Archive for March, 2018

Sleep Apnea and the Gender Difference

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common disorder where one’s breathing involuntarily and repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. There are three different types of sleep apnea with separate root causes:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)– the most common form that occurs when the throat muscles relax
  • Central Sleep Apnea – occurs when the brain does not send the correct signals to the muscles that control breathing
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea – occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea can have serious health consequences including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, pregnancy complications, metabolic disorders, and cognitive and behavior disorders, and higher risks for car crashes and work-related accidents. Central sleep apnea has health consequences associated with heart failure, opioid use, strokes, and brain injuries.

Signs and Symptoms

Commons signs:

  • Reduced or absent breathing
  • Frequent loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Restless sleep

Common symptoms:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Decrease in attention, concentration, motor skills, and verbal and visuospatial memory
  • Dry mouth or headaches when waking
  • Decreased libido
  • Waking up often during the night to use the bathroom
  • Irritability due to fatigue
  • Loud snoring followed by a period of silence

Did you know that sleep apnea in women is different compared to men?

Sleep Apnea in Women Compared to Men

Sleep apnea in women differs from men due to their individual set of hormones. Women’s sleep cycles are typically shorter and women deal with sleep deprivation differently compared to men. However, the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in women is similar to men after women experience menopause.

Studies have shown that women are less likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea because of the subtle symptoms they experience, therefore many go undiagnosed. The signs in a female may not be as obvious as it is for men. It is commonly mistaken for depression, hypertension, hypochondria, and other disorders. Women experience subtle symptoms including:

  • More insomnia
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Trouble functioning during the day
  • Morning headaches and moodiness
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disruption

If you think you are potentially suffering from sleep apnea, please call HealthConnection at 404-778-7777.

About Emory Sleep Center

The Emory Sleep Center provides state-of-the-art care for all types of sleep disorders, with the goal of providing expert service in a relaxed environment with comprehensive diagnostics and therapeutics. We offer all forms of sleep diagnostic testing, as well as traditional and cutting-edge therapies.

Learn more about the Integrated Memory Care Clinic

The Impact of Brain Injury on Veterans

Nearly 20% of deployed military personnel experience traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs are any brain injury caused by an outside force. These injuries can be “closed,” such as from a fall or motor vehicle accident or “open,” like from a gunshot wound.

Traumatic brain injuries range broadly from mild to severe. People with mild TBI (also called concussion) often fully recover within days to weeks, while those with severe TBI may have significant and sometimes permanent impairments. Fortunately, 70 – 90% of all TBIs in military personnel fall within the “mild” range.

Symptoms of Mild TBI

Traumatic brain injury can cause physical, cognitive and emotional difficulties.

Typical symptoms of mild TBI/concussion include:

  • Looking and feeling dazed
  • Being uncertain of what is happening; feeling confused
  • Having difficulty thinking clearly or responding correctly to simple questions
  • Being unable to describe events immediately before or after the injury occurred

Complications of Mild TBI

Although most with mild TBIs fully recover within a matter of days, a small percentage have symptoms that persist for months or even years. What causes this? Research shows outside factors may interfere with the brain’s recovery. What begins as a neurologic injury is complicated by other non-neurologic factors, such as chronic pain, side effects of medicines and psychological distress—all of which cause similar symptoms to TBI.

These outside factors are commonly experienced by veterans because in many cases their brain injuries were the result of a blast that also injured other parts of their bodies. In addition to their physical pain, injured veterans also commonly experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and depression.

Brain Injury Awareness Month: Not Alone

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in observing March as Brain Injury Awareness Month. They work to build awareness of the condition and support individuals with brain injuries and their families.

Help for Veterans with TBI

Emory Healthcare Veterans Program offers expert and collaborative care to help heal the invisible wounds of war. Our comprehensive approach combines psychiatry, neurology, rehabilitative medicine and family support to help veterans reintegrate and reclaim their lives.

A coordinated treatment plan may include:

  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Education about typical recovery and common barriers
  • Management of orthopaedic injuries and chronic pain
  • Medication management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Complementary medicine (yoga, meditation, acupuncture, sleep medicine)



Learn more about the Integrated Memory Care Clinic

Call for more information, call 888-514-5345