Serving Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN
A woman going through menopause is experiencing one of the most significant changes she will experience in her life. A woman in menopause is dealing with physical, mental, and hormonal changes; this often includes having problems sleeping. An increasing body of research is establishing a potential link between menopause and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. Your Knoxville sleep apnea dentists at Choto Family Dentistry want to explain how menopause can elevate your risk for developing sleep apnea.
What happens during menopause?
When a woman enters menopause, this means she no longer is having her menstrual cycle each month. This often occurs around the age of 50 for most women, but women may enter menopause at a younger age if they need to have their ovaries removed surgically earlier in life—or if their ovaries begin to slow down ahead of schedule. The symptoms of menopause can vary widely from woman to woman, although insomnia, depression, changes in mood, hot flashes, and anxiety all are rather common.
Sixty percent of women in post-menopause report some level of insomnia
This usually is reported in combination with the development of snoring or existing snoring becoming more prominent. If you snore loudly, this is the sign of some sort of obstruction in your airway. When you breathe, you push air around this obstruction, which creates a vibration that generates the sound made during snoring. For a person with sleep apnea, these obstructions are significant to make sleep apnea significantly more difficult, or completely interrupt airflow. Either way, oxygen levels drop enough that the brain sends sub-conscious signals to the body to wake up and resume normal breathing. A person with sleep apnea may never wake up consciously, but each of these sleep apnea attacks disrupts the sleep cycle, leading to poor quality sleep and daytime fatigue.
A decrease in quality of sleep often occurs directly because of the hormonal changes that happen during menopause; this is because a woman in menopause experiences decreases in the production of the hormones of progesterone and estrogen, both of which also help regulate sleep. Other menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes also can have a negative effect on sleep. Multiple studies have been done that indicate a link between diminished estrogen production and increased susceptibility to sleep apnea. A Canadian study determined that about 50 percent of women post-menopause had sleep apnea—as compared to just 20 percent of pre-menopausal women.
Failing to treat sleep apnea can have major risks
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition. Ignoring it is the worst thing you can do. It will not go away on its own—it will only get worse. It must be identified and treated by a qualified medical professional. Living with untreated sleep apnea also magnifies your susceptibility to major health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even certain forms of cancer.
Sleep Apnea Treatment for Adults in Knoxville
Why live with any of those risks? If you have been exhibiting any of the signs of sleep apnea, get checked by the sleep apnea dentists at Choto Family Dentistry today. We can provide relief without the use of CPAP by addressing the root of the issue—the airway obstruction causing your sleep breathing disorder. Make an appointment today by calling our office at (865) 269-6688.
Choto Family Dentistry is proud to serve patients in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as the communities of Choto and Northshore.