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One-third of our population faces some type of sleep disorder. Dr. Dholakia strives to increase awareness.

In this podcast, he explains:

  • The differences between disorders such as narcolepsy, insomnia, idiopathic hypersomnia, obstructive apnea, and more, and how sleep apnea treatments might improve.
  • Connections researchers are making between Parkinson’s disease and sleep disorders, as well as other health concerns.
  • The mechanics of how our body functions during REM sleep and how some disorders affect this with potentially dangerous outcomes.

Board-certified neurologist and sleep specialist Dr. Swapan Akhilesh works as a physician at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and is the medical director of the Atlanta VA sleep laboratory as a neurologist for sleep disorders.

He focuses on the whole spectrum of sleep disorders from snoring to sleep apnea to insomnia. He discusses that while obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia are the most common disorders, there are numerous other disorders worthy of study because their effects can be dangerous.

Because of the overlap of neurology and sleep, Dr. Dholakia is able to bring the science of each together for better understanding. As a neurologist for sleep disorders, he is able to explain neurological complications that lead to these disorders.

For example, the inability of some brains to decompartmentalize waking versus sleeping states causes narcolepsy. Because these lines are blurred for the brain, sleeping intrudes into wakeful times.

He also explains many of the mysteries in sleep disorders such as idiopathic hypersomnia: they don’t understand why these patients are constantly sleepy and are undergoing research to try and understand this better.

Finally, Dr. Dholakia explains possible improvements into more common issues like sleep apnea treatments, but also warns of the commonness of sleep disorders that can affect our health. Therefore, he’s working to educate and encourage the public to seek treatment.

He advises veterans who want to learn more to seek out the VA’s specialized sleep centers. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Alliance of Healthy Sleep are also good resources.

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