Sleep Apnea and Sleep
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The "apnea" in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite efforts to breathe. Another form of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea, in which the brain fails to properly control breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more common than central sleep apnea.
Women and Sleep Apnea
Dr. Barbara Phillips — sleep expert, board member and past chair of the National Sleep Foundation — asked some noted experts about the unique challenges women face in being diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Dr. Phillips: Do you think women with sleep apnea are as likely to be diagnosed as men with sleep apnea are?
Grace W. Pien, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine, divisions of Sleep Medicine and Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine: On the whole, I believe that women with sleep apnea are less likely to be diagnosed compared to men. In earlier studies of patients coming in for evaluation for sleep apnea, the ratio of men to women has sometimes been extremely lopsided, with 8 or 9 men diagnosed with apnea for each woman found to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, we know from studies in the general population that the actual ratio is likely to be closer to 2 or 3 men with OSA for each woman who has the condition. read more>>
Could My Child Have Sleep Apnea?
"Caleb was two when we first noticed his loud snoring," said Scott, Caleb's father. "We were alarmed but didn't really start to worry until we began hearing him gasp for air between the snores. That made my wife and me very uneasy.
Nine year old Matthew was significantly overweight. "We tried to exercise with him everyday, but just walking to the park made him so tired that he could hardly stand let alone play once he