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Even though sleep apnea can have serious health consequences, it often goes undiagnosed.
Partly, that’s because people with apnea aren’t aware that they snore or gasp as they start or stop breathing. Often a bed partner is the one to notice those symptoms.
And doctors may not spot the condition during a routine exam because women’s symptoms may seem different than men’s.
Pavlova says women with apnea are less likely to complain about daytime sleepiness than men are, for example.
More commonly, she says, breathing problems keep women from falling asleep or staying asleep.
“So in a woman who has snoring or difficulty falling asleep, I’d recommend an evaluation,” she says.