Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Half of women in study have sleep apnea

According to a European Respiratory Journal study of 400 Swedish women, half given overnight sleep tests had mild-to-severe sleep apnea. Half experienced at least five episodes an hour when they stopped breathing for longer than 10 seconds, the minimum definition of sleep apnea. Among women with hypertension or who were obese - two risk factors for sleep apnea - the numbers were even higher, reaching 80 to 84 percent of women.

Sleep apnea is tied to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and early death. Among women aged 20-44, one quarter had sleep apnea, compared to 56 percent of women aged 45-54 and 75 percent of women aged 55-70.

Sleep apnea is often thought of as a condition of men, but identifying women with it is important because experts believe prejudice of excluding women (as potentially having sleep apnea) has been rampant for a long time.

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