Sleep Apnea in Women – Symptoms Often Different than Men’s
According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is estimated that more than 18 million adults have obstructive sleep apnea. Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea than women. However, men are often diagnosed with sleep apnea almost 8 times more often than women. Women are often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed because sleep apnea is thought of as a man’s problem, but this is simply not the case.
The issue may lie in the symptoms that women report to their primary care physicians which may include fatigue, headaches, insomnia, moodiness, lack of energy, depression and restless leg syndrome. This may lead physicians to treat them for other sleep disorders such as insomnia or mental health issues such as depression. Instead of referring them to a sleep doctor they prescribe them sleeping aid medications or depression medications. This approach and misdiagnosis never addresses the underlying actual issue of not getting a healthy night sleep and just band-aids the issue with a short-term fix.
A woman with obstructive sleep apnea often has lighter snoring, full or partial breathing cessations during sleep, fatigue during the day, morning headaches, high blood pressure, frequent trips to the bathroom at night, unrefreshing sleep, fibromyalgia, hyperthyroidism, and lack of energy daily.
Woman are three times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea during menopause due to weight gain and hormonal changes. Another increased risk factor includes woman ages 55+, obesity, and a neck circumference greater than 16 inches. OSA often leads to anxiety and depression in a woman.
If you suspect that you or your partner may suffer from Sleep Apnea, please call SleepAlliance today and ask if you are a good candidate for a sleep study. This is the first step to a proper diagnosis and proper treatment and the path to a healthy night sleep and healthy life.