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December 23, 2009 > Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders Earns Prestigious Accreditation

Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders Earns Prestigious Accreditation

The Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders recently earned accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). As the largest national professional medical society for physicians, researchers and other health-care providers in the field of sleep medicine, the AASM is the leading organization promoting the highest quality of medical care for people with sleep problems and sleep-related breathing disorders.

"Accreditation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is the 'gold standard' in terms of the quality of services provided by a sleep center," says Dr. Nitun Verma, Medical Director of the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders. "We are proud to be recognized as a center of excellence. Our facility is one of only two accredited sleep labs located between Oakland and Sunnyvale."

The standards for AASM accreditation were developed to ensure the highest quality of care is delivered to sleep disorder patients. The process of accreditation takes several months. To earn accreditation, sleep centers must demonstrate compliance with high standards for:
* Skilled personnel
* Patient policies
* Facility and equipment
* Data acquisition, scoring and reporting
* Patient evaluation and care
* Patient records
* Emergency procedures
* Quality assurance

The Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders in Fremont - which has been open for about a year - provides patient assessments and treatment for a wide range of sleep disorders, including:

* Sleep Apnea - A sleep-related breathing disorder that involves brief lapses in breathing when the patient's airway collapses during sleep. The brain responds to the lack of oxygen or airway narrowing by causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. This pattern can occur hundreds of times in one night without being remembered. In addition to frequent awakenings, symptoms can include loud snoring, dry mouth, morning headaches and night sweats. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and even an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

* Insomnia - A common sleep complaint that entails difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently in the middle of the night, or waking up too early and being unable to go back to sleep. Insomnia can be the result of short-term causes such as stress or anxiety. Long-term insomnia that lasts for a month or more may be caused by medical, physical or psychological conditions. The AASM estimates that approximately 10 percent of adults have insomnia that is severe enough to cause daytime sleepiness that can result in driving hazards, poor work performance and other behavioral problems.

* Restless Leg Syndrome - A sleep-related movement disorder that involves an almost irresistible urge to move the legs at night, which may be accompanied by unusual sensations deep in the leg that are often described as a burning, tingling, prickly, jittery or painful. The urge to move the legs increases in the evening or at night, and the symptoms worse when lying down or sitting still.

* Narcolepsy - A neurological sleep disorder that can cause a potentially disabling level of excessive daytime sleepiness, with repeated and irresistible "sleep attacks" in which a person suddenly falls asleep during normal activities including eating, walking or driving.

In addition to these disorders, the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders can assist people with problems such as walking or talking in their sleep, "circadian" sleep disorders in which the person's normal sleep timing is disrupted, recurrent nightmares and sleep terrors.

"Sleep medicine does not provide a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment," Dr. Verma emphasizes. "In our practice, we work closely with dentists, surgeons, pulmonologists and other specialists to create a treatment plan tailored to each patient's needs. For example, some patients with sleep apnea might benefit from using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that delivers a flow of air into the airway through a specially designed facial mask. Other sleep apnea patients may do better with a special orthodontic device or surgery. Other sleep disorders also require determining which treatments are appropriate for specific patients."

The need for physician referral to the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders often depends on the patient's health insurance. HMOs generally require a referral from a primary care physician, while Medicare and PPOs usually do not. For more information about the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders, please visit The website also offers a free online sleep evaluation test that provides a printed report, which includes a physician referral form.

For more information about diagnosing and treating sleep apnea and to learn more about various sleep disorders, visit the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders website at To find a physician near you, visit Washington Hospital's website at and click on "Find a Physician."

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