Aiming for a Seizure-Free Life
Rest Assured, Help is Here for Sleep Disorders
You’ve heard how important it is to “get enough sleep.” You know your body and brain require sleep for optimal function.
Yet, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medi-cine, 30 to 35 percent of adults have symptoms of insomnia, meaning about one-third of adults have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
This past September, Northwest Neurology began offering sleep medicine services at its locations in Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Rolling Meadows and Libertyville. Two new sleep
medicine specialists, Dr. Ahmer Ali and Dr. Yumna Saeed, complete Northwest Neurology’s team of 23 providers. Both Ali and Saeed completed fellowships in sleep medicine at Northwestern University and now lead the Northwest Neurology Sleep Program.
“There’s significant overlap between neurology and sleep medicine,” Saeed says. “Many of our patients with neurological disorders such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or neurodegenera-tive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, can also have a sleep disorder. As such, Northwest Neurology is now able to pro-vide sleep medicine services to its patients.”
Northwest Neurology can now treat patients with sleep disor-ders including insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, REM behavioral sleep disorder, circadian rhythm disorders, narcolepsy and substance- or medication-induced sleep disorders.
Some patients may need a sleep study to determine a diag-nosis. This can be done at home or in a sleep laboratory. North-west Neurology provides equipment for home sleep tests and collaborates with three laboratories to provide more in-depth sleep testing.
“Home testing is a convenient and affordable way to study a patient’s sleep,” Saeed says. “We can use that data as an initial screening tool to determine a patient’s severity, and for more se-vere cases, we might recommend that the patient spend the night in a sleep lab for more-extensive testing.”
Based on the di-agnosis, Northwest Neurology develops a treatment plan from a wide range of treatment strate-gies, depending on the underlying sleep disorder. Two of the most common dis-orders are insomnia, when patients have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and obstructive sleep ap-nea, when breathing is interrupted during sleep. Treatment may range from cognitive behavioral strategies or behavior modification for insomnia to oral appliances or CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy for obstructive sleep apnea. Saeed and Ali follow up with their patients throughout their treatment to implement the most effective care for long-term recovery.
“With insomnia, medications may be considered for short-term therapy, but oftentimes we establish specific sleep habits and techniques to implement through lifestyle modifications and be-havioral therapy, to allow for recovery without the use of medica-tions,” Saeed says. “These skills empower our patients to be able to prevent or treat future episodes of insomnia without the need for medications. With sleep apnea, the severity often dictates what treatments are best. In milder cases, dental appliances may be an option. For more moderate to severe cases, the use of a CPAP de-vice works most effectively by providing continuous airway pres-sure to prevent the airway from obstructing. Rarely, we resort to surgical options.”
The long-term side effects of untreated sleep apnea increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, metabolic derange-ments including weight gain, cardiac arrhythmias and even stroke, Saeed says. The long-term side effects of sleep deprivation and in-somnia may lead to cognitive symptoms.
“It’s very important, especially in our younger patients, to treat these disorders early on to prevent the detrimental sequelae of untreated sleep disorders down the road,” Saeed says. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults age 18 to 60 should sleep at least 7 hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health. If you have exces-sive sleepiness during the day, trouble falling or staying asleep throughout the night, snoring, or other sleep complications, Saeed recommends calling Northwest Neurology at (847) 882-6604 to schedule an evaluation.
“Our goal at Northwest Neurology is to provide our patients with easier access and the highest quality of care that our patients
About the Physicians
Dr. Ahmer Ali is board-certified in neurology and fellowship trained in epi-lepsy/EEG, neurophysiol-ogy and sleep medicine.
He completed his adult neurology residency and clinical neurophysiol-ogy fellowship (with advanced training in both EEG and EMG) at the University of Chicago. He completed his sleep medicine fellowship at North-western University.
Dr. Ali’s practice includes all areas of general neu-rology, and his subspecialty practice includes epilep-sy/EEG as well as sleep medicine with a focus on sleep-disordered breathing (obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, etc.), circadian rhythm disorders, parasomnias, REM behavioral disorder, hypersomnia, narcolepsy and insomnia. With dual fellowship train-ing Dr. Ali brings added expertise to his patients.
Dr. Yumna Saeed is board-certified in Neurol-ogy. She joins Northwest Neurology after completing her sleep fellowship at
Northwestern University. She received her medical degree from SUNY Up-state Medical University and completed her inter-nal medicine internship and neurology residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
She practices general neurology and sub-special-izes in sleep medicine. She focuses on the treatment of sleep-disordered breathing (obstructive and cen-tral sleep apnea), sleep-related movement disorders (parasomnias, RBD, PLMD and RLS), hypersomnia, narcolepsy and insomnia.
deserve,” Saeed says. “We work very hard to be a practice that’s available for patients and offer earlier appointments to prevent delay in care.”