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The most studied of all sleep disorders is "sleep apnea", a short cessation or stopping of respiration during sleep, which is often associated with snoring problems.
Stress and anxiety commonly cause sleep disorders but a condition known as "sleep apnea" is also responsible for keeping people from complete rest.
Blocked air passageways cause this condition, forcing the sufferer to awaken continuously. One may be aware only of the symptoms without knowing the indication is sleep apnea.
According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, 60% of the more than 70 million Americans who regularly suffer from sleep disorders have a chronic condition.
Many sufferers who simply wish to stop snoring are unaware that sleep disorders can lead to such serious illnesses as neurological disorders, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attack, pulmonary hypertension, congestive heart failure, stroke, neuropsychiatric problems, mental impairment and even addictions.
The National Institute of Health estimates that while apnea is a common form of sleep disorder that affects over twelve million Americans, the vast majority remains undiagnosed and therefore untreated.
The field of sleep medicine is a rapidly advancing one, with increasing recognition of the complex pathophysiology of sleep disorders. Sleep medicine differs in no respect from other medical specialties in demanding systematic evaluation in order to arrive at a proper diagnosis. An important part of the diagnostics of sleep medicine is the polysomnogram, which requires careful and knowledgeable interpretation to achieve an accurate description of the pathophysiology of sleep.