Obstructive sleep apnea is a frequently missed cause of sleep disorder in adults. It is characterized by a disturbance of the normal respiratory pattern during sleep, frequent arousals (for which the sleeper may have no recall), and unrefreshing sleep. The causes of obstructive sleep apnea may include overweight, alcohol excess, or hypothyroidism and its consequences, if untreated, range from fatigue and daytime sleepiness, to increased risk for hypertension, nocturnal angina, and cor pulmonale – a heart condition.
Diagnosis is typically made by polysomnography, an overnight sleep study, which Dr. Cooke is capable of ordering for her patients who haven’t already been tested. Commonly, treatment strategies include a program of weight reduction, treatment of hypothyroidism (see separate listing above), withdrawal of offending agents (e.g., alcohol), or the addition of a positive airway pressure device.
In addition to employing conventional diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, she examines nutritional, nutraceutical, and neurotransmitter factors. She has found acupuncture to be of help in treating some cases of sleep apnea, as cited in the research literature.