June 09, 2004
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Palo Alto Online
Publication Date: Wednesday, June 09, 2004|
To Your Health
(June 09, 2004) Several books offer help for those suffering from sleep apnea
by The Health Library
A good night's sleep is elusive for the 20 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, the most common sleep disorder recognized today, is the cessation of breathing during sleep, sometimes for as long as 90 seconds at a time.
Snoring, sleep apnea's No. 1 symptom, disrupts the sleep of those with the problem, and often the sleep of their partners. Sleep apnea can result in feeling exhaustion, unclear thinking, and risk of work and automobile accidents Worst of all, people who go untreated may develop high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and other life threatening conditions.
It has been estimated that 90 per cent of sleep apnea sufferers have yet to be diagnosed. Some of those people will die prematurely from the effects of their untreated condition. Yet, sleep apnea can be controlled with appropriate care. As recognition of sleep apnea's impact has grown, a number of books have been published aiming to bridge the information gap, allowing people with sleep apnea to find the help they need.
A good place to start is the book, "100 Questions and Answers About Sleep and Sleep Disorders," by Sudhansu Chokroverty, M.D. Dr. Chokroverty is a sleep disorders specialist and provides answers to his patient's questions. This book is a useful reference, providing the layman with a concise overview of common sleep problems and ways to get help. The section on sleep apnea effectively answers questions about risk factors, symptoms and treatment for the condition.
Ralph Pascualy, M.D., and Sally Warren Soest have written "Snoring and Sleep Apnea: Sleep Well, Feel Better," to help people become "effective sleep apnea consumers." They stress that sleep apnea is "surprisingly common, debilitating, potentially fatal, treatable and frequently unrecognized," and encourage readers to treat their sleep apnea to restore health and vitality. The authors outline the causes and development of sleep apnea, difficulties in diagnosing the disorder, and how to seek appropriate medical care, along with a variety of treatment regimens, including alternative methods. Information is included on new surgical techniques and new oral appliances to relieve both snoring and sleep apnea. There are separate chapters describing sleep apnea in specific age groups, including infants, children and adolescents and senior citizens. This clear, authoritative text provides information that is useful to the general public, sleep apnea patients and their families, as well as primary care physicians.
In "Restless Nights: Understanding Snoring and Sleep Apnea," sleep specialist Peretz Lavie. M.D. discusses the history, physiology and risk factors associated with sleep apnea. This book discusses sleep apnea symptoms and risk factors and provides a clear explanation of how sleep apnea causes cardiovascular problems. While current treatments are evaluated, this book was not intended to be a road map of practical recommendations for treating sleep apnea. Rather, it offers an engaging discussion of the history and science of sleep research as it relates to apnea. It provides lay people and medical professionals alike insight into the condition and calls into question a medical establishment that for too long seemed to ignore the significance of this debilitating sleep disorder.
All three of these books are available at the Stanford Health Library. In addition, the Health Library's Web site provides an easy link to many excellent resources. Go to http://healthlibrary.stanford.edu and click on the link for "Diseases and Disorders." Then go to "Nervous System and Brain," where you will find a section on Sleep Disorders (http://healthlibrary.stanford.edu/resources/internet/bodysystems/nervoussystem.html).
The Stanford Health Library has three branches: At the Stanford Shopping Center, on the third floor of Stanford Hospital and in the new Stanford Cancer Center. For more information, call (650) 725-8400.
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