Sleep apnea has been linked to many health problems and consequences, including high blood pressure, fatigue, and – as it was recently found – brain damage.
The study looked at 400 women from a random sample of 10,000 women who underwent sleep tests and filled out questionnaires.
Sleep apnea was found in 50 percent of the women, and the researchers also found a link between age, hypertension, and obesity. They uncovered that overweight women and women with hypertension were more likely to develop sleep apnea. In fact, 80 percent of women with hypertension and 84 percent of overweight women had sleep apnea. Sleep apnea was also worse in overweight women aged 55 to 70 years.
Lead author Dr Karl Franklin said, “We were very surprised to find such a high occurrence of sleep apnea in women, as it is traditionally thought of as a male disorder. These findings suggest that clinicians should be particularly aware of the association between sleep apnea and obesity and hypertension, in order to identify patients who could also be suffering from the sleeping disorder.”