While men are more generally known for to suffer from sleep apnea, many women suffer from sleep apnea as well. A HuffPost Healthy Living article entitled, “Sleep Apnea Is A Women’s Issue, Too” talks about a study conducted on 400 women. The women were asked to answer questions regarding their health conditions and sleeping patterns. They also went through sleep testing studies. Out of the 400 women, here’s what was found:
- 50 percent of the women in the study experienced intrusive sleep apnea.
- 14 percent of the women suffered from severe cases of sleep apnea.
- The sleep disorder prevailed among women who suffered from hypertension, as well as those that were considered to be obese.
What exactly is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a sleep disorder that’s actually common among both men and women. It causes the sufferer to have a pause, sometimes more than one, in their breathing during sleep. Sometimes, they will appear to be shallow breaths. These breathing pauses may go on anywhere from a few seconds to a minute, or even a couple of minutes. They can occur 30 or more times within just one hour. Typically, when normal breathing patterns return, it sometimes begins with a choking or loud snorting sound.
Usually, sleep apnea is an ongoing condition, also called chronic. It tends to disrupt the sleep of the person suffering from it. The shallow breathing or pauses in breathing often snap them out of their deep sleep, and throws them back into a light sleep mode. As a result, they have a poor quality of sleep during the night. Therefore, when they awake, they’re often still tired. This continues on throughout the day. In fact, one of the leading causes of daytime sleepiness is sleep apnea.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
There are several factors that have been known to attribute to this sleep disorder in people. Here are some of the main causes:
- The tongue and throat muscles become more relaxed than normal.
- The tonsils, which are tissue masses that are located in the rear of the mouth, and the tongue are oversized in comparison to the windpipe opening.
- The person suffering from sleep apnea is overweight. There is an extra amount of soft fat tissue which thickens the windpipe wall. This makes the insides of the windpipe become narrow, making it harder for it to stay open.
- The neck and head shape, also known as the bony structure, can cause the airway size to become smaller in the throat and mouth area. This makes it harder for air to get through.
- The aging process can also be a factor. It decreases the brain signals’ ability to keep the muscles of the throat stiff while the sufferer sleeps. In many cases, this causes the airway to collapse or become narrow, limiting air supply.
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