Most of the research on sleep apnea to date has concentrated solely on those with the ‘Y’ chromosome, telling of males who have trouble breathing while they sleep and suffering from heart attacks because of their severe sleep apnea. That said, new information shows that women’s health can also be severely affected by sleep apnea.
Several studies have shown that men are more likely to develop sleep apnea than women; however there are still about 3 percent of middle-aged women that suffer from this sleep disorder. This may not seem like many; however, the consequences can be great. A recent study conducted by Valme University Hospital in Seville shows that sleep apnea increases the risks of death from heart attacks and cardiovascular problems in women as well as it does for men.
The study lasted for a span of 88 months and observed 1,116 middle-aged women that were suspected to have sleep apnea. Those who were found to have no symptoms of sleep apnea were used as a control, and the rest were grouped depending on the severity of their cases. At the end of the study, it was shown that women with untreated sleep apnea were at a three-and-a-half times higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular problems than those without it or those who were able to have sleep apnea treatment.
Out of the 1,116 women who participated in this sleep study, 41 died of cardiovascular complications. Deaths were much more frequent in those who suffered from untreated sleep apnea than those who had experienced treatment. Of the 41 women, 18 of the sleep apnea sufferers were untreated, and 8 still experienced cardiovascular problems despite treatment.
Women Are at Risk as Well as Men
Despite what you might hear, men are not the only gender at risk for heart problems due to severe sleep apnea. This means that women as well as men should seek treatment for their sleep apnea if they have been positively diagnosed.
If you are a woman suffering from sleep apnea symptoms such as fatigue, daytime drowsiness and a sudden lack of energy, contact Dr. Berry online or call (303) 691-0267 today at his office to learn more about sleep apnea and work towards a diagnosis and a treatment.