(520) 626-4828
January 30, 2012 - 2:56pm

Center for Sleep Disorders Opens This Week at The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus

Tucson, Ariz. -- A new Center for Sleep Disorders at The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus is treating patients for a variety of sleep problems, including sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome and others.
Visitors will have an opportunity to tour the new two-bed facility, which opened this week on the hospital’s sixth floor, during an open house on Tuesday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Refreshments and information tables will be set up on the sixth floor and in the main lobby of The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus during that time.
 
“The mission of our sleep center is to not only diagnose and treat sleep disorders but also to promote sleep health for adults and children,” said Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders. “Research is also part of our mission. We have funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and from industry for doing sleep research, and as a result there are opportunities for patients to participate in cutting-edge research trials involving new therapies that may not be available in the community.”  
 
About 70 percent of the U.S. population does not get adequate sleep, which would be about eight hours a night for adults and 10 hours for children, says Dr. Parthasarathy, a board-certified sleep physician and associate professor of medicine at the University of Arizona. Insufficient sleep may cause people to be irritable, perform sub-optimally, or even suffer from motor vehicle accidents. Insufficient sleep has even been tied to the obesity epidemic, because people who don’t sleep well may experience greater hunger and cravings for more carbohydrate-rich foods during the day or may eat extra food when they are having difficulty sleeping, Dr. Parthasarathy says.
 
Another prevalent sleep problem is sleep apnea, a condition in which a patient experiences abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. Left untreated, the disorder can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure or even sudden death. Today, sleep apnea is as common as diabetes or asthma, Dr. Parthasarathy says.
 
Dr. Parthasarathy notes that inadequate sleep and sleep disorders don’t just affect the individuals that suffer from them, but also those around them.
 
“Sleep disorders are truly a public health problem. We know with the Exxon Valdez disaster that the ship’s captain was sleep-deprived, and we had, essentially, an environmental nightmare because of one person’s sleep deprivation,” Dr. Parthasarathy says. “New Jersey has passed a law that drivers must not knowingly operate a vehicle while impaired by lack of sleep and that drivers with such impairment can be prosecuted.”
 
The Center for Sleep Lab Disorders is located in Rooms 6524 and 6525 on the sixth floor of The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., and is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of sleep medicine experts with backgrounds in pulmonary, pediatrics, psychiatry and psychology.
 
Sleep clinic appointments can be made by calling Misty Nissen, (520) 626-6115. Sleep lab appointments can be made by calling Max Quitazol at (520) 694-2522.