Category Archives: Sleep Apnea Statistics

Sleep Apnea in Women 

According to the National Institute of Health, around 18 million American adults (20% percent of all Americans) are victims of Sleep Apnea, according to the National Institute of health. That means roughly 1 in 15 Americans have Sleep Apnea.

Developing Sleep Apnea is possible in both men and women. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with the sleeping disorder, but there are many factors that contribute to Sleep Apnea development in adult females. Women undergo unique changes and processes during their lifetimes, and these special circumstances can contribute to Sleep Apnea. 

Risk Factors for Women with Sleep Apnea

 Men may be more likely of developing Sleep Apnea in general, but women are faced with many uncontrollable changes that add to their risk.

  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the female body undergoes a tremendous amount of change. Drastic changes in hormonal, physical, and emotional circumstances can cause the development of Sleep Apnea. Pregnant women, especially in the third trimester, are often aroused from sleep by maternal pain or discomfort, but too many arousals can be a sign of a more serious problem. Pregnant women experience hormonal changes and weight gain during pregnancy that largely contribute to Sleep Apnea. Changes in body mass index, especially, can cause OSA in women by compromising the size and shape of the airway.
  • MenopauseWomen who are going, or have gone, through menopause have a heightened risk of experiencing Sleep Apnea; especially after 65. Estrogen levels, a hormone thought to protect against OSA, decrease during menopause. Sleep Apnea in postmenopausal women, is usually caused by either Estrogen level changes or weight gain related to menopause. Hot flashes, night sweats, and chronic nighttime pain often accompany Menopause.
  • Menstrual CycleA woman’s menstrual cycle determines the levels of many different hormones in the body. Sleep Apnea arousals associated with bloating and discomfort are often reported during menstruation.  

Statistics Concerning Women with Sleep Apnea

Medical Science is constantly testing, analyzing, and understanding new information regarding Sleep Apnea. Many studies have focused on Sleep Apnea in Females.

  • The National Center for Health Statistics:
    • TheNationalCenterfor Health Statistics concluded that women are less likely to develop Sleep Apnea than men. Research suggests that the difference is a result of larger neck circumference in Males.
    • TheNationalCenterfor Health Statistics reported that on average, Men take in around 2,504 kilocalories a day; women consumed 1,771 kilocalories a day. Women, however, consume more energy from carbohydrates (about 4% more than men).
  • Delta Sleep Labs:
    • 2-4% of all women above 45 suffer from Sleep Apnea, according to Delta Sleep Labs. A study at theNationalCenterfor Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states that there are six main difficulties related to Sleep Apnea. The study concluded that women were more likely to report experiencing at least four of the six difficulties. In addition, women were still more likely to report general sleep related problems.
  • Based on Council of America Survey and Research Organization:
    • BRFSS reports that 39.6% of women report snoring. BRFSS, is used by health departments to randomly survey adults above eighteen years of age.
    • In 2009 BRFSS reported that 3.5% of women are likely to report falling asleep while driving.
  • The National Sleep Foundation:
    • In 2005, the NSF (National Sleep Foundation) poll Sleep in America concluded that women have more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep compared to men.
    • NSF reported that 63% of women experience symptoms of Insomnia a few nights out of the week in 2002. They also reported that one in every four adult women experience disrupted sleep caused by pain at least three nights every week.
    • A 2002 poll indicated that 18% of all adult females experience symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome at least a few nights a week.
    • Women over fifty experience a heightened risk of developing Sleep Apnea. One in four women over the age 65 are Sleep Apnea victims.
    • Women are 3.5 times more likely to develop Sleep Apnea during menopause. 36% of menopausal women report being awakened at night by severe hot flashes.

Common Misdiagnosis of Sleep Apnea in Women:

  • Depression: One of the most common mental diseases, Depression, is characterized by lack of energy and difficulty concentrating as well as feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness and apathy.
  • Anemia: Patients with Anemia have a lower number of red blood cells, or hemoglobin, in the body than is normal. Anemia causes fatigue and pallor.
  • Irregular Heartbeat: Cardiac Dysrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, occurs when there is an abundance of electrical activity is taking place in the heart. Heart beats become abnormal. They may be too fast, too slow, or sporadic. Many various conditions can cause Cardiac Dysrhtymia.
  • Pulmonary Hypertension/High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure occurs when there is too much force being placed on arterial walls by the pressure of being pushed against them. Hypertension occurs when the arteries are too narrow to support the blood being pumped by the heart. Around 50% of Sleep Apnea patients suffer from high blood pressure. Patients who suffer from untreated Sleep Apnea are three times more likely to suffer from heart disease.
  • Fibromyalgia: People who suffer from Fibromyalgia experience chronic wide-spread pain in the sensitive parts of their bodies. Most Fibromyalgia pain occurs in the muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the body.
  • Diabetes: When the body cannot effectively regulate sugar levels (glucose) in the blood, the glucose levels become too high and Diabetes occurs. 
  • Hypothyroidism: An under-active thyroid gland is categorized as Hypothyroidism; it occurs when the thyroid glands fail to produce adequate thyroxine levels. Thyroxine regulates growth, digestion, metabolism, heart rate, and even developmental abilities.
  • Insomnia: Sleep Apnea patients are commonly diagnosed as Insomnia sufferers. Insomnia is characterized by the repeated inability to fall asleep, or the inability to remain asleep for significant periods of time.
  • Hypochondria: Hypochondria is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders. The disorder refers to a person that is constantly worries about their health. Hypochondriacs constantly live in fear of becoming sick and can convince themselves that they are experiencing symptoms of illnesses. 
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