Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Have High Risk of Sleep Disorders
Published October 31, 2011
According to new research, veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury in combat may have a much higher risk of developing sleep disorders. According to the research, more than half of these veterans suffer from sleep apnea, and close to 50% suffer from insomnia.
The research was conducted by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC and involved about 300 soldiers who had suffered brain injuries and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the research, 56% suffered from obstructive sleep apnea. About 47% suffered from insomnia.
In fact, the researchers found that sleep complaints are common among persons with a brain injury. Other common sleep-related complaints included restless nights or fragmented sleep. More than 71% of the veterans surveyed admitted that they suffered from these conditions. Approximately 87% suffered from a condition called hypersomnia, in which people feel sleepy during waking hours.
The type of sleep disorder seems to depend on the type of injury that the person has suffered. For instance, a person who has suffered blast injuries may be more likely to suffer insomnia and anxiety. 63% of the vets with blast injuries suffered these conditions. Persons who suffered blunt force trauma were more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Approximately 40% of the persons who suffered blunt trauma also had sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder in which a person suffers from fractured and disrupted sleep at night, causing lethargy in the daytime.
California veteran’s benefits lawyers find these high rates of sleep disorders very disturbing. Sleep apnea affects between 4% and 5% of the civilian population. In fact, the researchers were not so surprised that veterans with a brain injury suffered from insomnia, but were surprised at the high incidence of sleep apnea. They recommend that doctors treating veterans with brain injury look out for specific sleep disorders.