Sleep Apnea in Women: Symptoms & Treatment Options

Sleep Apnea in Women: Symptoms & Treatment Options

Feb 01, 2023

Sleep apnea affects almost 10% of the world’s population. However, experts believe that this number is much lower since most people might have yet to notice that they have this condition. The reason is that the most glaring symptom is fatigue. Sadly, fatigue is tied to many other conditions, and people will assume that they need more sleep; therefore, most people don’t seek treatment for sleep apnea in Laguna Beach.

Sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea, has traditionally been considered a male disease. However, there is an increase in women diagnosed with sleep apnea. What’s more, there are gender-related differences in the symptoms.

Also, women tend to have less severe sleep apnea than men. The prevalence of sleep apnea is low in women, so women fail to receive the correct diagnosis. Let’s check out what sleep apnea is, its symptoms, and how it can be treated.

Sleep Apnea 101

Your “super-computer” (the brain) does a lot of work. One of the things that the brain does is monitor your body’s state and adjusts your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, etc. The oxygen levels in the blood will drop when you stop breathing because of either hypopnea or apnea.

Apnea is a technical term that means breathless, whereas hypopnea means low breathing. So, your brain will react to low oxygen levels in the blood by triggering a failsafe-like reflex, waking you up to breathe again. Once you resume breathing, your brain will automatically try to resume your sleep cycle.

If the sleep apnea is severe, there will be more interruptions. Someone can have breathing interruptions up to 100 times in one night.

Sleep apnea near you can be obstructive, central, or mixed. However, it could also be categorized by the severity, such as:

  • Mild sleep apnea is when you have an average hourly number of between five and 15 apnea events per hour.
  • Moderate sleep apnea is when you have an average hourly number between 15 and 29 events per hour. In other words, if you sleep for eight hours, you will wake up between 120 and 239 times in a single night.
  • Severe sleep apnea – If you fall in this category, you wake up more than 30 times in one hour. In other words, you stopped breathing and woke up more than 240 times in a single night.

Likely, you will not remember waking up at night, so that’s why the condition can go unnoticed.

What Are the Symptoms?

Even though there are certain instances when women may exhibit different symptoms, the difference is usually in the level or severity of the symptoms. However, the general symptoms that mark the presence of sleep apnea are:

  • Sleepiness
  • Restless legs
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Hallucinations
  • Palpitations
  • Morning sore throat
  • Snoring
  • Night sweats
  • Headaches when waking up
  • Depression, mood swings

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

When you visit us, our dentist in Laguna Beach will make an evaluation based on your sleep history and symptoms. You might need a family member or someone you share a bed with or who is part of your household who can give an account of your behavior while asleep.

Another way will be to use a sleep monitoring device to tell us about your breathing and other bodily functions. Our dentist can give home tests to measure your heart rate, airflow, blood oxygen, and breathing patterns.

If the results aren’t typical of someone enjoying their sleep, then the next step will be to undergo sleep apnea treatment.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea can be dealt with in several ways. The specific cause and the severity of the condition usually determine the best treatment method. Therefore, you could expect a combination of treatments that might ultimately reduce or even eliminate sleep apnea symptoms, thus improving the quality of your life.

Some of the possible treatments that our dentist may suggest to deal with sleep apnea near you are:

  • Conservative treatments such as weight loss, nasal sprays, position changes when sleeping
  • Positive airway pressure and adaptive ventilation devices such as CPAP
  • Oral appliances
  • Nerve stimulators
  • Medications
  • Surgery

So do you suspect that you have sleep apnea? Contact us at Laguna Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment to check the issue.

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