Women, listen up. Men are not the only ones whose disruptive snoring may signal obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Virend Somers, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says 1 in 10 middle-aged women have obstructive sleep apnea; whereas, 1 in 4 middle-aged men have it. And women who are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea may be at increased risk of developing heart-related issues.
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"The vast majority of apneic patients tend to be men. And, so, the research in sleep apnea has focused primarily on men because there's more of them," says Dr. Somers.
Now that research shows women may be at increased risk. The question is why.
"When sleep apnea occurs in a woman, it's more likely to occur after menopause. So, remember, after menopause, you lose the protective hormonal effect," says Dr. Somers.
Some postmenopausal women may also put on weight, and the combination may raise risk. Dr. Somers says talk to your health care provider if you think you might have obstructive sleep apnea.