When people think of sleep apnea, they tend to think about loud snorers. And they tend to assume only men have sleep disorders. But that’s not the case. A surprising number of women are living with sleep apnea. The risk increases three times after menopause.

“I was so exhausted after a day’s worth of work. I’d go home and sit in a chair and fall asleep. My memory was absent a lot of times and I would forget a lot of things. I wasn’t feeling well and I thought – now’s maybe the time to get tested.”

Diane Scatena’s story is typical of many women. Their symptoms tend to be different than the so-called “typical” symptoms.

“Rather than snoring or pauses in breathing, women might complain of insomnia,” said Lisa Parlato, RRT, Manager of the Sleep Center at Oneida Healthcare, managed by Franciscan. “They have more disturbed sleep. They also report generalized fatigue and depression.”

Other symptoms include dry mouth upon awakening, obesity, a sense of being overwhelmed, frequent nighttime urination, awakening from gasping or choking sensations and hypertension.Since undergoing a sleep study and starting CPAP therapy, Diane has noticed a tremendous improvement in her quality of life.

“I felt refreshed,” she said. “I am much more alert. My memory and concentration are much better now.”

Plus, the tension that existed in her household has ended. All because of a better night’s sleep.