KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Sleep Apnea, Called A ‘Time Bomb’ For Women, A Contributing Factor In Carrie Fisher’s Death

Women, particularly older ones, have a greater chance of never being diagnosed with sleep apnea — and never being treated for it.

The Washington Post: Carrie Fisher’s Death Shines A Light On An Underrated Health Problem
Actress Carrie Fisher was unabashedly vocal about her lifelong battles with mental illness and drug abuse. She once defiantly told ABC News, “I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it. But bring it on.” Her candor inspired a generation of women. If a cool and funny Hollywood icon could be so open about getting help for her struggles, then so could they. But a disorder that ultimately contributed to Fisher's death was something she hadn't publicly said much about: sleep apnea. (Wootson, 6/17)

Los Angeles Times: Carrie Fisher Died Of Sleep Apnea And 'Drug Use' Was Also A Factor, L.A. County Coroner Says
The report is vague about the role drugs played in Fisher’s death. But her daughter, Billie Lourd, issued a statement to People magazine Friday night linking her mother’s death to drug use. “My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases,” Lourd told People. (Winton and Dolan, 6/16)

Reuters: Untreated Sleep Apnea May Worsen Markers Of Heart Health And Diabetes
Properly treating a common sleep-related breathing disorder may have benefits for the heart and for blood sugar, a new study suggests. If people with obstructive sleep apnea don’t use machines at night to help keep the airway open, measures of their heart health and blood sugar worsen, researchers found. (Seaman, 6/17)

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