According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, men are two times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than women. Add to this the fact that men are diagnosed with sleep apnea almost eight times more often than women.
Although it is true that men are more likely to develop this sleep disorder, there are many women struggling with sleep apnea who may not even know they have it.
Why are men more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea?
The Alaska Sleep Education Center has noted that there is an under-diagnosis and, oftentimes, misdiagnoses for women with sleep apnea. This is because women usually bring up their sleep problems with their general doctors and do not seek out advice from a sleep specialist.
Usually, when we think of sleep apnea, we think of incredibly loud snoring. Women, on the other hand, will usually have different symptoms including lighter snoring and more subtle breathing problems. They will also report different symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, a lack of energy, and mood swings.
How can this misdiagnosis be fixed?
The good news is that doctors are being better educated on symptoms of sleep apnea in women and recognizing the signs and symptoms. The most common signs of sleep apnea in a woman include snoring (and light snoring), excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and disturbed sleep.
Is treatment for sleep apnea different between men and women?
A recent scholarly article by Francisco Campos Rodriguez, notes that while there are differences in the symptoms of OSA between men and women, few studies have addressed gender differences in treatment recommendation.
If you are a woman who has experienced any of the issues above, it is important to get a proper diagnosis before considering any specific treatment options. If you are unsure about your symptoms, contact our sleep apnea dentist in Glen Burnie, MD today to schedule a consultation to begin your journey to better sleep and overall health.