A good primary care doctor will ask good questions about your medical problems, but quality of life issues, especially involving chronic medical conditions, is not asked about. This conclusion was found in a recent article published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Jane Brody of the New York Times wrote an excellent article summarizing the findings. However, I was disappointed that she didn’t mention anything about the importance of asking about sleep. I can argue that lack of quality sleep (or quantity) can aggravate, if not cause almost every medical condition that she mentions in her article (diabetes, arthritis, ADHD, IBS, cancer, urinary problems, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, depression).
In medicine, it’s commonly assumed that chronic disease can cause poor sleep. But there are numerous studies that show that poor sleep can cause or aggravate each of the medical conditions mentioned above. Furthermore, since such a high proportion of the population has undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (24% of men and 9% of women, and over 50% as seniors), it’s a travesty that doctors almost never ask about sleep, and even if they do ask, most end up prescribing a sleeping pill.
Does your doctor ask about how well you sleep? If so, how is it addressed?