What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted throughout sleep. It can have a variety of causes, including anatomy and even neurological dysfunctions. Because of repeated sleep disruption, people with sleep apnea experience difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep, leading to symptoms like chronic fatigue and medical concerns.
The National Sleep Foundation has found that, although men and women are equally as likely to suffer from sleep apnea, women are far less likely to be diagnosed with the disorder.
Why Are Men More Likely to be Diagnosed?
Physicians often have a set idea of what a sleep apnea patient looks like, and what symptoms they suffer. In men, sleep apnea often sounds like snoring and looks like alarming jolts throughout the night gasping for air. In women, however, the disorder is more likely to seep into other daily activities in the form of depression, anxiety, and fatigue after a restless night’s sleep. Evidence shows that women with sleep apnea are more seriously affected in the parts of their brains responsible for mood regulation and decision making. Due to the differences in these symptoms, women might be more likely to be diagnosed with mood disorders rather than sleep apnea.
Daily fatigue, history of snoring, and unrefreshing sleep are all classic symptoms women with sleep apnea often suffer, and women going through menopause are more likely to develop sleep apnea. Common dental or oral symptoms can include dry mouth, sore muscles or joints, history of fractured or broken teeth and dental restorations, or worn teeth.
Sleep Apnea Can Effect All Ages
It’s important to know that women of all ages can suffer from sleep apnea, and the best way to discover if you are at risk is to seek the guidance of a sleep physician. Treatment options for sleep apnea range from oral appliance therapies to in-office procedures to surgeries for the most severe cases and long-lasting results