Health Chats
Sleep Breathing Disorders
Wednesday May 13, 2009, 08:00PM - 09:00PM (EST)
Avatar dr m
Private Practice
New York, NY
Are you tired all the time no matter how long you sleep? Do you keep waking up at night, or have to go to the bathroom too often? Are you told that you snore or stop breathing at night while sleeping? Most people take it for granted that we are able to breathe properly at night, but for most modern humans, this is not necessarily the case. Poor breathing while sleeping can aggravate or cause a variety of health problems from anxiety and depression to heart disease and strokes. There are also many myths and misconceptions about snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that even most physicians still believe. Join Dr. Steven Y. Park, expert forum physician for Medhelp's sleep-breathing forum, as he answers your questions on anything related to better breathing and better sleep.<br><br> Dr. Steven Y. Park is a board certified otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat physician and surgeon), specializing in helping people sleep better by helping them breathe better. He is the author of the book, Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired. It was endorsed by New York Times best-selling authors Christiane Northrup, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., Mark Liponis, M.D., Mary Shomon, and many others. He received his undergraduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University, and his medical degree from Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons.
Do you find it beneficial when a patient brings in their results from thier own sleep tracker such as what we have here, at MedHelp?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
I see patients for a focused evaluation regarding snoring or sleep apnea, so it's not as useful. However, a sleep doctor may find it very useful, since they're looking at the whole picture and other issues such as sleep hygiene.
I have been unable to wear masks or nasal pillows.  Everytime I try the next 2 or so days i can't stop sneezing.  Eyes water and nose runs.  It is like having hay fever.  Have you ever heard of anyone being allergic to any of the materials used?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
It's possible, and there are reports of it happening. The only thing I can recommend is to experiment and try different mask made with different material. Otherwise you may be "sensitive" to the positive air pressure.
I have OSA I have not use my machine in a long time because it just didn't help. I am going to go back to my doctor to see what I can do. I notice that sometimes when I am in stage one of sleep I am not breathing. I was wonding if this could be central sleep apnea, because I was thinking that OSA happens in the later stages of sleep.
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
The only way to tell is to undergo another sleep study, which you're due for if you haven
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
sorry...haven't had a study in a while. Talk to your sleep doctor to determine the next possible step.
My husband was on active duty in the middle east.  Ever since he has returned home, he has nightmares nearly every night.  His nightmares must be horrendous, because he jumps, punches and kicks and one night had me in a choke hold.  Is there any way to help him sleep more peacefully?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
You should definitely see a sleep medicine doctor about this. Not only is it dangerous for his health, but yours as well.
I think my dad has sleep apnea, as my mother says he exhibits classic symptoms.  But he's reluctant to go in for a sleep study, so I'm urging him to ask his doctor for a recording pulse oximeter to wear while sleeping for a few nights to get a line on his oxygen desaturation levels.  Is that a reasonable diagnostic first step for someone who's resisting the whole idea of sleep apnea?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
Better yet, there are reliable home tests that are simple to administer. Oxygen saturation doesn't really give a complete picture.
Hi Dr. Park.  I read your blog titled "Do you sleep like a Rock" and have to say until I read your blog thought my sleeping like a rock was a great thing, and the envy of my husband.  Now I am wondering if this is something I should be concerned about and have checked.  I also suffer from chronic non-allergic rhinitis and am a mouth breather, no heart disease that I know of.  Is all of this related and should I see a sleep specialist?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
It depends on if you have any other significant health issues. Are you tired during the day, no matter how long you sleep? Are you losing focus or can't pay attention like you used to? Do you have anxiety or depression symptoms or recurrent sinus infections or ch throat problems. Ultimately it has to be decided  on a case by case basis. Also, it's not healthy to breathe through your mouth,
My heart rate seems to be high on holter test 154 at night. Can this be related to sleep apnea? and i also get more racing heart rate at night  during sleep.
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
It's hard to say since I don't have your complete picture. What was the reason for the Holter? If everything checks out with your heart, then you may want to consider getting screened for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can definitely cause heart arrhythmias.
Insomnia due to menopause or PMS ... any holistic thoughts on ways to help battle/overcome it when it is a side effect of menopause or PMS in a healthy woman?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
Eat dinner early, avoid alcohol close to bedtime, don't sleep on your back, practice yoga, breathing or meditation to help calm your nervous system, exercise regularly, and irrigate your nose with nasal saline nightly. I'm about to confirm next month's Expert interview with Dr. Mao of He's an internationally renown 38th generation Chinese Medicine doctor who wrote the book: Second Spring: Hundreds of natural secrets for women to revitalize and regenerate at any age. We're going to talk about how you can get better sleep.
You mentioned some conservative approaches to prevent What are the less conservative options if those don't work?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
sk123, can you re-ask your question?
Hello Dr. Park. I have been having issues for nearly a year now. I'm not sure how much you will be able to offer, considering my symptoms don't seem exclusively sleep related. However, I am constantly fatigued. No matter how much sleep I get, I never seem to be rested.Often times I wake up with terrible headaches and sometimes tremors. The shaking usually subsides within an hour or so, but the headaches last anywhere from a few hours to all day long. Also, I suffer from terrible joint pain and weakness. I have pain that is usually sudden and severe in my hips, knees, feet, shoulders (it seems to be everywhere). My knees and hips have been known to give out on me, and on particularly bad days I have fallen down or even had difficulty getting out of bed. Once again, I'm not sure if any of this is within your relm of expertise, but any insight that you may have will be greatly apprecited. My doctors haven't been much help thus far, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
There are many conditions that can explain your symptoms, but sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome are two that you should definitely make sure you do or don't have. My gut feeling if that you do have one or the other.
I have a strong family history of sleep apnea, but am a little apprehensive about going to a sleep lab and getting tested.  What are the tests like for testing for sleep apnea?  Is it something that I can test for from the comfort of my own bedroom?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
To get the the most accurate diagnosis, it's better to get an in-lab study. However, there are a number of in-home options. Talk to a sleep doctor. There are lots of resources to help you overcome your apprehension about sleeping in a lab.
There are just 5 minutes left in the health chat.  Dr. Park will have time to answer one last question.
I have generalized anxiety and social anxiety.  I was a nervous wreck that coupled with all the wires I didn't sleep much.  Is this common when you can't sleep during a sleep study?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
What you experienced is not too uncommon. Wait to see what the results show. Usually, they'll get useful data despite your lack of a good night's sleep.
We would like to thank Dr. Park for providing us with very insightful answers.  If your question wasn't answered in the chat today, Dr. Park will answer them post chat.  
ok so i went to see my psychiatrist and i told her about the sleep paralysis sort of thing and she didn't tell me what exactly it it but she increased the dosage of the pills i take for mixed anxiety and depression.and she jus wrote "sleeping difficulties" in the prescription.i didn't ask her about it cus i was kinda nervous about it but i still want to find out what it this a specific kind of sleep disorder?
and from time to time i am having difficulties in breathing it gets worse when i run,climb stairs or get stressed or palms have gotten very dry and i couldn't sleep for one whole night because i couldn't breath well.what is going on?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
You need to see your medical doctor about this first.
Sandy M:
Hi Dr. Park - it's GREAT to be able to ask personal questions and get answers!  Thank you so much!  My question is - I have restless legs syndrome, but when I finally DO get to sleep, my husband tells me that I stop breathing for about 30 second intervals.  Is RLS and Sleep Apnea related in any way?
Dr. Steven Y. Park:
Officially, there's no direct connection, but they frequently go hand in hand.
Actually I am tired during the day despite getting 8 hours of sleep a night, and by afternoon have a hard time keeping my focus.  I am never sure if I am tired because any kind of health problem or because I am a mom to 2 young boys.  I also have chronic sinus problems which is why I think I breathe through my mouth more often than I should.  Thank you so much for your time and helpful advice.