Menopause and sleep apnea share some symptoms that make them difficult to tell which is which. Poor sleep, daytime sleepiness, night sweats, mood changes, weight gain, and stress are overlapping symptoms. Luckily, the other menopause symptoms are relatively easy to distinguish. But it gets complicated when you learn your risk of sleep apnea rises significantly with menopause. You could be experiencing sleep apnea and menopause but mistake the severity of your symptoms for just menopause. Getting tested for sleep apnea could save you countless sleepless nights and relieve symptoms during this already difficult time.

middle aged woman laying in bed smiling, happy from a restful nights sleepWhy Does the Risk Rise?

Many women don’t realize that they could have sleep apnea because it’s generally thought of as a man’s condition. It’s indeed more prevalent in men, but while it’s estimated to be present in one in four men, it’s also present in one in ten women. The odds are still high.

Women are protected from sleep apnea before menopause due to high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which tone airway muscles to keep it from collapsing. These hormones are one of the reasons the risk of sleep apnea is higher in men. So, when a woman loses the high levels of these hormones, muscle tone in the airway decreases, and obstruction becomes more likely.

Many women who are going through or have gone through menopause are unaware of the sleep apnea connection and don’t seek the treatment they need to get a good night’s sleep. If you think you may have sleep apnea, get tested and get treatment in Anchorage, AK, today.

When to Seek Testing and Treatment

Besides the symptoms mentioned above, sleep apnea and menopause share others like headaches, depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, high blood pressure, and decreased libido. Snoring isn’t always present in women; one of the tell-tale signs of sleep apnea. With almost all the symptoms shared, it’s no wonder sleep apnea gets overlooked!

If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, more so than others you know, bring it up to your doctor and look into getting tested for sleep apnea. Daytime sleepiness is a hazard to your health, but it can also affect others. According to OSHA, workplace accidents increase by 30% due to fatigue. Driving accidents increase, too. Drivers who get 6 hours of sleep or less are 33% more likely to get in an automobile accident.

Unlike menopause, sleep apnea won’t go away with time. It can lead to medical problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. But you can curb these consequences of untreated sleep apnea by getting treatment.

How Do I Get Tested for Sleep Apnea?

The only way to know if you have sleep apnea is to get tested by a medical doctor. If you’re seeing your doctor for menopause anyway, bring up sleep apnea and ask to be tested. Many times, you can get a home sleep test. These tests are typically easy to take and give accurate—sometimes even more accurate in an in-lab test—results.

What is the Most Effective Treatment for Sleep Apnea?

The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is the one you’ll use each time you sleep. Like most things, it only works for you use the treatment. Standard treatment used to be a CPAP, but many people turn toward oral appliance therapy.

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is a machine that delivers oxygen to you through a mask. The constant air pressure keeps your airway open, allowing you to sleep without experiencing breathing pauses. For severe cases of sleep apnea, CPAP is typically recommended—but only if you can tolerate the treatment.

For mild to moderate sleep apnea and severe sleep apnea cases, if you can’t adhere to CPAP, oral appliance therapy is a popular choice in Anchorage. It’s a mouthguard-like appliance that you wear every time you sleep. The appliance holds your jaw in the optimal position to keep your airway open all night long.

With oral appliance therapy, you can enjoy:

  • Comfort: If you’ve had CPAP or looked into it, you know about the tubes, mask, and light noise the machine makes while turned on. These inconveniences are uncomfortable for some and can make sleep difficult. With an oral appliance, just pop it in your mouth and sleep.
  • Simplicity: CPAP can be cumbersome to use and get the hang of, whereas an oral appliance can’t be used wrong. It is straightforward and can only fit in your mouth one way.
  • Easy Travel: Do you travel a lot for work? An oral appliance is easy. Just bring it along in its case and wear it whenever you sleep, whether on the plane, on a couch, or on a long car ride.
  • Camping Trips: If you’re like many Alaskans, you love to camp. CPAP needs an outlet to run, but an oral appliance doesn’t. Even if you use a CPAP normally, get an oral appliance to wear when you’re out of range of electricity.
  • Easy Maintenance: An oral appliance offers easy cleaning. Just soak it or rinse it off with water, brush it with your toothbrush, and you’re good to go.
  • Cost-effective: At the office of Dr. Richard Crosby, you’ll get a custom oral appliance at a lower cost than a CPAP.

Get Sleep Apnea Treatment in Anchorage, AK

If you think you may have sleep apnea, contact Dr. Richard Crosby in Anchorage. He can help you find a test and provide easy and effective sleep apnea treatment. Call (907) 277-1098 today or make an appointment online.