Sleep apnea is mostly considered a disorder that menÂ suffer. But, in a study published in the “EuropeanÂ Respiratory Journal,” researchers found that women whoÂ were obese and/or had high blood pressure were moreÂ likely to experience it.
PLUS: Two ways to cure sleep apnea.
Having “obstructive sleep apnea” means that when youÂ sleep, you have pauses in your breathing of which you’reÂ usually unaware. The length and regularity of these pausesÂ will show how serious the condition is. The only sureÂ method of diagnosing it lies with a sleep clinicÂ appointment. Sleep apnea increases with age, and is overallÂ more prevalent in men than in women.
The new research turned the focus to women to try andÂ assess how frequent it was, and what risk factorsÂ contributed to the condition. It included 400 women from aÂ random sample of 10,000 women between the ages of 20Â and 70. A questionnaire and sleep exam followed.
A surprising 50% of the women studied had diagnosableÂ sleep apnea. Half! And there were clear indications of whoÂ faced the highest risk. There were links between age,Â obesity, and hypertension: 80% of women with high bloodÂ pressure and 84% of obese women suffered from sleepÂ apnea. So it should remain ignored no longer.
Severe sleep apnea, which is very dangerous to the body,Â was seen in nearly one-third of obese women aged 55-70.Â The researchers reported that this was all a very surprisingÂ finding, and completely eviscerates the notion that sleepÂ apnea is a male problem.
Keep watch for certain symptoms that might suggest sleepÂ apnea. These include excessive daytime sleepiness, veryÂ loud snoring, any signs (noticed by another person) thatÂ your breathing stops in the night, waking up abruptly,Â feeling short of breath, a morning headache, trouble stayingÂ asleep, trouble paying attention during the day, and wakingÂ up with a sore throat or dry mouth.
If you have too many of these symptoms, it’s important toÂ see a doctor. Being deprived of oxygen for multiple periodsÂ in the night can have lasting negative effects, as you mightÂ imagine.