When hearts are at risk, people pay attention. The heartbeat is a true, rhythmic symbol of being alive. When it slows, palpitates, or stops, human mortality is at risk. In life, there are always risks. Identifying them is not always easy or obvious. If you are a woman, and have the symptoms of sleep apnea, or have been diagnosed, and are dealing with this chronic sleep disorder, your “R” factor, is much higher than you know.
Gender Specific Differences in Those Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea
The growing numbers of men and women diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), have increased awareness in this serious, and dangerous, chronic disorder. Of the nearly 30 million adults, in America, whose lives are affected, men are 2 to 5 times more likely to have sleep apnea than women. Yet, a recent Yale university study has shown that women’s hearts are more severely damaged, causing issues which disrupt the quality of their lives.
For both genders, heart imaging tests revealed an increased thickness in the heart’s main pumping chamber, the walls of left ventricle. For women, however, this ventricular thickness was much greater. This thickness (Left Ventricle Hypertrophy) weakens and stiffens the ventricle, and healthy blood flow is compromised.
Increased Symptom Awareness – Saves Lives
Obstructive sleep apnea disorder is reaching epidemic proportions, increasing the importance for identifying the symptoms, and getting diagnosed. Women’s symptoms differ from men. Dr. Grace Pien, assistant professor, at the Sleep Medicine, of the Perelman School of Medicine, had stated that men are known to snore, and suffer from daytime sleepiness, night sweats, and irritability. Women’s symptoms are more subtle. Examples include:
- Chronic fatigue.
- Insomnia, or frequently awaken at night.
- Restless leg syndrome.
- Memory issues, becoming forgetful.
- Mental Confusion, feeling overwhelmed.
- Awakened by choking feelings.
- Weight gain.
- Feeling lethargic and energy-less.
- Suffering frequent acid reflux.
Uniquely Feminine Symptoms – Linked to Sleep Apnea
Women also have more unique risk factors then men. For example:
- Female weight distribution, surrounding the throat, can cause the soft tissue to collapse, closing the airway, and blocking breathing capability.
- Chest wall weight presses against the lungs, restricting their ability to draw in oxygen from the narrowed pathways.
- Pregnancy issues, such as gestational diabetes, and fluctuating, high blood pressure, can also cause the onset of sleep apnea.
- Young women, ages 20-50, with ovarian cysts, are found to be prone to having sleep apnea, and Type 2 Diabetes.
- Menopause creates hormonal imbalances such as a severe lack of estrogen, for sleep inducement, and progesterone, which had helped to strengthen the upper airways of the mouth and throat, in earlier years.
- Sleep onset Insomnia begins with a lack of melatonin, during mid-life hormonal changes.
Women experience a plethora of symptoms which are manifested throughout the various stages of maturation and aging. From carrying an embryo, to change of life; menopausal imbalances, and physical changes take a toll on female well-being.
Direct Effects of Sleep Apnea in Women
Women’s physiology is complex. When sleep apnea manifests itself, the effects are far riskier, and more life threatening. The thickening mass within their left ventricle, forces the hearts pumping actions to a higher level of activity, which overtime leads to heart disease.
During deep sleep, women have more episodes of blocked breathing. Arteries, lacking sufficient oxygen, become clogged, and are the precursors to strokes, and heart attacks. The ability of the body to control blood pressure dissipates, and hypertension begins. Research supports the findings that 90% of women with sleep apnea, suffer serious bouts of severe depression.
Read More:- Top 6 tips to keep your heart healthy
Curative Care – Risk Reduction, and Well Being Restored
It is important for a woman to focus on health challenge risks, and seek expert medical care. Sleep apnea can be controlled, with the incredulous assistance of a CPAP continuous positive airway pressure machine, and CPAP mask, designed to fit the contours of the face to perfection.
The CPAP machine was designed to release a flow of oxygen, with the correct amount of pressure, to keep airways open, and the breathing pattern, intact, throughout restful, and restorative sleep.
Exercising, working, traveling, and embracing life, is easily do-able with a Portable CPAP which can be transported and is always near.
Alternative Options and Tools for Conquering Chronic Sleep Apnea
Losing about 10% of extra body weight, by eating healthy foods, with less preservatives, and following the health care physicians’ instructions, meticulously, alleviates a portion of the health risks, women face with chronic sleep apnea.
Positional therapy is another option which works to keep the airways open, by having the patient sleep on her side, or stomach. An apparatus is available to secure the position for the night. Oral devices are also available, to control the jaw, or the tongue placement, to avoid the blockage of air flow.
Quest to be Disease Free
Research, and ongoing applied science, are a women’s besties, as the quest to conquer chronic sleep apnea, and numerous other health challenges, will not stop. No pandemic, or disease, is beyond the capabilities of the curious minds, and skillful medical experts, that populate all lives for the better.