Karl Doghramji, MD: Comorbidities Driving Insomnia


Multiple conditions, especially those common in the elderly, can greatly increase the risk of insomnia.

At some point, nearly half of the entire population is affected by insomnia. Another half of that population is affected for a month or longer.

But the greatest at-risk population is elderly patients, Karl Doghramji, MD, explained to MD Magazine®, due to an association between age and sleep that is not well-defined.

In an interview with MD Mag, Doghramji, a professor at Thomas Jefferson University, explained the particular burdens of the elderly in avoiding and treating for insomnia—a condition which is more common than perceived by the public.

Doghramji will also be moderating a discussion on sleep disorders at the 1st annual International Congress on the Future of Neurology. The Congress, to be held on September 27-28, 2019 in New York City, will feature a rigorous agenda of presentations, question and answer sessions, and lightning rounds highlighting topics across the breadth of neurology.

Included in the agenda is Doghramji’s session, titled “Beyond Counting Sheep: Effective Therapies for Sleep Disorders. Attendees can learn firsthand from experts in the field, as they discuss new insomnia therapeutic approaches, optimal narcolepsy management, and therapeutic abuse risks.

For more information on the Congress and to register, click here. Receive 25% off registration fees with code Neuro19SI.

MD Mag: What is the prevalence of insomnia?

Doghramji: So, insomnia prevalence seems to increase with age. The overall as prevalence of insomnia as a complaint is very high in the population. Possibly around 40% or 50% of the population has suffered from insomnia at one point or another. And, around a quarter of the population has longer-term insomnia, lasting a month or longer.

In the elderly, those proportions seem to increase. Exactly what they are is unclear and depends on the context of the study, but some studies suggest that about half of all of the elderly have insomnia in one form or another. That lasts and continues, day in and day out.

MD Mag: How does insomnia’s prevalence increase with comorbid conditions?

Doghramji: The number of comorbidities seems to be related to the severity of insomnia and the prevalence of the complaint. We find that the older individuals who have multiple comorbidities seem have a greater preponderance of insomnia. Those who do not have multiple comorbidities have lower rates of insomnia.

However, as I mentioned before, older individuals who do not have comorbidities are not freed of insomnia or the complaint of poor sleep, because there seems to be something about the aging process which is destructive of sleep.

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