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Sleep Well DC

Snoring In Women

Dangers & Solutions

Women Snore Too!

Women might be less embarrassed if they realized how common it is to snore. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), occasional snoring is almost universal. Snoring is even more common as women age, and it may increase during pregnancy. About 24 percent of adult women are habitual snorers.

By itself a mild case of snoring may be only a nuisance. It can disturb the bed partner’s sleep more than it presents any serious health risks. The greater problem, however, is that many women who snore have a related sleep disorder that can have a severe effect on their overall health and well-being.

The Problem Behind The Snoring

Loud and frequent snoring is one symptom of a common sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep. This causes soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway. As a result, breathing stops a few times each hour or even hundreds of times per night. The pauses in breathing can cause both drastic changes in your oxygen levels and frequent arousals that fragment your sleep.

This puts an enormous strain on your heart and can lead to an increase in your heart rate. Recent research shows links between sleep apnea and a host of other disorders and diseases. These include congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. According to the AASM, sleep apnea affects about four percent of men and two percent of women. About 80 to 90 percent of adults with sleep apnea are undiagnosed.

Sleep Well DC
Sleep Well DC

Women May Be Overlooked

Dr. Collop says that when it comes to sleep apnea and women, the medical community may be overlooking the problem.

“The studies show that the number of men who are evaluated in a sleep clinic, compared to women, are eight or nine to one,” she said. “But the prevalence in the general population is only two or three to one. Clearly, men are referred more than women for evaluation in regard to sleep apnea.”

She cites numerous reasons for this disparity. Among them is the snoring stigma that can keep many women from seeking medical help. There also is the fact that men seem to sleep more deeply than women. They are less likely to notice when their bed partner snores or stops breathing during the night.

As a result, women may be unaware of the severity of their breathing problems during sleep. So when they have health complaints they may not even mention their sleep to a doctor. Both women and their doctors are likely to point the finger at other problems instead of placing the blame on sleep apnea. This puts an enormous strain on your heart and can lead to an increase in your heart rate. Recent research shows links between sleep apnea and a host of other disorders and diseases. These include congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.

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