Just because sleep apnea tends to be more commonly diagnosed in men doesn’t mean that women don’t need to worry about the disorder. In fact, female patients might have to worry about the cardiac problems associated with the disorder much sooner! Here’s what having obstructive sleep apnea in Topeka could mean for your heart health.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect the Heart?
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea frequently have their breathing interrupted while asleep, typically due to relaxation of the throat muscles. The sudden drop in blood oxygen will cause your blood pressure to increase, putting you at risk for hypertension and potentially damaging your cardiovascular system. Over time, sleep apnea patients are more likely to suffer from recurrent heart attacks, strokes and abnormal heartbeats.
How are Women with Sleep Apnea at Risk for Heart Problems?
A study that was presented at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America found that cardiac impairment associated with sleep apnea tends to occur earlier for women. This was done by examining the walls of the heart’s main pumping chamber in patients with sleep apnea and snoring problems; those with the condition tended to have enlarged walls. Overall, the difference tended to be far more pronounced in women than men. To avoid such heart issues, it is best to have sleep apnea treated as soon as possible regardless of your gender.
How Do You Know If You Have Sleep Apnea?
Loud snoring in Topeka is one of the most common signs of the disorder, but if you live alone (and thus would have difficulty knowing whether you snore or not), you can look for other symptoms such as:
- Occasionally waking up while gasping for air
- Constantly feeling excessively drowsy or irritable during the day
- Difficulty paying attention
- Waking up with headaches or a dry mouth
How Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated?
If you have mild sleep apnea, you can sometimes treat it simply by changing your lifestyle. For example, if you suffer from obesity, losing weight may help improve your symptoms.
Professional treatment is usually necessary for more severe forms of the disorder. An oral appliance can be used to adjust your jaw and tongue so that your airway stays unblocked during the night. CPAP machines can deliver a steady stream of oxygen through a mask. In rare circumstances, surgery might even be required.
Talk to your sleep dentist about your symptoms; after a diagnosis is made, they’ll be able to recommend a treatment option that will stop your snoring and allow you to breathe normally throughout the night. Whether you’re a man or a woman, such treatment is important if you want to keep your heart healthy and your body well-rested!
About the Author
Dr. Michael E. Michel has decades of experience when it comes to treating sleep apnea and continues to pursue advanced training and education so that he can help as many patients as possible get a good night’s sleep again. If you suspect that you might be suffering from sleep apnea or have been told that you snore, you can contact Sleep Solutions by Michel Dental for an appointment today by visiting our website or calling (785) 273-0802.