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Understanding
ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
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Understanding
BRAIN INJURY
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Understanding
EPILEPSY
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Understanding
MIGRAINE HEADACHE
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Understanding
PARKINSON'S DISEASE
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Understanding
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
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Understanding
SLEEP DISODERS
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Understanding
STROKE
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Understanding
SLEEP DISORDERS

WHAT ARE SLEEP DISORDERS?
Most sleep disorders are brain disorders that cause interruptions in sleep patterns, or prevent you from getting enough sleep. Most people require seven to ten hours of sleep per day. The brain regulates sleep and is the only organ known to require or benefit from sleep. Most sleep complaints fall into one of these categories:

  • Hypersomnia: Excessive sleepiness
  • Sleep Apnea: Stopping breathing while sleeping
  • Narcolepsy: Falling asleep excessively
  • Insomnia: Difficulty getting to and staying asleep
  • Circadian Rhythm Disturbances: Sleep/wake patterns that do not follow a normal 24-hour rhythm

There are more than 100 sleep disorders affecting about 40 million Americans. The most common sleep disorders can be treated. Unfortunately, 9S percent of people with these disorders are never diagnosed.

WHAT CAUSES SLEEP DISORDERS?
Sleep disorders have a wide range of causes including medical and psychological conditions. Some are caused by not getting enough sleep or restriction of your upper airway while sleeping. Others are caused by genetic conditions.

Other things that affect sleep are age, medications, diet, and environmental factors, such as shift work.

WHAT TYPES OF SYMPTOMS ARE RELATED TO SLEEP DISORDERS?
Symptoms vary by sleep disorder. Most sleep disorders include one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Inability to fall asleep at night .Inability to stay asleep at night
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring or gasping sounds when you sleep
  • "Sleep attacks," loss of muscle control, or inability to move
  • Unusual behaviors such as sleepwalking or sleep terrors

It is important to discuss any signs with your neurologist, because sometimes symptoms are caused by another medical condition.

HOW ARE SLEEP DISORDERS DIAGNOSED?
Sleep specialists can diagnose and help you manage your sleep disorder. In order to diagnose your disorder, your neurologist will evaluate your symptoms. The evaluation starts with a visit to the sleep doctor's clinic. The staff will ask you about your sleep history and perform diagnostic tests. Sometimes a test for daytime sleepiness is done.

You may be asked to keep a sleep/wake diary to record patterns not recognized by you or your doctor. You may also need an overnight sleep study to measure the quality of your sleep by observing body functions as you sleep. These include heart rate, electrocardiogram, breathing, snoring, brain activity, eye movements, body movements, and oxygen level. Tests may involve applying sensors to your body that are easiIy removed the next morning. You may also be videotaped so your doctor can see your sleep problem firsthand.

HOW ARE SLEEP DISORDERS TREATED?
Once the tests are done, your sleep doctor will discuss these results with you and make a treatment plan. Most sleep problems are treatable. There are a variety of treatment options, depending on your specific sleep disorder:

  • Better sleep habits
  • Medication
  • Surgical treatment
  • Use of a machine at night to prevent your airway from closing

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PARTNERING WITH YOUR DOCTOR

A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating, and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system. You need your doctor to know all about your symptoms and medical history. Then he or she can be more effective in diagnosing and treating your disorder. Likewise, you need to get answers to your questions. Diagnosing and managing your neurological disorder is a partnership between you and your neurologist.

Questions to ask your neurologist

  • What type of disorder do I have?
  • How will this disorder affect my health?
  • What is the treatment and what will it do?
  • How will this disorder affect my daily Iife and activities?

Understanding your disorder and treatment may make it easier to live with a sleep disorder.

For more information or make an appointment, please contact:

Mohsen M. Hamza, M.D.
Neurology Center for Adults & Children

Tel: 310-477-7201
info@neurologycenter.org

Understanding
STROKE

WHAT IS STROKE?
A stroke, or brain attack, is caused by the sudden loss of blood flow to the brain or bleeding inside the head. Each can cause brain cells to stop functioning or die. When nerve cells in the brain die, the function of body parts they control is harmed or lost. Depending on the part of the brain affected, people can lose speech, feeling, muscle strength, vision, or memory. Some people recover completely; others are seriously disabled or die.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Stroke symptoms may not be as dramatic or painful as a heart attack. But the results can be just as life-threatening. Stroke symptoms happen suddenly and include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or loss of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

WHAT CAUSES STROKE?
There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Eighty percent of strokes are ischemic. Ischemic strokes can be caused by narrowing of the large arteries to the brain or the small arteries within the brain.

Strokes can also be caused by clots that block blood flow to the brain. The lack of normal blood flow to brain cells sets off a chain reaction. When blood cannot get to the brain, cells begin to die within minutes. Quick medical treatment is essential to prevent the damage from spreading to a larger area of the brain, where blood flow might be reduced but not completely cut off. Hemorrhagic strokes involve bleeding around or into the brain, caused by:

  • Weak spots in brain arteries, called aneurysms, burst and blood covers the brain
  • Small blood vessels within the brain that break

HOW IS STROKE DIAGNOSED?
The neurologist or emergency doctor must examine you to understand your condition and find out what caused the stroke.

Tests include:

  • Neurological exam
  • Brain imaging tests
  • Tests that show blood flow and bleeding sites
  • Blood tests for bleeding or clotting disorders
  • Electrocardiogram {ECG/EKG} or ultrasound examination {echocardiogram} of the heart
  • Tests that measure mental function

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS?
Immediate medical care is important. New treatments work onIy if given with in a few hours after a stroke begins. For example, a clot-busting drug must be given within three hours.

For all stroke patients, the goal is to prevent further brain damage. If the stroke is caused by blocked blood flow to the brain, there are several possible treatments. Some options include the use of clot-busting medication, drugs that thin the blood, drugs that lower blood pressure, or surgery that opens the insides of narrowed blood vessels in the neck.

If bIeeding causes the stroke, treatment could include:

  • Drugs that maintain normal blood clotting
  • Drugs that lower blood pressure
  • Surgery to remove blood in the brain or decrease pressure on the brain
  • Surgery to fix the broken blood vessels
  • Blocking off bleeding vessels by inserting a coil
  • Drugs that prevent or reverse brain swelling
  • Inserting a tube into a hollow part of the brain to lower pressure

Preventing a Second Stroke
People who have had a stroke are at a much greater risk of having another stroke than those who have never had a stroke. Talk to your neurologist about ways to prevent a second stroke. These may include medications and changes to your lifestyle including:

  • Eating a low-salt, low-fat, low-cholesterol diet
  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Quitting smoking
  • Controlling cholesterol with drugs
  • Taking drugs that reduce blood clotting

>> back to top

PARTNERING WITH YOUR DOCTOR

A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating, and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system. You need your doctor to know all about your symptoms and medical history. Then he or she can be more effective in diagnosing and treating your disorder. Likewise, you need to get answers to your questions. Diagnosing and managing your neurological disorder is a partnership between you and your neurologist.

Questions to ask your neurologist

  • What type of disorder do I have?
  • How will this disorder affect my health?
  • What is the treatment and what will it do?
  • How will this disorder affect my daily Iife and activities?

Understanding your disorder and treatment may make it easier to live with the effects of stroke.

For more information or make an appointment, please contact:

Mohsen M. Hamza, M.D.
Neurology Center for Adults & Children

Tel: 310-477-7201
info@neurologycenter.org

Resources from
American Academy of Neurology
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