11.08.13

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Diagnosis

Author:
Reina Patel
Reina Patel

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Sleep Apnea in Women

Not Just a “Man’s Disease”

Sleep Apnea in Women
Think Sleep Apnea only affect men? Not the case! In fact, new findings show for every two or three men, one woman is affected by Sleep Apnea. What’s really alarming though, is an estimated 90% of women with Sleep Apnea remain undiagnosed. Since women typically experience different symptoms than men, reaching a proper diagnosis is often be more difficult. This is especially so if sleep habits are affected by schedule, illness/allergies or even just a poor bedtime routine (like reading or watching TV in bed).

Connecting the Dots…

Commonly, Sleep Apnea in women can be mistaken for Depression, Hyperthyroidism, Anemia, or Diabetes. Women are frequently misdiagnosed due to their subtle symptoms. Unlike men, women are less likely to snore. Here are the most common symptoms women experience:
• Morning headaches
• Racing heartbeat
• Day time sleepiness (despite a “good” night’s rest)
• Morning dry mouth
• Waking up gasping / coughing

Why me?

We’ve already eliminated one cliche misconception, lets examine another. You don’t have to be overweight to have Sleep Apnea. OSA can be linked to body weight, but its not valid in all cases. Sleep Apnea in women becomes more common around Menopause. But there are other influences as well, some in which are hereditary:
• The use of alcohol and/or sleeping pills which relax the muscles in your throat.
• Smoking (which makes you 3 times more likely to develop OSA).
• Nasal congestion caused by allergies or narrow passages will cause difficulty breathing during sleep.
• Inherited narrow airway passages
• Pregnancy (which can contribute to different sleeping positions).

More Research on Sleep Apnea in Women

Now that we know Sleep Apnea is not a “Man’s Disease,” new research is shedding light on the different effects associated between men and women. A recent study at UCLA School of Nursing was conducted on Sleep Apnea in women showed participants to have a higher degree of brain damage with untreated OSA. The damage was primarily in the area of the brain which involves decision-making and mood regulation. Thus, women with sleep conditions are shown to have more symptoms of depression and anxiety than men.

If you think you are showing signs of Sleep Apnea, it’s best to get it checked out. Now sleep study tests can be taken home, ask your doctor for more options. Or, if you’ve recently been diagnosed you can find great tips by checking out Women New to CPAP Therapy.

Comments

trish hoge
11.09.2013

Just got the word today, 02 drops to 76 while sleeping on my back. Have to sleep on back because of back issues. Did the sleep study. List of things I should know before picking out a CPAP. I travel as much as possible need it to be light, and functional.

Joy
11.15.2013

Trish, I have a ReSMed machine with the water tank (wich keeps the machine from drying out your nasal passages) We both use CPAP machines and they came with a travel bag and pack easily. They are not that heavy and we both take ours where ever we go. Good luck

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