Mars, Venus and Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Men are from Mars and women from Venus according to a book that was popular years ago. It appears that the differences between men and women may extend to their sleep apnea symptoms. Sleep apnea may be diagnosed less in women because women’s symptoms may be different from a mans. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing during sleep. Usually loud snoring, gasping for breath and daytime fatigue are symptoms.sleep apnea symptoms differ in women

Apnea events are counted when the breathing stops or slows for at least 10 seconds at a time and this can occur many times each night. Those patients who stop breathing 10-29 times per hour are considered to have mild to moderate sleep apnea, those with 30 or more interruptions per hour have severe sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea has severe health consequences greatly increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Most women don’t realize that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in America so diagnosing and treating a risk factor like obstructive sleep apnea is vital.

Patients with OSA often go undiagnosed. They are not aware that they snore, gasp and stop breathing during sleep and may only seek diagnosis when a bed partner complains about the noise keeping them up at night. Women especially  may be diagnosed less frequently because daytime sleepiness is a key symptom that men report much more frequently than women. It is more common for breathing problems to keep women from falling asleep or staying asleep.

Treating obstructive sleep apnea usually involves sleeping with a CPAP machine which pumps air through a mask allowing the sleeper to breath all night. Unfortunately this treatment is not well tolerated by many patients. A very good treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea is an oral appliance made by a specially trained dentist. The oral appliance is created in a lab and worn in the mouth at night and helps hold the jaw in a position that keeps the airway open allowing a full night of breathing and sleep.

If loud snoring, daytime fatigue and weight gain are a problem please contact Rothfus Family Dental  in Meford, OR at 541-858-7994 to schedule your consultation and discuss diagnosis and treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea.