Typical Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) patients are usually men who are overweight and snore loudly with choking or gasping sounds at night. There are over 20 million American adults suffer with OSA. While obstructive sleep apnea is more common in men, many women suffer from OSA as well. Men are twice more likely to have sleep apnea than women, but men are diagnosed with the condition almost 8 times more often than women. Are women with sleep apnea under-diagnosed and misdiagnosed? What are the symptoms and health risk factors of sleep apnea in women? What are the treatment options?
Under-diagnosis and misdiagnosis for women with sleep apnea
Women with sleep apnea are often diagnosed for other sleep disorders instead of sleep apnea. According to the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist, Dr. Angie Randazzo, at St. Lukes Sleep Medicine & Research Center, “Women often don’t have the stereotypical body type and don’t always say they are sleepy. Many will say they are fatigued, leading clinicians to think they have insomnia versus OSA.”
Some of the reasons women are under-diagnosed and misdiagnosed with sleep apnea may be:
-breathing problems during sleep more subtle
Women’s Sleep Apnea and Related Health Issues
A study at UCLA found that the heart rate of women with sleep apnea was less likely to adjust during physical activity than that of men with OSA. Women are more vulnerable to heart conditions. Other studies found women to be at higher risk of inflammation, hypertension and dementia.
Sleep Apnea is linked an increased risk of serious health problems:
Women’s Risks for Sleep Apnea
There are different factors that may contribute to sleep apnea. Treatment options vary based on the individual needs. Women of all ages can suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Some treatment options: