Home Sleep Apnea Testing

An experienced general practitioner, Dr. John Krehlik currently serves patients in Anchorage, Alaska. Since receiving certification in sleep medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine in 2009, Dr. John Krehlik has specialized in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea.

Nearly one-tenth of all Americans suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea. To identify people with this disorder, doctors have recently begun to use home sleep apnea tests. In fact, many insurance providers now request that doctors administer home tests to patients instead of requiring them to visit a hospital or sleep center for testing, as this provides a more cost-efficient method of diagnosis.

Practitioners will conduct a home sleep test if a patient shows any of the symptoms that point to obstructive sleep apnea, including insomnia, snoring, and high blood pressure. The sleep test is simple and requires only a few steps. Before bed, patients secure the testing sensors to their bodies and activate the device, which records data as they sleep. Upon collecting the testing information, practitioners send the data off for analysis. Patients normally receive results within a few weeks.

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Treating Sleep Apnea with CPAP

An Alaska sleep apnea specialist, Dr. John Krehlik maintains offices in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Juneau. He became the first general internist in the state to receive board certification in sleep medicine. In his treatment of sleep apnea, Dr. John Krehlik employs the latest machines for CPAP.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include snoring and pauses in breathing while sleeping at night and tiredness, headaches, sleepiness, and high blood pressure during the day. Obesity can also be connected to sleep apnea, as can medical conditions such as depression, heart disease, hypertension, and strokes.

Once diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a patient has a variety of different treatment options. One of these options, CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, treats those with moderate to severe sleep apnea. It remains the most popular treatment.

The patient undergoing CPAP treatment sleeps with a mask placed over the nose and/or the mouth. This mask provides air at a slightly higher pressure than the surrounding air, thereby keeping open the airway passages, which might otherwise close.

Some Disorders Treated by Sleep Medicine

Dr. John Krehlik earned his medical degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Board-certified in both internal medicine and sleep medicine, Dr. John Krehlik operates sleep medicine clinics throughout Alaska and can be reached by calling 907-743-8987 or visiting http://www.AlaskaSleepDoctor.com.

Although scientists and medical professionals had known for a long time that sleep is a biological necessity, that was the limit of their knowledge. Conditions such as insomnia were well-known, but were invariably treated with medication without much effort given to determining a cause. Today, insomnia can be addressed through behavior and sleep-habit modification treatments.

Another recognized sleep-related malady is narcolepsy, a disorder first identified in 1880. The main symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness. In 1960, researchers found that narcoleptics fall into REM sleep very early in their sleep cycles. Much more recent research has found that people with narcolepsy do not produce enough of two identified hypothalamic peptides.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), another sleep disorder, is also treated by sleep medicine specialists because it manifests itself primarily while people are sleeping, or trying to sleep, and interferes with their ability to sleep properly. First identified in Swedish research more than half a century ago, it was initially considered to be relatively rare. Today, however, research indicates that it may be one of the most common sleep disorders. People with RLS experience significant pain in their legs while sitting or lying down, a strong urge to move their legs for relief, and involuntary jerking of the legs while sleeping. Current research suggests that RLS may be related to an iron deficiency.

Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Board certified in sleep medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. John Krehlik currently maintains sleep medicine practices in Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska. Dr. John Krehlik offers several conservative treatments for obstructive sleep apnea, including CPAP therapy and oral appliances.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a treatment modality administered through a mask that fits over the mouth and nose during sleep. The CPAP machine delivers gentle air pressure into the airway to prevent it from collapsing during the night, ensuring proper breathing and more restful sleep. Many physicians consider CPAP to be one of the most effective ways of treating obstructive sleep apnea.

For patients who find the CPAP apparatus bulky and uncomfortable, oral appliances may be another effective option. Custom fitted by a dentist who is experienced in sleep apnea treatment, these appliances look much like the mouth guards worn by athletes. The devices are worn at night and work by pulling the lower jaw and tongue forward. This slight change in the positioning of the lower jaw keeps the airway open for unobstructed breathing.