With men self-reporting sleep apnea nearly twice as much as women and the fact that 73% of Canadian adults with sleep apnea are men, it’s important to know the facts and pay attention.
You might be wondering - what percentage of people suffer from sleep apnea? Most are surprised to hear that it’s as high (or higher) as 9% in females (or one in ten females) and 24% in males (or one in four males)
That being said, sleep apnea is a serious condition that when left untreated can lead to a whole host of other medical problems.
Here are five reasons why men should be treated for the condition as soon as possible.
The snoring won’t stop
Snoring is usually the strongest predictor of sleep apnea. Studies have indicated that almost half of adult men snore, and it’s usually their partner who brings attention to the problem. Not only can snoring be detrimental to the male experiencing it, but it also disrupts their partner’s sleeping routine as well - a lose-lose situation!
If you snore throughout the night, and have a hunch that you may suffer from sleep apnea, take our Sleep Apnea Quiz here.
It can lead to other health complications
For reasons unknown, men are more likely to experience sleep apnea at an earlier age than women. Before the age of 45, high blood pressure is likely to be more common in men than women, and the links between high blood pressure and sleep apnea have been well established.
Health issues such as diabetes, depression and liver problems can also be the result of sleep apnea. For these reasons, it’s important to diagnose and treat the condition before other serious health problems occur.
Your energy levels will plummet
Sleep apnea can and will leave you feeling exhausted. When you don’t get a proper night’s sleep, your brain is deprived of oxygen and you feel lethargic and listless the next day. Severe sleep apnea can result is as many as 30 interruptions per hour.
Even in mild cases of apnea, it is not possible to experience restorative sleep. This will evidently have an impact on your overall quality of life, as well as your productivity during work, family events, and more. If you are lacking energy during the daytime, you might want to look into sleep apnea as a possible cause.
It can cause erectile dysfunction
It’s true - there is a link between OSA and erectile dysfunction. While scientists aren’t exactly sure why, there are a number of theories (such as that sleep deprivation is the culprit), as well as statistics that prove that this can be a side effect of sleep apnea. Men who are sleep deprived can also feel tired, as well as stressed, which can worsen sexual problems even further.
The good news? Treating sleep apnea has been proven to improve ED.
Men tend to develop sleep apnea more than women
There are a number of physiological and hormonal reasons as to why men develop sleep apnea more so than women, so it is important to be aware of them.
There are several anatomical issues related to sleep apnea that are more common in men. Physiological differences such as having a short maxilla and mandible, descended larynx and a shortened soft palate are a few of the prominent differences between men and women which contribute to the occurrence of sleep apnea.
Studies published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology show that men with low testosterone levels do not sleep well, experience less REM sleep and awaken more often during the night. A vicious cycle occurs which can lead to sleep apnea. Testosterone is meant to fall during waking hours and increase during sleep, but having a poor sleep ensures that the restorative rest needed for hormone balance cannot be achieved.