Speaker 1: And now time to answer some common health questions. Joining me as News Channel 5’s medical expert, Doctor David Soria. He’s the chief of emergency medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center.
Always great to see you.
David Soria: Well, you, too. And I love your pink today.
Speaker 1: Well, breast cancer awareness month, trying to certainly show support –
David Soria: October.
Speaker 1: For the cause. October already, can you believe it?
David Soria: I can’t.
Speaker 1: Ah, man. Time flies. First question, this is really a serious one. Is it true that drugs for insomnia increase your risk for dementia?
David Soria: Yeah, you know there have been a lot of studies in the past, or at least a few. But a recent study in the British Medical Journal actually, and it was a good one, actually shows that it does. Now, as we get older, we get more insomnia, we get a little bit more anxiety, and so a common medication, or medications, that are prescribed are the benzodiazepines like Restoril and Xanax, and then of course Ambient for sleep. And what they did was, they followed patients over the course of about 15 years, and they saw a direct correlation to those patients that were taking the medications at a 60 percent greater risk of developing dementia than those that did not. So, obviously dramatic. So the bottom line is that the longer you take it, the more risk you have.
Short term experts will tell you that it’s safe. But as long as you have a plan to transition to a more natural method of sleeping, a better sleep habit, take them in the short run. Don’t rely on them in the long run, and I think they’ll be all right.
Speaker 1: Gotcha. Let’s talk about snoring. We probably all know someone out there who snores. Is it, though, kind of an indication of a health problem?
David Soria: You know, it absolutely is. As a matter of fact, more and more studies are showing this. And what they’re actually saying is that it’s more of a health risk, and a risk to cardio vascular disease, and certainly to cerebral vascular disease of the carotids than smoking, being overweight, or even high cholesterol. And what they tied it to was a thickening of the lining of the carotid arteries in your neck, and that in turn is sort of a precursor to atherosclerosis.
Now why we think that is, is because while you’re lying down and you’re constantly snoring at night, that vibration of the neck is just like trauma to those vessels, and it’s causing inflammation, and thus scarring and thickening.
Speaker 1: So, get checked out, basically is what you’re saying.
David Soria: You absolutely need to get checked out. In other words, snoring is not just an annoyance. Make sure you see your doctor.
Speaker 1: An annoying factor, or laughable, yeah.
David Soria: You bet.
Speaker 1: All right. If you have a question for the doctor, you can send it in by going to our website, WPTV.com. Click on the health link, scroll down, on the right hand side, you’ll see a form to write your question. We look forward to seeing those. Thanks so much for doing that, and thank you, Doctor Soria, for coming in.