A recent study shows that sleep apnea may put people, especially women, at risk for heart problems.
The study looked at data on 4,877 people available through UK Biobank. Results showed that for men and women who reported obstructive sleep apnea or snoring, heart imaging revealed an increased thickness in the left ventricular wall, which is the heart’s main pumping chamber.
However, the difference in thickness was greater for women. Reena Mehra, MD, MS, Director of Sleep Disorders Research, did not take part in the research, but says sleep apnea risks do vary between men and women.
“There are known sex-specific differences in obstructive sleep apnea, in terms of risk across the lifespan and symptoms,” Dr. Mehra says. “We know that obstructive sleep apnea is two to five times more common in men than it is in women. But when women become post-menopausal, their risk for obstructive sleep apnea actually increases.”