There are a broad range of medical specialties, each of which plays a necessary role in our healthcare ecosystem. As a patient, it’s crucial to have an understanding of these specialties and the unique role they play in our overall health. Generally, patients receive referrals for specialist care through their primary care physician, but some prefer to make direct appointments with specialists if their insurance allows for it. Pulmonary and sleep medicine is one example of a key specialty that is often overlooked. If you want to learn more, read on to find out what pulmonary and sleep medicine is.
What is pulmonary and sleep medicine?
Pulmonary and sleep medicine are two medical specialties that focus on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the lungs and the sleep-wake cycle. Pulmonary medicine specialists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bronchitis. Sleep medicine specialists diagnose and treat sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or restless leg syndrome. Offices like this one for pulmonary & sleep medicine in Somerset, NJ can help patients dealing with these conditions put together an appropriate treatment plan and improve their overall quality of life in many different ways.
Pulmonary and sleep medicine are related because they both deal with the lungs and how they work. However, pulmonary medicine is more focused on diseases and conditions that affect the lungs, while sleep medicine is more focused on the effects of sleep on the body, including the lungs. Sleep apnea is an example of a condition that impacts both the lungs and sleep. When you have sleep apnea, your airway becomes blocked during sleep, which can lead to interrupted sleep and a number of health problems. One of those health problems is that the person’s lungs may not get the oxygen they need, which can lead to chronic pulmonary issues.
There are a few ways that your lung function can impact your sleep. For example, if you have a lung condition like COPD, you may find it difficult to breathe at night. This can lead to restless sleep and poor-quality sleep. Another way your lungs can affect your sleep is if you’re experiencing allergies or asthma. Allergens and asthma triggers can cause you to wake up frequently during the night, which can also impact your sleep hygiene. If you think you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s best to see a doctor right away.
Why is getting enough sleep at night important?
Most people know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but may not understand why. Sleep is essential for your body to repair and regenerate tissues, consolidate memories, and process information. Not only that, but there are countless health problems that can be caused by lack of sleep. Some of the most serious ones are obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to get sick, make mistakes, and be in a bad mood. Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night, but everyone is different. You may need more or less sleep, depending on your age, lifestyle, and health.
The use of electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops emit blue light, which can disrupt sleep. Recent studies have shown that blue light can be a major factor in poor sleep quality. Exposure to blue light before bed can delay the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep and get a good night’s sleep. To get the best sleep possible, it is recommended to avoid using electronic devices in the hours before bed. If you must use electronic devices, reduce blue light exposure by using blue light-blocking glasses or installing software that alters the color of your screen.
As you can see, pulmonary and sleep medicine play a critical role in our lives. If you’re experiencing any issues with your lung function or have poor sleep hygiene, you should try to see a specialist as soon as you’re able to. Fortunately, there are a lot of treatments that can help patients who have sleep or pulmonary issues, but you do need to reach out for professional care. As long as you follow this advice and prioritize sleep health, you should be able to avoid preventable negative outcomes.