Understanding Sleep Apnea

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 28, 2015

Susan Redline, MD, MPH

Sleep apnea is a common yet serious condition that occurs when the throat collapses repetitively during sleep. When the throat collapses, oxygen levels in the brain drop, and sleep is interrupted.

Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, including children. The group of adults who appear to be at greatest risk for sleep apnea are often middle-aged men and individuals who are overweight. Among women, the rates of sleep apnea increase after menopause.

Over the last 10 years, there has been a tremendous amount of research that has studied the links between sleep apnea and a number of health outcomes. There is compelling data that sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed by measuring breathing patterns, heart rate, and oxygenation overnight. A sleep study can be performed in a sleep laboratory or at home.

Read More »

Understanding Bariatric Surgery Treatment Options

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 9, 2014

After having a sleeve gastrectomy, Chuck achieved optimal cholesterol and blood pressure levels, his sleep apnea was cured, his diabetes went into remission, and he welcomed his first child.

Obesity is a major public health problem in the United States and throughout the world. In the U.S., it is estimated there are up to 20 million morbidly obese people (body mass index (BMI) greater than 40). Morbid obesity can lead to many other health issues, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. These patients also may be at increased risk for certain types of cancer, endocrine problems, skin problems, and joint and bone pain.

Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) can help patients with a BMI greater than 40, or a BMI greater than 35 with co-existing health conditions, lose weight  and improve their overall health, including remission of type 2 diabetes, reductions in high blood pressure, and improvement in female fertility.

Dr. Scott Shikora, Director of the Center for Metabolic Health and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital discusses bariatric surgery options for weight loss and metabolic treatment in obese patients.

Read More »

Women’s Sleep Across a Lifetime

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 25, 2013

There are things that women of all ages can do to get a good night's sleep.

Today’s post is written by Dr. Sandra Horowitz, a neurologist who specializes in sleep disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Women lead busy lives: we work, have babies, raise families, and take care of our sick and elderly family members. Juggling these numerous roles, combined with hormonal changes due to menarche, menopause, and pregnancy, as well as other health conditions, can affect a woman’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.  Despite these challenges, there are things women of all ages can do to get a good night’s sleep.

Read More »