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Sleep apnea symptoms in men

Sleep apnea is a relatively common sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans each year. There are several types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and mixed or complex sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is characterized by lapses in breathing during the night, which often result in waking up, gasping for air, loud snoring, and feelings of extreme fatigue during the day. Interestingly, sleep apnea symptoms in men often differ from sleep apnea symptoms in women, and are often easier to identify.

What are sleep apnea symptoms in men?

There are many universal sleep apnea symptoms, which are found in both men and women; the most ubiquitous signs of sleep apnea include consistent snoring and waking up gasping for air. Although these signs are found in most people with sleep apnea, they are usually more pronounced in men. For example, men with sleep apnea often complain of intense snoring and noticeable periods of reduced breathing or constant waking up. In contrast, women with obstructive sleep apnea often report experiencing insomnia and depression.[1] [2]

Men may experience other symptoms as well, such as erectile dysfunction and a decreased libido.[3] These additional sleep apnea symptoms in men are due to the effects that sleep apnea and sleep deprivation have on testosterone and oxygen levels.[4] [5]

Why are sleep apnea symptoms in men more recognizable?

There are several theories on why sleep apnea has been historically easier to identify in men than in women. Most notably, symptoms of sleep apnea in men are usually more pronounced than sleep apnea symptoms in women. Men tend to have the intensely loud snoring that is often associated with sleep apnea. Men are also thought to be more anatomically predisposed to obstructive sleep apnea. They are more likely to have issues with blocked airways and breathing due to excess fat or weight in the neck, particularly as they age.[1] Men also tend to have a larger neck circumference and more extended airways than do women, which makes them more vulnerable to developing sleep apnea.

Lastly, sleep apnea is more common in men than in women, obstructive sleep apnea in particular. Of course, this may be because sleep apnea symptoms in men are simply more recognizable, and therefore more often recognized as being symptoms of the condition.[7] [8]

FAQs

How is sleep apnea diagnosed at home?

The presence of loud snoring, waking during the night, and tiredness during the day that impedes your daily activities can all be signs of sleep apnea. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, there are cost-effective at-home sleep apnea tests that can help you test your breathing at night.

Does anxiety cause sleep apnea?

A number of studies suggest that stress or anxiety can trigger or aggravate sleep apnea. Unfortunately, many people with sleep apnea experience anxiety as a result of having sleep apnea.

What happens if sleep apnea is left untreated?

It can be very dangerous to leave your sleep apnea untreated. Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of heart problems, including heart attack, stroke, and even heart failure.

Can sleep apnea be cured?

In general, sleep apnea is a long-term condition that requires management and cannot be cured. However, unlike central sleep apnea or mixed sleep apnea, there are several lifestyle changes and home remedies for obstructive sleep apnea that can help you manage it. For instance, to treat obstructive sleep apnea at home, you can try losing weight in combination with changing your sleep position and minimizing alcohol consumption. This may even eliminate obstructive sleep apnea for those with mild cases. More often than not, however, sleep apnea requires the attention of a medical professional who can help you find ways to manage it, like the use of a CPAP for snoring.

What are the differences in sleep apnea symptoms in men vs sleep apnea symptoms in women?

Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are better researched and understood in men than in women. Sleep apnea in men is generally characterized by louder snoring and a higher measure on the hypopnea index (a measurement of the number of apneas per hour), while women are more likely to experience insomnia, mood swings, and anxiety.[8]

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Resources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2642982/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5028797
  3.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2173511512000036
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305865/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24435056/
  6. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-dangers-of-uncontrolled-sleep-apnea
  7. https://www.cpap.com/blog/sleep-apnea-symptoms-men
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2642982/
  9. https://www.eossleep.com/2015/05/11/how-men-and-women-are-different-when-it-comes-to-snoring-sleep-apnea/

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