Sleep apnea in women is underdiagnosed. In fact, when people think of sleep apnea, they usually think of a middle-aged or elderly man snoring. This stereotypical image only tells a small part of the story.
First of all, young people can also suffer from this condition, and it’s common in both men and women. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone with this condition snores, which is why it can be difficult to diagnose.
Studies show that 30% of the population between ages 25-70 suffer from this condition. Experts say that men are diagnosed with sleep apnea eight times more often than women, but that’s not because it’s more common in men.
So what’s happening? Why do women with sleep apnea slip through the cracks? Basically, this condition manifests itself differently in women, which is why doctors often confuse it with other illnesses. Also, not only are women underdiagnosed but some studies show this breathing disorder can have more serious consequences on women than men.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type and it has very concrete symptoms. The main one is that, while you’re sleeping, you actually stop breathing for a few seconds. That happens because the muscles in your throat relax and obstruct your airway. Although most people don’t remember this happening to them, they might snort, choke, or gasp.
This very concrete symptom might make it seem like sleep apnea is easy to diagnose. Unfortunately, that’s not always true, especially for women. Sleep apnea in women is significantly different from sleep apnea in men. Let’s see how this sleep disorder manifests itself in women:
Ironically, although the symptoms of sleep apnea in women tend to be more subtle, the consequences tend to be more serious.
Thus, when a woman with these symptoms goes to the doctor, she usually ends up Beijing treated for the symptoms, not the underlying cause.
In recent years, scientists hace been studying sleep apnea in women. This is great news because it means that doctors may be more likely to accurately diagnose a female patient who complains of fatigue, mood swings, and headaches. Understanding the underlying cause of these symptoms is crucial to helping women take control of their health.
On the other hand, we’re learning more about the consequences of untreated sleep apnea in women. For example, the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery conducted a study in 2014 that showed the relationship between sleep apnea and strokes in young women.
As a result, it’s vitally important that women experiencing these symptoms see a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders to rule out sleep apnea. Treatment with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines is quite effective. Not only do CPAP machines improve patients’ quality of life, but they also reduce the risk of suffering from strokes or cardiovascular problems.
In conclusion, it’s important to educate yourself about the risks of sleep apnea. Considering the consequences of letting it go untreated, and the risks associated with not getting enough sleep, talking to your doctor about this important subject could save your life.