Sleep Week

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Sleep Disorders Week


Welcome Message

Welcome to Sleep Disorders week at the ATS.  Sleep disorders are extremely common, impacting about 70 million Americans.  We all spend one third of our lives sleeping and so problems with sleep can have large effects on health and quality of life.  One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea, a condition where breathing can become very shallow or even stop during sleep.  Obstructive sleep apnea is a disease where the throat collapses because of the normal loss of muscle tone during sleep.  This collapse prevents people with sleep apnea from being able to breathe normally.  In order to start breathing, they have to wake up briefly to get the throat muscles working again to pull the throat open.  People with sleep apnea typically feel tired during the day because they are unable to get into a deep restful sleep.  By preventing restful sleep, sleep apnea is also a risk factor for many other problems including learning disorders, depression, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  Many treatments for sleep apnea now exist but awareness of the disease and getting patients diagnosed and treated remain major challenges.  The ATS has been committed to raising awareness of sleep apnea and promoting simpler and more accessible ways to diagnose people with sleep apnea and get them on successful treatment. At the same time, the ATS has funded research to identify new approaches to treatment that may be easier for patients to use.



Sanjay Patel, MD
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


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