From lack of awareness to physician examination, a Consumer Reports article discusses why sleep disorders may not be diagnosed and offers tips for diagnosis and testing.
Some people may be unaware of sleep interruptions, and often, “patients don’t bring their sleep to the attention of doctors because they don’t think it’s ‘medical’ or think they should tough it out,” says Matt T. Bianchi, M.D., Ph.D., director of the sleep division at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Past surveys have shown that medical schools have formally devoted, on average, less than 2 hours to sleep medicine, and doctors might not routinely discuss sleep problems at office visits. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that only 25 percent of primary care providers asked new patients about insomnia or other sleep issues, although many had signs of problems. Doctors might also find it hard to pinpoint which of the 60 sleep disorders is the culprit because symptoms may be unclear, and other illnesses and habits may affect rest.