Getting a good night’s sleep is a priority for a healthy life. Most people receive between 5-8 hours of solid shut eye per night, and that’s with zero stress and a completely advanced protocol of wellness practices throughout the day. If you are rushing around from one thing to the next, abandoning a self care plan for the sake of busyness, chances are you could develop sleep apnea and be subjected to interrupted sleep during all hours of the night. The ramifications of lack of proper sound sleep are numerous, as the snoring alone associated with sleep apnea interferes with every aspect of your life. It’s uncomfortable for you, it’s detrimental to your partnerships, and it requires your full attention to remedy the situation.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway in your nose becomes partially or completely blocked.
- Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain stem, the area of the brain that controls breathing, is damaged.
Untreated sleep apnea for either type has risks that may exacerbate if allowed to go beyond just the discomfort. There are increased risks of heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. As the conditions worsen, a ripple effect can lead to driving accidents, fatigue at work (or other work related incidents), depression, an inability to safely exercise, and whatever else might contribute to avoiding the necessary treatment for sleep apnea.
How do we circumvent allowing the complications of sleep apnea to get out of hand and reduce our ability to have a well-rounded life, including our relationships? Achieving forty winks each night is a luxury, to be sure. We wake up refreshed and ready to handle most of life’s challenges and occurrences that come our way. If denied, a person’s mood can quickly turn to irritability and emotional outbursts that affect putting one foot in front of the other. Simple actions and responses shift from reasonable to unbearable, as sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age.
Men seem to have a higher risk of sleep apnea than women, and it all boils down to hormones and a man’s propensity on dealing with stressful work environments and weight gain. How the sexes snore is something still under evaluation.
Grace W. Pien, writing for the Sleep Foundation, believes that “women with sleep apnea are less likely to be diagnosed compared to men. In earlier studies of patients coming in for evaluation for sleep apnea, the ratio of men to women has sometimes been extremely lopsided, with 8 or 9 men diagnosed with apnea for each woman found to have obstructive sleep apnea” (OSA).
However, we know from studies in the general population that the actual ratio is likely to be closer to 2 or 3 men with OSA for each woman who has the condition.”
Sleep apnea in women is more commonly mistaken for depression, diabetes, hypertension, hypochondria, or a host of other conditions, due to the differing symptoms they experience, according to Fiona C. Baker writing for the National Sleep Foundation, “Women are more likely to present to their clinician with non-specific symptoms such as insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep), restless legs, depression, lack of energy, and sleepiness.”
Whichever the gender, an inefficacy to slumber soundly has repercussions that impede a normal life. Your best defense is a quality offense, and with a visit to a sleep apnea specialist for a guided consultation, you can be on your way to freedom from pain and a restored wholesome lifestyle.