women with sleep apneaSleep Apnea has long been thought to be a condition only experienced by middle-aged overweight men. The stereotypical snoring man who gasps for breath while sleeping and sometimes stops breathing altogether should no longer be the norm. Women make up a third of the total diagnosed population with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and manufacturers, sleep clinics, and retailers are starting to notice. New products have come to market in the last few months aimed solely at women patients.

Thirty-three percent of new patients who underwent a sleep study that resulted in OSA were women. It’s not surprising, of course, that women should suffer the same pains as men when it comes to sleep. However, diagnosis in women is usually harder to come by and sometimes overlooked. Why? There are a few reasons. First is the stereotype. Doctors too are often mislead by the stereotype and will not consider OSA as a possible reason for a woman’s tiredness or reduction in quality of life. Second, women tend to snore less often than men.

This doesn’t mean that women aren’t experiencing the same symptoms, but those symptoms may show themselves differently in women. Women with OSA will often stop breathing, but there is no large gasp of air causing the snoring vibrations. Women with sleep apnea tend to have morning headaches, tiredness throughout the day, insomnia, and mood disturbances.

Another reason for women being diagnosed less may just be their bed-partners. Women tend to notice the sleep patterns of their partners while men may not. The caregiving nature of women leans towards the health of others and not to themselves. Many women have sacrificed their own health and wellbeing for that of their partner or loved one. Women are aware of the risks of OSA in their partners, but they are often not aware that they are also at risk.

Manufacturers of CPAP masks are starting to take notice and are encouraging women with new products. ResMed Corporation recently released a new CPAP mask designed solely with the female patient in mind. Apart from the stylish pink color of the headgear that holds the CPAP mask in place, the CPAP mask is lighter, smaller, and sleek. ResMed markets the Swift FX Nasal Pillow System For Her CPAP mask as a mask just for women and has seen great success. The Swift FX For Her is a nasal interface CPAP mask that delivers pressures directly into the nostrils, instead a standard mask that envelopes the entire nose. In addition, manufacturers are starting to use women in more marketing materials, and in a lot of cases are using both men and women happily using their CPAP machines and CPAP masks together. CPAP masks from other manufacturers are also being geared towards women patients with the inclusion of petite sizes and comfort options including strap guards

Education and proper compliance of CPAP therapy among women needs to be taken on priority. Women need opportunity to a whole new lifestyle of sleep and rejuvenation from sleep that they may not have experienced before. Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated and patients, both men and women all over the country, rely on their therapy every night.

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Filed under: CPAP DeviceCPAP MaskCPAP TherapyObstructive Sleep ApneaOther DisordersSleepSleep ApneaSleep Apnea AwarenessSleep Apnea DevicesSleep Apnea EffectsSleep Disordered BreathingSleep DisordersSleep Problems

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