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.

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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.