If you are offering sleep apnea treatment to patients in your area, it’s important to know the risks associated with different demographics. For example, researchers are now finding that women who struggle with this common disorder are much more likely to develop cancer. With this staggering new knowledge, it is now more important than ever to encourage your patients to seek proper treatment if they are exhibiting signs of sleep apnea. Read on to find out what you can do to help female patients get the help they need to avoid their risk for cancer.
How Are Sleep Apnea and Cancer Linked?
Researchers have discovered a small, yet identifiable link that could mean a higher risk of cancer for women with sleep apnea. When surveying individuals with obstructive sleep apnea, it was found that those who experience more frequent airway blockage suffer from low blood oxygen levels (below 90%), and as a result, are more prone to being diagnosed with cancer. Because more research must be done before officials can definitively approve or deny that sleep apnea causes cancer, there is enough reason to believe they could be connected, especially in women.
Why Women More Than Men?
One of the questions your patients may ask is “why is the cancer risk higher for women than men?” There are a few suggestions:
- As a result of low blood oxygen levels as they relate to episodes of obstructive sleep apnea, a female’s hormones and feelings of stress may make it harder for the body to fight against anything that might try to attack (i.e., cancer cells). Because of this potential combination, a woman’s immune system weakens.
- Most women often are not diagnosed with sleep apnea as quickly as men. What this means is there are different symptoms women often experience, many of which can be easily misdiagnosed as something else (i.e., depression). Fatigue, insomnia, and headaches are common among female patients, but men tend to experience snoring and ceased breathing more often.
How You Can Help Your Patients
As a sleep dentist, you now have the ability to provide top-of-the-line treatment to your patients. With the help of your peers and notable researchers, you can continue to learn and apply new knowledge regarding the risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea. As always, you should remain diligent in talking to all patients about their normal symptoms and sleep patterns, as this will serve to be beneficial when it comes to early detection.
If a female patient expresses concern regarding her inability to achieve adequate rest or is feeling fatigue day-in and day-out, make sure you are asking the appropriate questions and recommending proper testing. Based on professional findings, you can help them begin treatment that improves their sleep and reduces their risk of potentially fatal cancers.
About 21st Century Sleep Seminars
Dr. Kent Smith is a top professional in sleep medicine who has experience in treating, writing, and speaking about sleep disorders. His wealth of knowledge has helped other dentists integrate sleep apnea treatment into their own practices. At 21st Century Sleep Seminars, we can provide you with the information, tips, advice, and network of professionals you need to effectively treat these sleep disorders your patients are facing. To learn more, visit our website or call (972) 255-3712.