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Postgraduate Education Corner: CONTEMPORARY REVIEWS IN SLEEP MEDICINE |

Sleep-Related Problems in Common Medical Conditions

James M. Parish, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Sleep Disorders Center, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ.

Correspondence to: James M. Parish, MD, Mayo Clinic Arizona, 13400 Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259; e-mail: parish.james@mayo.edu


The author has no conflict of interest or financial involvement with this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).


Chest. 2009;135(2):563-572. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0934
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Common medical problems are often associated with abnormalities of sleep. Patients with chronic medical disorders often have fewer hours of sleep and less restorative sleep compared to healthy individuals, and this poor sleep may worsen the subjective symptoms of the disorder. Individuals with lung disease often have disturbed sleep related to oxygen desaturations, coughing, or dyspnea. Both obstructive lung disease and restrictive lung diseases are associated with poor quality sleep. Awakenings from sleep are common in untreated or undertreated asthma, and cause sleep disruption. Gastroesophageal reflux is a major cause of disrupted sleep due to awakenings from heartburn, dyspepsia, acid brash, coughing, or choking. Patients with chronic renal disease commonly have sleep complaints often due to insomnia, insufficient sleep, sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome. Complaints related to sleep are very common in patients with fibromyalgia and other causes of chronic pain. Sleep disruption increases the sensation of pain and decreases quality of life. Patients with infectious diseases, including acute viral illnesses, HIV-related disease, and Lyme disease, may have significant problems with insomnia and hypersomnolence. Women with menopause have from insomnia, sleep-disordered breathing, restless legs syndrome, or fibromyalgia. Patients with cancer or receiving cancer therapy are often bothered by insomnia or other sleep disturbances that affect quality of life and daytime energy. The objective of this article is to review frequently encountered medical conditions and examine their impact on sleep, and to review frequent sleep-related problems associated with these common medical conditions.

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