Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Study Indicates Women with Sleep Apnea Suffer more Brain Damage than Men

A recent study from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) is an important reminder that women who snore regularly and/or have difficulty sleeping through the night should undergo an evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a common sleep disorder with potentially deadly risks.

Although snoring—the most common symptom of sleep apnea—is more strongly associated with men than women, and while men suffer OSA more frequently than women, research from UCLA shows that women with sleep apnea sustain more damage to their brain cells than men. Previous research has established that sleep apnea can result in brain cell damage, but the recent findings in the UCLA study indicate that women suffer more brain cell damage than men, particularly in the regions of the brain that help regulate moods and decision-making.

It is believed that more than 20 million Americans may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and that many of those are either entirely undiagnosed or do not receive treatment. While sleep apnea can occur regardless of gender or age, the American College of Physicians estimates that between 4 and 9 percent of middle-aged men have OSA, and between 2 and 4 percent of middle-aged women suffer from OSA.

If not treated, obstructive sleep apnea can result in a heightened risk for severe health problems including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrhythmia

There are a number of sleep apnea treatments available through the field of dental sleep medicine. Many patients are able to restore restful sleep to themselves and their partners through the use of custom-made oral appliances.

If you or a loved one experiences loud, chronic snoring or other signs of sleep apnea such as extreme daytime drowsiness, please contact IHateCPAP.com to locate a dentist near you with experience in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders including sleep apnea.

posted by Steve at 2:29 PM