symptoms of sleep apnea in men

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea In Men?

Believe it or not, males show some significantly different symptoms of sleep apnea than women do. Although not all symptoms are different, there are a few key differences in symptoms between sexes. These differences are due, in large part, to the key genetic differences in the chemical and physical structures of males and females.

Testosterone, and the level of it in the body, plays a large part in the causing of sleep apnea among the male gender. The lowering levels of testosterone that are associated with male menopause, andropause, can sometimes result in apneas among men. When testosterone is at an optimal level in the body, slow wave sleep (deep sleep) is much easier to achieve. As a result of this, testosterone therapy has shown promising improvements in men suffering from apneas.

Testosterone production, or lack of it, can be a vicious cycle in men so it is important to be aware of your levels. Fatigue from obstructed sleep leads to reduced insulin production and increased cortisol production. Cortisol is the stress hormone and naturally increases when insomnia causes stress on the body. When cortisol levels are consistently high, the body begins to slow testosterone production. Essentially, apneas that are caused by low testosterone will cause remaining testosterone levels to continue dropping; lower testosterone leads to lower muscle mass and disruptions of the human growth process which naturally takes place during the first ninety minutes of sleep.

Men also have a different physical structure than women do. Naturally a male’s neck is leaner and narrower than that of a woman. Consequently, the male airway is naturally smaller. Being overweight is a serious issue for anyone who may be suffering from sleep apnea, but since men tend to be overweight more often than women, they are at a higher risk.

Loud snoring is probably the most evident difference in the symptoms of apneas between men and women. Because the airway of a male is naturally smaller, there is an increased amount of friction in the throat when trying to breathe through a moment of obstruction. Loud snoring is not only damaging to the tender muscles in your throat and respiratory system; it does nothing beneficial for sleeping patterns. Not only does snoring affect others who can hear it, it can also keep the individual suffering from sleeping through the night. Since snoring is so common, and often perceived in a joke-like manner, it is often overlooked as a serious symptom of an even more serious problem.

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