Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects many Americans. However, it is hard to pinpoint the exact number of Americans with sleep apnea because many people go undiagnosed. Over 50 percent of the estimated number of Americans with this disorder are undiagnosed. The majority of these undiagnosed cases are very likely to be women. According to a new study from the UCLA School of Nursing, women have much more subtle and sometimes even completely different symptoms of sleep apnea.
The fact that women may not overtly show signs of this disorder means that they are less likely to be diagnosed or to seek treatment. This can lead to a wide range of health problems. Since it can be harder for women to realize that they may be suffering from sleep apnea, we have listed some basic information about the sleep disorder, including sleep apnea treatment.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep for extended periods of time. This can happen up to 30 times in an hour. The most common type of this disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, is caused by the muscles in the throat or mouth collapsing and blocking the airway. This causes lack of oxygen to the brain and puts an incredible amount of stress on the heart.
How is sleep apnea different in men and women?
The symptoms of this disorder in men can be different from those in women. For example, snoring, waking up gasping or choking, elevated blood pressure or morning headaches are common symptoms for males with the disorder. Women, however, usually do not have elevated blood pressure and also experience much less events of paused breathing. Women also tend to exhibit signs of depression and anxiety, whereas men do not.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you are a woman and are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to your dentist. Getting the disorder diagnosed is the first step to treatment. At Parkway Dental Care, we offer oral appliances that can be worn during sleep. These appliances fit comfortably in the mouth and prevent the mouth and throat muscles from collapsing, allowing for a restful night’s sleep. This will also prevent the heart from straining and will provide a healthy amount of oxygen to the brain at all times of sleep.
For more information on how sleep apnea affects women or to schedule your consultation, visit us at Parkway Dental Care or call us today at (407) 932-2273.
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