Treatment for Sleeping Disorders - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/24/03

Treatment for Sleeping Disorders

Bernard Ehrlich thought he was getting a good night's sleep until he had a sleep study done that determined he was kicking in his sleep and waking up as many as 110 times an hour. Actually, he hadn't realized all that was happening at night, but his wife knew.

"It was actually sort of a swift kick, and I would have to either give him a shove or actually wake him up and have him turn over," says Nancy Ehrlich, Bernard's wife.

That kicking turned out to be something called periodic limb movement. He also has restless leg syndrome, but that's a little different.

"People describe feelings like creepy crawly feelings or electrical sensations going through their legs, but whatever they describe, they describe as uncomfortable," says Dr. Gary Zammit.

Whichever problem is keeping you or your spouse up at night, the loss of sleep you get from that is associated with major health consequences, ranging from heart trouble to depression. There is treatment for those disorders, but the first step is getting a diagnosis.

There is a sleep center at Covenant Hospital where both those problems can be diagnosed, among other things. Just call (806) 725-6148 for more information.

There's no known cause, but both disorders are more common in women and in the elderly. The key is to get the right diagnosis which usually involves having a good sleep study done at a special center.

Periodic leg movement and restless leg syndrome are two disorders that often strike together. Both are treated with low-dose Parkinson's drugs called Dopamine Agonists such as Mirapex, Requip, and Permax.

Dr. Gary Zammit is a sleep disorder specialist at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.

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