As we get older, we sometimes begin to accept certain things as facts of life. Gray hair, fine lines, and feeling fatigued even after a full-night’s sleep are all things many of us accept as just a normal (albeit frustrating) part of aging. But sometimes, these things aren’t just normal wear and tear on our bodies. Take the case of fatigue, for example. While it’s hard to know what is just your body’s normal setting, so to speak, not all fatigue is normal. In fact, fatigue can signal other problems in the body, such as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea affects between two to five percent of all American women each year, many of them post-menopausal, and many of them without realizing they even have it. In fact, post-menopausal women are 4.5 times more likely to have sleep apnea than women who are not yet post-menopause. This in turn makes it harder to screen those women for sleep apnea, especially if the only symptoms they are aware of is fatigue.
Recently, a study found a link between not just fatigue and sleep apnea, but joint pain and sleep apnea. Joint pain is unfortunately another symptom of aging that many people take for granted as “normal” and may not think to mention to a physician. But doctors in the study surmise that this joint pain could be caused by the decrease in sex hormones which also may be contributing to the sleep apnea suffered by some.
Though the study was small, researchers say it highlights the need for more sleep apnea screening, especially among post-menopausal women who suffer from joint pain. In the meantime, there are some things you can do today to be proactive about your own health.
Do you suffer from fatigue and / or joint pain? Speak to your physician about a possible sleep apnea screening. This is especially important if you are older, overweight or obese, snore, or if anyone has told you that you seem to stop and restart breathing or gasp for air during sleep.
SPEAK TO DR. ABELAR
Do you already have a sleep apnea diagnosis? Are you struggling to adapt to your CPAP therapy? Dr. Abelar can help. We offer custom-made sleep orthotics that are molded to fit your mouth and comfortably prop your airway open as you sleep, allowing you to breathe and get a restful night’s sleep.
To learn more about your sleep options, contact Dentist in San Deigo, Dr. Abelar’s office today!