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September 10, 2012

Sleep Apnea in Women

A much neglected population of patients in research studies, women, are now being found to have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition defined by cessation of breathing while asleep for 10 seconds or more, 5 times an hour which causes a drop in blood oxygen levels.

Of 400 women, ages 20 to 70, nearly half were found to have sleep apnea. Women with hypertension (high blood pressure), who are obese (BMI >30) and over age 55 are at higher risk for severe sleep apnea, defined as 30 breathing interruptions per hour.

Sleep apnea is tied to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and early death. One recent study also found that women who have sleep apnea are more likely to develop memory problems and dementia.

Identifying sleep apnea in women is especially beneficial because women are generally better at sticking with treatment.

Posted by linda at September 10, 2012 5:53 AM

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