Sleep Apnea Raises Heart Health Risks in Women
Sleep apnea is generally considered to be a man’s problem, but new Spanish research shows that women are just as vulnerable to the adverse heart effects of the condition as men. According to HealthDay News, the study from Valme University Hospital in Seville is one of the first sleep apnea research efforts focused on women.
“Women with untreated severe obstructive sleep apnea have a three-and-a-half fold increase in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to women without [it],” said lead researcher Francisco Campos-Rodriguez.
Although the disorder affects far more men than women, it is estimated that up to three percent of middle-aged women suffer from sleep apnea. Symptoms include snoring and daytime sleepiness, and effects of the condition can lead to heart attacks and other adverse cardiovascular events.
Researchers came to their conclusions by testing more than 1,000 middle-aged women for sleep apnea by sending them to sleep medicine clinics. They were divided into mild-to-moderate or severe groups, and those who were found not to have the condition served as the control group. Researchers followed the women for more than seven year, in which time four percent had died of cardiovascular problems and three percent passed away from other causes.