A sleep disorder is a change in a person’s sleep. If you often have trouble falling or staying asleep, or if your sleep patterns disrupt your daily life, you may have a sleep/wake disorder. Since an undiagnosed or untreated sleep/wake disorder can lead to various negative changes in your overall health, safety and quality of life, it is very important you seek the help of a sleep specialist. Dr. Callahan, our board certified sleep medicine specialist, will work closely with you to determine what might be causing your sleep issues. He will ask you to complete an Epworth Sleepiness Scale to determine what additional studies and services may be appropriate to help with pinpoint your diagnosis. Dr. Callahan will then recommend an individualized treatment plan based on your needs.
In some cases, Dr. Callahan may refer you to particiopate in a sleep study at a cerified sleep lab to help with your diagnosis. A sleep lab is specially equipped to offer polysomnograms (overnight sleep studies), multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT), and maintenance of wakefuleness tests (MWT). These tests monitor you’re your brainwaves and oxygen level, heart rate, breathing as well as leg and eye movement through polysomnograms in an overnight sleep study.
Here at North Point Pulmonary Associates, we refer all of our patients to Northside Hospital Sleep Disorders Center. With four convenient locations in the Atlanta Region, the Northside Sleep Disorder Centers are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep medicine and offer day and nighttime sleep studies. They feature quiet and comfortable rooms that are equipped with the latest technology to diagnose various sleep disorders.
Although an in-lab polysomnogram is the gold standard for testing for obstructive sleep apnea, some patients either may not be as comfortable sleeping in a lab or their insurance may not cover in-lab sleep studies. In those instances, Dr. Callahan may recommend an HST, also known as an “unattended sleep study.” This test allows the patient to self-administer the test using a device that records the biophysiological changes that occur during sleep. In this type of study you are able to spend the night in your own bed. This may also be a great option if you or your loved one is homebound, elderly, suffer from chronic illnesses, or if you have difficulty arranging your schedule to accommodate an in-lab study.
Dr. Callahan will interpret the data from your Home Sleep Test and review with you the best treatment options available based on your results.
For patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy may be recommended. Patients with OSA typically experience cessations or interruptions in their breathing due to obstructions in their airway. CPAP machines gently blow pressurized air through your airway to keep your throat from collapsing, which is the cause of the interruptions in your breathing. CPAP machines are simple and easy to use. CPAP Therapy can be a very successful treatment method for OSA, however, it is not a cure. Therefore, the only way for this type of therapy to be successful is for you to use it regularly as prescribed! If you discontinue the use, your symptoms may return quickly.
If this type of treatment is recommended, Dr. Callahan will refer you to the Northside Hospital Sleep Center to get fitted for your CPAP machine and mask. Once you begin your CPAP therapy, our on-site respiratory therapist will be able to assist you with the maintenance and care of it.
In some cases, Dr. Callahan may determine that the best treatment option to help you with your sleep/wake disorder may be prescription medications. Combined with good sleep practices, medications can be successful when used for the short term.
Once in a while, if other treatment options have failed, surgery to treat your sleep/wake disorder may be recommended. If this is the case, Dr. Callahan will discuss your options with you and will refer to a specialist to perform the surgery.