Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More veterans seek treatment for sleep disorders

More veterans seek treatment for sleep disorders
Fort Hood Herald
Sarah Rafique
Herald staff writer
September 4, 2013

More chronically fatigued active-duty soldiers are getting treatment for sleep disorders at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Sleep Center.

While deployment-related injuries that cause post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury can result in sleep disorders, specialists say a rise in the number of soldiers seeking treatment is attributed to increasing knowledge in a relatively new field of medicine.

Lt. Col. Karin Nicholson, chief of Sleep Services at Darnall, said the hospital’s Sleep Center has seen more than 6,000 patients since it opened its sleep lab in 2012.

More than 600 patients with sleep-related disorders had studies performed on them in the lab, Nicholson said. The full sleep treatment center provides comprehensive sleep evaluations for all sleep disorders, but the two most common disorders the center sees are for obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia.

Obstructive sleep apnea is an upper airway disorder that causes disrupted sleep, Nicholson said. “The soft tissue in the back of the throat is floppy and thickened and will block the airway during sleep.”
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