Tad Morgan DDS Blog
June 3, 2022
Menopause. It’s often called “The Change” because not only do hormones shift, but lots of other things happen, too. Hair loss, weight gain, hot flashes and skin changes are just a few things women can look forward to when they hit this cycle of life. However, there’s also a big change that many women don’t talk about or actually even know about that is a very real and widespread problem during menopause.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
It’s a sleep disorder in which you stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. This happens hundreds of times each night. When it does occur, your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, and you wake up feeling tired and groggy. You may have trouble falling back asleep after waking up. In fact, some people who suffer from sleep apnea experience an average of four or five awakenings every hour throughout the night. Those with severe cases can wake up dozens of times in an hour.
That means you’re awake for at least 20 minutes or more out of every hour of the night! And if you’re like most people, you probably spend one-third of your nights tossing and turning trying to fall back asleep. That’s why so many people feel exhausted and worn down by the end of the day. They simply haven’t gotten enough rest or gotten quality sleep.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Here are the most common signs of the condition:
- Snoring (especially loud snoring)
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Frequent daytime naps
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor memory recall
- Weight gain
- Excessive sweating
- Fatigue/low energy
- Mood swings
- Insomnia symptoms
How Common Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder. There are millions of Americans suffering from sleep-disordered breathing. According to the National Institutes of Health, between 2 and 6 percent of adults over age 40 have mild obstructive sleep apnea. The number jumps to 10 percent among overweight individuals.
And according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, as many as 18 million Americans have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Many times when people think about who gets sleep apnea, they think about men. Particularly overweight, older men. But, this blog is about women and sleep apnea, so you may be surprised to find that about 15 percent of middle-aged women have moderate to severe sleep apnea.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Women During Menopause?
As we mentioned, during menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels change. These hormones play a number of important roles throughout your body, of which one is to help you maintain muscle tone. When you think about muscle tone, you may think about your arms, legs or abs, but do you think about the tone of your throat muscles?
When your hormones change with menopause, the muscles and soft tissue in your throat are also affected. The result is drooping muscles that block your airway when you sleep. And, in turn, you are at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Another risk factor in developing sleep apnea related to menopause is weight gain and fat redistribution. In many cases, women gain more fat around their neck when their body weight goes up, increasing the size of the neck, which can further increase the risk of sleep apnea.
Hot Flashes and Sleep Apnea
Another part of menopause for most women is hot flashes. Hot flashes are caused by fluctuating female hormone levels and can last anywhere from a few seconds to several hours. For some women, these episodes become more frequent and intense as the women enter perimenopause.
A 2017 Mayo Clinic study connected hot flashes and sleep apnea. Researchers found that women who experienced hot flashes were three times more likely to develop sleep apnea. And, interestingly enough, those same women were also four times more likely to experience restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome is another symptom of OSA.
The Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs. It usually happens after she has gone through her childbearing years. Some midlife women go through menopause naturally without having any symptoms. Others experience menopause because of medical conditions like cancer or thyroid disease.
Common signs of menopause include:
- Changes in menstrual periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Decreased sex drive
If you notice any of these changes, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to determine whether you need to see a specialist for a sleep study.
Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Serious for Women?
Yes, obstructive sleep apnea is serious for anyone. If you don’t treat it, it can lead to other health problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, anxiety, irritability, memory loss, headaches and even infertility.
The good news is that there are treatments available that can improve your quality of life. And, fortunately, there are no side effects associated with these treatments. So, if you suspect you might have sleep-disordered breathing, talk to your doctor today. He or she will perform an evaluation and determine whether treatment is right for you.
April 28, 2022
You may have heard of myofunctional therapy as treatment for children, but did you know that many adults benefit from this therapy as well? Many adults choose to undergo myofunctional therapy to correct problems that they’ve had since birth but never had addressed.(more…)
April 20, 2022
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You may have noticed some noise from your jaw when you’re eating or when you yawn.
In most cases, a noisy jaw isn’t concerning. It can be relatively common and for most people only happens when you open your jaw very wide. In many cases, jaw noise isn’t painful, so if your jaw is creaking, snapping or grinding and is accompanied by pain and loss of use, it’s time to talk about TMD.(more…)
February 22, 2022
Are you missing a tooth or multiple teeth? You’re not alone. Many adults in the United States over the age of 30 are missing at least one tooth, and some are missing all of their teeth.
And while many of those who are missing teeth simply leave the space open, the effects of not replacing a missing tooth or teeth are significant — and not just for the appearance of your smile.(more…)
December 10, 2021
Sleep – probably one of your favorite things to do if you have a life full of hustle and bustle. Whether it’s work, kids, sports, or other commitments, your night’s rest is the easiest way to relax and recharge for the next day. However, getting the sleep you need can be tough if you’re experiencing a toothache. It’s vital to book an appointment with your dentist to treat the issue, however you can use the following tips to relieve your pain at home and get some shuteye until then.(more…)
October 19, 2021
Lip and tongue tie treatment may not be the first service you think about when it comes to dentistry, however it is becoming much more common in dental offices because it helps children enjoy healthy smiles. By correcting these issues, a child won’t have developmental problems and other obstacles that come with lip or tongue ties. But how common are these problems? Should you be on the lookout for them for your child? Read on to get the answers to these questions!(more…)
September 19, 2021
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August 23, 2021
Every year, over 500,000 people choose dental implants because of their amazing health and lifestyle benefits. If you have diabetes, you may be wondering whether you can take advantage of this amazing tooth replacement option. While your condition might put you at higher risk of implant failure, this life-changing solution doesn’t need to be completely ruled out! Read on to learn how your diabetes affect the success of dental implants as well as what you can do to ensure the health of your new smile.(more…)
July 26, 2021
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting millions of Americans. What’s even more surprising is that an estimated 80% of cases are undiagnosed – that’s a lot of people not getting a full night’s sleep. While those who are older do have a higher risk of sleep apnea, this disorder can actually affect anyone at any time, including children. Read on to learn the signs, causes, and potential treatment options for children’s sleep apnea.(more…)
June 14, 2021
Picture this: you’re enjoying a perfect day, then it happens – you bite down on a popcorn kernel and crack your tooth! It’s easy to panic and let this problem take over, however those who are prepared can remain calm, save their tooth, and get the help they need. Dental emergencies are always surprising but having a dental emergency kit at the ready with all the necessary items you need will save your smile. So what do you need to put in your kit? Read on to learn the answer.(more…)