Sleep Apnea - Women Vs. Men

Friday, May 13th, 2016, 10:31 pm

About 20 million adults in the US suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and most don’t even know it. Sleep apnea used to be thought of as a problem that affected mostly older, overweight men. We now know that women and men both suffer from sleep apnea but women are less likely to be diagnosed.

There are differences between men and women when it comes to sleep and sleep apnea. Differences in both anatomy and hormones play a role in these differences. Women are more likely to experience sleep apnea symptoms like insomnia, depression and daytime fatigue. One factor that remains the same for both sexes is snoring. Both men and women snore and while not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, most with sleep apnea are snorers.

UCLA did a study in 2013 that found that women were less likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea but that women were more profoundly affected in the areas of the brain that have to do with decision making and mood. Women are less likely to be diagnosed partially because of how their symptoms are described meaning physicians are likely to blame depression, hypertension, hypochondria or other mood disorders.

For both sexes untreated obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to increased risk of stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain, and depression. Loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness are both signs that obstructive sleep apnea may be a problem. Usually, the initial treatment offered to patient with obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. CPAP is a wonderful treatment for sleep apnea but unfortunately about half of patients cannot stand sleeping with the masks, hoses and machine.

A highly effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is an oral appliance. Oral appliances are custom created in a laboratory and are designed to gently place the lower jaw in a forward position — this keeps the airway open throughout the night. No more snoring and no more gasping for air.

Find out more about obstructive sleep apnea treatment available from Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today by contacting us at 706-391-8777.

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Category: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), sleep apnea

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