Did you know that trouble concentrating, headaches, urinating frequently at night, and many other symptoms can be caused by sleep apnea? Unfortunately, sleep apnea is often misdiagnosed in women.
Learn about sleep apnea and signs that it might be affecting your health.
Who gets sleep apnea?
Both men and women can have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is commonly under-diagnosed in women because they do not present with “typical” symptoms. Often, women’s concerns are “dismissed” by their physician. Some doctors may have preconceived notions about what a typical sleep apnea patient looks like, and may overlook the reported symptoms by women when they don’t fit the common portrait. Education is key and allows women to advocate for their own health care needs.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Snoring is the most obvious sign but it is more common in men. Other signs and symptoms of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) include:
Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
Restlessness during sleep, frequent nighttime awakenings
Sudden awakenings with a sensation of gasping or choking
Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
Cognitive impairment, such as trouble concentrating, forgetfulness or irritability
Mood disturbances (often dismissed as depression or anxiety which can co-exist with sleep apnea)
Frequent nighttime urination
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Speak with your primary care physician about your symptoms. If your doctor determines that you have symptoms suggestive of sleep apnea, you may be asked to have a sleep evaluation with a sleep specialist or an overnight sleep study to objectively evaluate for sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea treated?
The treatment for sleep apnea is extremely individualized and based on the underlying cause for the sleep apnea. Most commonly the cause of the obstruction to the airway is treated. In a many cases the airway obstruction can be relieved with conservative therapies targeting the underlying cause. These may include:
Sleep position changes
Treatment for underlying sinus or nasal congestion
Additional therapies utilized (based on the underlying cause of the sleep apnea) include:
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines or other mechanical therapy
Dental appliances that keep the airway open
Surgical procedures are usually reserved for unresponsive cases
Diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea are important for your long term health. If you are looking for a physician who spends the time required to evaluate your health concerns and will get to the root of the your health care needs, schedule a FREE “Meet and Greet” at Roots Health DPC.
Human Papilomaviurs, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States.
70- 80% of women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lifetime. HPV can cause cervical cancer.
The following questions and answers address what you need to know about HPV and screening for cervical cancer:
What is human papillomavirus (HPV)?
HPV is a group of viruses that can be passed through sexual contact. The types that infect the genital area are called genital HPV.
Who gets HPV?
Genital HPV is the most common STI in the United States. It is so common that 70-80% of women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lifetime.
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Most people with HPV do not have any symptoms which is why women need regular Pap tests starting at age 21. The Pap test can find changes on the cervix caused by HPV. If you are a woman between ages 30 and 65, you can also do a DNA test for HPV strains of the virus that cause cervical changes.
HPV infections can sometimes cause genital warts. Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area and physicians can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area.
What health problems can HPV cause?
HPV usually goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems including: cervical cancer and genital warts most commonly.
Do I need to get tested for HPV?
If you are 21 to 29 years old, your doctor might suggest the HPV test if you have had an unclear Pap test result. Most women younger than 30 do not need the HPV test, because the immune system fights off HPV in the vast majority.
If you are 30 years or older, you may choose to have the HPV test and Pap test to screen for cervical cancer. If both tests are normal, the chance of getting cervical cancer in the next few years is very low and often you can wait up to five years for your next HPV screening.
How can I prevent HPV?
There are two ways to prevent HPV. One way is get an HPV vaccine. The other way to prevent HPV or any STI is to avoid sexual contact with another person.
If you do have sex, lower your risk of getting an STI with the following steps:
Use condoms. Condoms are the best way to prevent STIs when you have sex.
Limit your number of sex partners. Your risk of getting STIs goes up with the number
of partners you have.
If I get the HPV vaccine, do I still need to use a condom?
Yes. The vaccine does not replace or decrease the need to wear condoms. Using condoms lowers your risk of getting other types of HPV and other STIs.
Do I still need a Pap test if I got the HPV vaccine?
Yes. There are three reasons why:
Although the HPV vaccine protects against many of the HPV types that cause cervical cancer, it does not prevent all HPV types that cause cervical cancer.
You might not be fully protected if you did not get all the vaccine doses (or at the recommended ages).
You might not fully benefit from the vaccine if you were vaccinated after getting one or more types of HPV before vaccination.
Monkeypox is caused by a virus that is usually not serious, though the rash is painful and can cause scarring. Although a public health emergency, Monkeypox disease is not similar to COVID and no one should panic.
What is monkeypox?
Previously, monkeypox was known as a rare disease. It was first seen in humans in 1970 and caused by an infection with the monkeypox virus (a part of the same family of viruses as smallpox). The disease is milder than small pox symptoms and it is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease that lasts 2-4 weeks.
What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?
Sore throat, cough, congestion
Swollen lymph nodes
What does the rash look like?
The rash can be extremely itchy or painful and goes through different stages before forming a scab and healing. It can be located near genitals but also on hands feet and other parts of the body.
How does the virus spread?
Through close skin to skin contact
Contact with surfaces used by someone with monkeypox (shared towels for example).
Direct contact with rash or body fluids from someone with monkeypox.
How can I protect myself?
Limit contact by avoiding close skin to skin contact of persons with a rash.
Do not share utensils, plates, or cups with person who has monkeypox.
Do not handle bedding towels or cloths with person who has monkeypox.
Wash hands frequently.
The vaccine is limited and recommended for people who have been exposed to monkeypox.
Today we are exploring the difference between “being tired” and fatigue which often underlies a more serious medical problem. Tiredness happens to everyone – it’s an expected feeling after certain activities or at the end of the day. Usually, a good night’s sleep solves the problem. Fatigue is a daily lack of energy – unusual or excessive whole-body tiredness not relieved by sleep. Fatigue can prevent a person from functioning normally and affects a person’s quality of life.
What are the most common causes of fatigue?
Taking an honest inventory of things that might be responsible for your fatigue is often the first step toward relief.
Evaluating the following can have an enormous impact on levels of fatigue:
Modifications can often dramatically impact levels of fatigue.
Underlying Medical Conditions that commonly cause Fatigue:
Anemia: iron deficiency anemia is a common blood disorder that makes it hard for your blood to move oxygen to your organs.
Thyroid problem: this small butterfly-shaped gland that sits in your neck regulates your metabolism and energy levels. When thyroid gland out of whack, you’re out of whack.
Depression: untreated and undiagnosed depression can rob your brain of the chemicals needed to work its best causing low energy levels and fatigue.
Infections, Sleep Apnea, Heart Disease are common problems that can manifest the symptom of fatigue as well.
Many physical and mental illnesses, as well as lifestyle factors, can cause your fatigue, and that can make it hard to diagnose. In some cases, it might be something simple and easy to fix, like having caffeine at bedtime. But other causes, like heart disease or COPD, are serious, and you may need to start long-term treatment right away.
Your doctor can help you sift through your health issues, as well as diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits, on order to zero in on the cause and help you on the road to recovery.
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are extremely common, especially in women. Dealing with them is no fun and often requires frequent trips to the bathroom, pain when urinating, and soreness in the lower abdomen, back or sides. Many turn to at-home remedies to tackle discomfort or try to change risky behaviors to avoid a repeat infection.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths out there about UTIs that can make recognizing the causes and finding effective relief difficult.
Separating Fact From Fiction
Myth #1: Taking AZO for my UTI is “Good Enough”
Although AZO may provide symptomatic relief, it can often mask underlying symptoms and delay seeking appropriate medical care. In addition, it can cause discoloration of urine making the infection more difficult to detect on examination.
Myth #2: Tampons Cause UTIs
Some women think tampons make them more prone to developing UTIs since tampons are placed inside the body, while other feminine hygiene products are kept outside of the body. However, tampon use may be even more effective at preventing UTIs than pads. Tampons can keep the area dryer, leaving less of a chance for bacteria to flourish and cutting down on the risk of infection.
Myth #3: Cranberry Juice Will Cure My UTI
The cranberry juice cure is one of the most commonly believed myths about treating UTIs. However, don’t for a minute think that a bottle of cranberry juice can replace a visit to your doctor or proper medication. It turns out cranberry juice isn’t nearly as effective as many people think.
Though some studies have demonstrated potential ability to prevent (not treat) symptomatic UTIs, there isn’t sufficient data to support routinely recommending it.
Myth #4: Only Women Get UTIs
Women definitely get UTIs more often than men. This is because the urethra, the duct that carries urine out of the body, is shorter in women, allowing bacteria to more easily reach the bladder. However, this is still a myth, as men can and do get UTIs. UTIs are more common in men who have not been circumcised and suffer from other medical issues including incontinence, prostate cancer or urinary tract stones.
Myth #5: Sex Causes UTIs
This one is both a myth and a fact. The real myth lies in the belief that only sexually active women get UTIs. Sex can definitely play a role, though, as bacteria near the vagina can inadvertently get into the urethra during sexual contact. Urinating after sex is CRUCIAL because it will allow your body to flush out vaginal bacteria that tends to get pushed into the urethra during sex.
Does this mean that abstinence is a sure-fire way to protect yourself from UTIs? Think again. In fact, women are most at risk for getting UTIs while pregnant or experiencing menopause or perimenopause. This is due to the change of hormones in the urinary tract during these times.
Talk to your doctor about UTI symptoms and appropriate treatment.
Reminiscent of a time where patients could receive medical advice by simply calling their doctor on the phone….telemedicine, popularized with the pandemic, has always been a structured integral part of Direct Primary Care (DPC). Virtual care has been shown to increase access to health care and lead to improved health outcomes when utilized correctly.
Telemedicine allows for an ongoing dialogue between patients and physicians about shared health goals and decision-making. This improves adherence to the medical plan of care by providing a platform for a collaborative approach to health, where chronic conditions can be managed.
Telemedicine provides flexibility for scheduling and eliminates barriers between physicians and patients. Follow up appointments are made easier by removing travel times, childcare concerns, and time off work.
Virtual consultations can prevent unnecessary in-person referrals to specialists and lead to shorter waiting times to see specialists.
Telemedicine has always been a structured integral part of (DPC). When patients have an urgent care need or a follow up concern from previous visits, DPC physicians are able to quickly troubleshoot those problems with patients and determine the best course of action for each individual.
I am grateful today that I live in Illinois, but I do not believe access to health care should depend on where a woman is residing within the US. The disruption to appropriate health care for women has caused chaos in caring for women who are pregnant, and ultimately will lead to preventable deaths of women that will affect the entire nation for generations.
People misunderstand the far-reaching consequences of the ruling by believing abortion to be a simple elective decision to terminate a “normal” pregnancy. This ruling, in fact, threatens the fundamental health care rights of women. It demonstrates HOW IMPORTANT the physician-patient relationship is and why neither government nor insurance companies have any place making health-care decisions.
Reverting to state level laws from early 1900s, immediately following this ruling, has put numerous physicians in an impossible situation wondering how to legally provide appropriate care for their patients. In Utah, for example, the law describes the delivery of anything except a dead fetus as an abortion. Women who are severely infected or hemorrhaging as a complication of pregnancy, with a fetus that has a heartbeat but cannot survive outside of the uterus, have routinely been treated by terminating pregnancy as the standard of care… until now. With the change in law, instead of terminating the fetus and sparing the life of the woman, there will be an additional preventable loss of life. The lives of women will be lost.
In some states, immediately following the ruling, physicians were asked to contact the legal department prior to caring for patients appropriately….this simple delay in care can cost the life of a woman who is hemorrhaging from an ectopic non-viable pregnancy in an emergency care situation.
The supreme court decision eliminates equitable and safe access to medical care and will ultimately lead to higher maternal mortality rates in the US. There is absolutely no space for third parties, government bodies nor insurance companies, in the delivery of health care. These decisions must be made DIRECTLY between patients and their physicians.
“The American Medical Association is deeply disturbed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn nearly a half century of precedent protecting patients’ right to critical reproductive healthcare—representing an egregious allowance of government intrusion into the medical examination room, a direct attack on the practice of medicine and the patient-physician relationship, and a brazen violation of patients’; rights to evidence-based reproductive health services. States that end legal abortion will not end abortion—they will end safe abortion, risking devastating consequences, including patients’ lives….
We will always have physicians’ backs and defend the practice of medicine, we will fight to protect the patient-physician relationship, and we will oppose any law or regulation that compromises or criminalizes patient access to safe, evidence-based medical care, including abortion. As the health of millions of patients hangs in the balance, this is a fight we will not give up.”
At Roots Health DPC, we are making medications affordable for our patients. How?
We buy medications at wholesale pricing and sell them to our patients directly at wholesale cost – without marking them up. We remove the profit takers, pharmacy benefit managers, and retail pharmacies between patients and their medications, effectively lowering the cost of prescriptions by 50% to 90%.
Examples of medications for under $5/month
A simple idea to solve a complex problem
DPC stands for Direct Primary Care – we deliver health care services, including medications, directly to our patients. We provide medications at these rates because we believe that the people in our community deserve fair pricing on the medications they need to stay healthy. At Roots Health DPC, we are uniquely qualified to partner with our patients to determine which medications will best treat their medical conditions.
How accessible is health care in the richest nation? Why Health Insurance ≠ Health Care.
Many patients tell me that they love their doctor but that they cannot get through easily or book an appointment quickly. They pay thousands of dollars annually for “health insurance,” but are frustrated with their inability to access appropriate “health care.” Patients often go to an emergency room or an urgent care to be seen because it is the only option in the existing health care model.
The result: Americans visits the doctor less frequently and have the highest rate of avoidable deaths.
The United States spends 2x as much, per person, as other high-income countries, yet the US continues to have the lowest life expectancy and poorer health care outcomes when compared to other countries. Americans pay hefty premiums to health insurance plans every year. Where do the dollars go and why is health care access awful?
Traditional physician offices incur a large cost for taking care of patient needs outside of the actual patient office visit. For example, making a phone call to provide patient care is not compensated by insurance companies. Several other similar services that are instrumental to good health care include completing forms for patients, ordering and/or reviewing labs, and writing prescriptions. Restrictions placed by insurance companies make it difficult to take care of patients outside of the visit.
What if health insurance was the same as other insurance products?
A good example is car insurance. You expect to pay out of pocket for your gas, oil change, and maintenance/repairs. You have a high deductible low premium insurance that covers you in case of a car accident. In the analogous healthcare model, patients have catastrophic health insurance coverage with low monthly premiums and a high deductible.
Pairing health insurance with health care, through a physician direct primary care office, lowers out of pocket expense and improves health outcomes by providing access to obtain discounted screenings, preventative services, urgent care services, labs, and medications.
Health insurance companies have come between patients and their health. The health system in the United States is broken as evidenced by the out of control spending and health outcomes. Direct primary care offers an alternative that works. Direct primary care aligns values to prioritize patient health care needs with lower costs and better health outcomes. Find a direct primary care near you by searching https://mapper.dpcfrontier.com/