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Am I suffering from some sort of a sleep disorder?

Q: I am a 72 years old man with a sleep complaint. I take 1.5 pegs of whisky with soda daily in the evenings. Along with that I also take a light non-veg dinner and go to sleep around 10.15 pm. I fall off to sleep immediately and wake up around 0200 hours and then again around 0330 –0400 hours to go to the toilet and immediately fall asleep again. Then I wake up around 0430-0500 hours and I feel fresh for the day. But even during the day, whenever I am inactive, I doze off. During my sleeping hours I dream of the most irrelevant, unconcerned and at times stupid subjects which I have not even thought of during the day and it continues for the whole night despite interruptions. When I wake up in the morning, I am conscious of what I had dreamt that night. I do snore but not very loudly. I breathe from the mouth. I do not walk much as I get tired quickly and get a very uncomfortable feeling in the stomach with heavy breathing. This has created a scare for walking. I have controlled diabetes with medication: glucomet 500 – twice a day and Glynase 50 – once a day. I have a history of high BP but it is under control with Nauser 50 – once a day. I suffer from acidity but it is under treatment with Enzox Plus - twice a day. I do not have any stress or depression. I smoke about 6 – 7 cigarettes everyday. Please advice as my sleeping habits are quite embarrassing and I am afraid that this may happen while driving too.

A:From the description it appears that you have a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. What happens in this condition is that because of snoring and partial obstruction of the airways there are short spells of cessation of breathing. This results in lack of sound sleep and hence the drowsiness during day time. You need to get a sleep study done, in which we monitor your parameters throughout the night while you sleep. If the results are positive we give you CPAP ventilation - a mask which you have to wear while sleeping. It is also important to reduce your alcohol consumption and please elevate the head end of your bed by 6-8 inches. Sleeping sideways also helps. Please also get an Ultrasound of your prostate gland. If you have Benign Prostatic hypertrophy it needs to be treated. Hopefully your diabetes and blood pressure are well controlled.

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