorders at the present time (Roman interview). Fewer than 5% of these patients are children and 65% are men over the age of 40. Dr. Frankie Roman, a Board Certified Sleep Specialist, operates this Center. It is the only one available to Stark County residents at this time. To adequately discuss these disorders, first we must provide a working definition of the individual conditions that the terms denote. Sleep apnea is a cessation of air exchange at the nose and mouth, lasting at least 10 seconds (Williams, pg. 48). Narcolepsy is a disorder of excessive sleepiness. This sleepiness is characterized by brief episodes of lapses into sleep that occur throughout the day, usually lasting less than an hour. Insomnia means an inability to sleep. There are many kinds of insomnia, some chemical, some emotional, and some psychological (Thorpy 104). In addition to the 40 million people with chronic sleep disorders, there are 20 to 30 million people who experience intermittent sleep-related problems. These may be due to demanding work schedules and/or various other lifestyle stress factors. The consequences of sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, and excessive sleepiness can be significant. They could even include morbidity. It has been estimated that, in 1990, sleep disorders and sleepiness cost the United States a minimum of $15.9 billion in direct costs alone (National Commission, vi). This estimate does not include the billions of dollars in indirect and related costs, such as those attributable to sleep-related disasters (e.g. Exxon Valdez grounding, motor vehicle accidents, and diminished productivity in the work place). Some sleep disorders are potentially fatal, while others are little more than an annoyance. Some are life-long, with effects on family members; others are brief and non-recurring. Falling asleep inappropriat ely can blot out a few minutes of television, or it can cause catastrophic damage to life and property. Patients are often thought to be lazy and can become socially isolated from friends and family. I am a victim of sleep disorders. I suffer from sleep apnea and narcolepsy. I am a regular patient at the Sleep Disorder Clinic at Doctors Hospital. Here, I am wired to various electrodes which protrude from my head and then am told to go to sleep naturally! My breathing and brain waves are monitored, and I am later informed of how many times a night I have ceased to breathe on my own.