Uncovering The Hidden Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Women

Uncovering The Hidden Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Women

April 1, 2023

Did you know a good night’s sleep is necessary for optimal functionality? Medical experts do not exaggerate when they recommend about 8 hours of sleep each day. Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy good quality sleep. Some patients may want to sleep well at night, but it is quite a tall order when you suffer from sleeping disorders like sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

It is a sleeping disorder that features improper breathing patterns during the night. Ideally, patients with sleep apnea have repeated episodes where they stop breathing for a few seconds when sleeping at night. The irregular breathing patterns cause various complications due to inadequate oxygen supply.

Ideally, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles collapse involuntarily, closing the airways. The longer the airways close up, the more you go without breathing at night. Such episodes can lead to severe and even life-threatening conditions like heart attacks and strokes.

Who Can Get Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that does not discriminate. Both males and females of different ages can suffer from sleep apnea. However, the following factors heighten the risk of this sleep disorder:

  • Age – older adults are more likely to get sleep apnea than younger ones.
  • Weight – obese and overweight patients often suffer from sleep apnea.
  • Neck circumference – the thicker your neck, the higher the chances you get sleep apnea.
  • Poor sleeping postures – sleeping on your back can aggravate sleep apnea.
  • Male – statistics show that more men suffer from sleep apnea than women.

​Uncovering Sleep Apnea in Women

Just because more men suffer from sleep apnea does not mean women are immune. If anything, several of our patients at Watsonville Family Dental with sleep apnea are women. Although men are 2 or 3 times more likely to have sleep apnea than women, women are not excluded. In fact, our studies show that about 1 in 5 females have sleep apnea. The risks of sleep apnea in women heighten due to the following factors:

  • Weight issues – gaining too much weight puts you at risk of many health issues, including sleep apnea.
  • Menopause – the fluctuating hormonal levels can contribute to sleep apnea.
  • High blood pressure – can occur during pregnancy.
  • Taking certain drugs – women who abuse drugs or are heavy drinkers often suffer from sleep apnea. Further, the long-term use of medication like antidepressants or sedatives can lead to sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms In Women

Sadly, around 9 in 10 women with sleep apnea do not know they have it, even though some symptoms in women can be similar to those of men. For example, it is typical to snore loudly when you have sleep apnea. However, most women consider snoring unladylike. It is why they are unlikely to mention it as part of their symptoms. Some of the common symptoms that women with sleep apnea report are:

  • Insomnia
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Restless legs
  • Anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Nightmares and night terrors
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hallucinations
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Significantly reduced productivity

Diagnosis And Treatment of Sleep Apnea In Women

The best thing you can do for your health is to maintain frequent checkups. Visiting your dentist in 95076 every 3 to 6 months ensures you keep track of your oral and general health at all times. Besides, the only way a dentist can recommend any sleep apnea solutions in Watsonville is after diagnosing your health. Some of the treatments for sleep apnea in women are:

  • Oral appliances – your dentist can customize a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) that keeps your airways open when you sleep while delivering air through a mask.
  • Weight loss programs – specific for obese and overweight women. A doctor can even recommend physical exercise as part of the treatment for sleep apnea.
  • Hormone replacement therapy to counter endocrine disorders that contribute to sleep apnea in menopausal women.
  • Lifestyle changes – a doctor will have you change a few things about your life, beginning with quitting smoking and taking alcohol. You will also need to alter your sleeping position, avoiding laying on your back.