Reasons Women are More at Risk of Developing Sleep Apnea
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Choice Family Dentistry

People have always thought that sleep apnea mostly affects older, overweight men. But new research shows that women of all ages and body types are getting more and more OSA or breathing problems while they sleep.

Worryingly, many healthy, active young women don’t get the right diagnosis because they don’t fit the stereotype. This often leads to weariness, exhaustion, headaches, and depression that could have been prevented.

Why Don’t Women Get Diagnosed?

The main reason is that women rarely show typical signs of sleep apnea. For example, a thick neck could be a sign of sleep apnea. This is because it makes it more likely that the person will have a lot of soft tissue at the back of their throat. If this tissue collapses during sleep, it can block the airway and cause obstructive sleep apnea.

Even though women tend to have smaller airways because their necks and jaws are narrower, sleep apnea is often overlooked because of the difference between men and women.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Can Affect 50 Percent Of Women

Researchers found out in 2013 that obstructive sleep apnea affects about 18 million Americans, with as many as half of those people being women between the ages of 20 and 70.

The classic signs and symptoms of OSA don’t always appear the same for women. Another reason why sleep apnea in women isn’t diagnosed as often as it should be is that women often describe the symptoms differently than men.

Research shows that women with sleep apnea are more likely to have problems in the parts of the brain that control judgment and emotion. This makes sense when you think women are less likely to report the classic symptoms of OSA, like snoring and waking up gasping for air than they are to report feeling worried, sad, or tired. Some disorders, like depression, hypochondria, and high blood pressure, can hide the signs of sleep apnea in women, leading to wrong diagnoses.

Dangers Of Wrong Diagnosis

Women need to get a correct diagnosis of OSA. Sleep apnea can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and a higher risk of stroke, in addition to tiredness and brain fog, which are more common side effects.OSA must be correctly and quickly diagnosed for treatment to work.

Getting Rid Of Sleep Apnea

Many women with OSA don’t need to wear a CPAP mask because their condition can be treated with dental appliances. These devices change the position of the tongue and teeth to keep the airway open.

If you are worried about sleep apnea or have any other questions or concerns about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), visit our dental clinic in Rancho Cucamonga for more information.


1. Does Sleep Apnea Tend To Affect Women More Than Men?

Before, it was thought that obstructive sleep apnea affected 8 men for every 1 woman. Epidemiological studies show that the number of men with sleep apnea is almost twice as high as that of women.

2. What Do Sleep Apnea And Gender Have To Do With Each Other?

Researchers in clinics and the community have always found that men are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than women.

3. What Do You Need To Know About Sleep Apnea In Women?

The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and the length of apneas and hypopneas show that OSA in women is less severe than in men. Women are more likely than men to have upper airway resistance episodes that don’t meet the criteria for apneas. Women have lower rates of having the disease and are less likely to be correctly diagnosed.

4. After Menopause, The Number Of Women With Sleep Apnea Increases, But Why?

Women are safer before menopause when their levels of estrogen and progesterone are higher. The hormones in question keep the airway muscles from weakening and falling. But the number of people with sleep apnea increases when these levels drop during perimenopause and reach their lowest levels during menopause.

5. Have Any Thin Women Been Told They Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can happen to anyone, even healthy and thin. A thin person might not think they have sleep apnea and be less likely to get tested.