The understanding of sleep has received revitalized attention in recent years due to increasing recognition of the involvement of sleep disorders in numerous medical conditions. The author discusses the recent advances in this rapidly growing field and summarizes the interactions of sleep disorders and medical illnesses, such as renal disease, rheumatologic and endocrinological disorders, and malignancies, as well as discusses diagnostic approaches and new treatment options.
• Sleep disturbances are common in medical conditions.
• Moreover, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can worsen a medical disorder, such as arterial hypertension or diabetes mellitus.
Historical note and terminology
The interaction of sleep disorders and medical conditions has been recognized since at least the 19th century. In 1896, acromegaly was the first endocrine disorder recognized to be associated with heavy snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness (Roxburgh and Collis 1896). For decades, disturbed nocturnal sleep and daytime sleepiness have been observed with chronic renal failure (Karacan et al 1973).
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