Sleep Apnea in Men: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects millions of men (3-15% of them) worldwide. Men are also 2 to 3 times more likely to have sleep apnea than women in many patient populations. Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated interruptions of breathing during sleep, which can lead to a number of serious health complications. In this blog post, we will talk about common sleep apnea symptoms in men, along with the causes, and various treatment options available to them. 

Men with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for a number of serious health complications, including hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, among others.

Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In addition, by causing exhaustion and daytime fatigue, sleep apnea can lead you to miss out on fun, laughter, relationships and intimacy as well as affect your day to day mood and performance.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Men

One of the most common sleep apnea symptoms in men is loud snoring. This is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep, which results in turbulent airflow. This can cause the soft tissue in the back of the throat to vibrate, resulting in loud snoring.

Another common sleep apnea symptom in men is daytime fatigue and sleepiness. This is caused by the repeated interruptions of breathing during sleep, which can lead to poor sleep quality and a lack of restorative sleep. As a result, men with sleep apnea may feel tired and groggy during the day, even after getting a full night’s sleep.Other sleep apnea symptoms include frequent awakening at night to urinate, morning headaches, awakening with a dry mouth  and difficulty concentrating during the day. Men with sleep apnea may also experience a loss of interest in sex.

Risk Factors

Even though sleep apnea can affect anyone, men are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from it. Here are other factors that can increase your risk of suffering from sleep apnea:

  • Excess weight: Obesity greatly increases your risk of being affected by sleep apnea. Fat deposits around your neck can block your breathing.
  • Having a neck circumference greater than 17 inches: People with thicker necks tend to have narrower airways. This is why a lot of athletes who play sports such as basketball, American football or wrestling have sleep apnea, because they have a lot of muscle around the neck which adds to the pressure on the airways. 
  • Being older: Sleep apnea occurs significantly more in older men than in younger men.
  • Family history: Having a first degree relative with sleep apnea might increase your risk fourfold.
  • Smoking: Men who smoke are 3 times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea compared to those who have never smoked. Smoking increases the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airways.
  • Nasal congestion: If you have trouble breathing through your nose due to allergies or anatomical problems, you are more likely to have sleep apnea. 
  • Medical conditions such as hormonal and cardiovascular disorders

Treatment Options

  • Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, and sleeping on their side can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms in men. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the pressure on the airway, and avoiding alcohol and sedatives can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms. Although these lifestyle changes can make a difference, they are often not enough to completely treat sleep apnea alone. 
  • CPAP therapy is a common treatment for sleep apnea. A CPAP machine delivers a constant stream of air through a mask that is worn over the nose or mouth during sleep. The air pressure is set to a level that is just enough to keep the airway open. CPAP therapy can be effective in reducing the number of apneas and improving the quality of sleep. 
  • Dental appliances can also be used to treat sleep apnea. These appliances, which can be worn in the mouth during sleep, reposition the jaw and tongue to help keep the airway open. They can be effective for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea but may not work for everyone.
  • Surgery is another option for treating sleep apnea. Surgery can be used to remove excess tissue from the airway or to reposition the jaw and tongue, or the tongue alone, to help keep the airway open. 

The best treatment for you will depend on the severity of your sleep apnea, your overall health, and your personal preferences.

If you experience any symptoms of sleep apnea, it is very important you talk to your sleep healthcare provider. You can also book an online appointment with us at patient.ognomy.com to talk to a sleep specialist who can test, diagnose and treat your sleep apnea all from the comfort of your own home.

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