Sleep apnea is a serious and dangerous disorder that causes a person to stop breathing during the course of his or her slumber. It triggers cellular damage due to the sudden and frequent fluctuations in the blood's oxygen levels. Severe cases can eventually lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure.

Both men and women can suffer from this condition. Unfortunately, a study on ScienceDaily.com has shown that women experience a higher degree of brain cell damage from sleep apnea compared to men.

In a recent multi-year study entitled Sex Differences in White Matter Alterations Accompanying Obstructive Sleep Apnea, researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing monitored apnea patients, specifically, their “white matter,” which are nerve fibers in the brain. Sleep apnea causes damage on the cingulum bundle and the anterior cingulate cortex of female patients, which are parts of the brain that manage decision-making and mood changes. This, in turn, may lead to depression and anxiety among women.

If you or your loved one is suffering from this condition, immediately seek professional help. Early intervention can help you lower the risks of complications.

(Photo by Mislav Marohnic via Flickr Creative Commons)

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