Sleep apnea, which causes pauses in people’s breathing during the night, is usually associated with snoring middle-aged men.
But women experience it, too, and may suffer from poorer heart health than men, according to a recent study in the journal Circulation. “The sleep apnea in and of itself … seems to have a stronger influence on women than men,” says Dr. Amil Shah, an author of the paper and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. .
The impacts of sleep apnea on men and women
Both men and women who had obstructive sleep apnea had higher troponin T levels—a marker in the blood that indicates heart injury—larger, thicker hearts, and heart failure. But when the researchers controlled for other diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, only women experienced high troponin T levels, heart failure, and thicker hearts.
“This finding is novel in terms of the implication being that sleep apnea potentially has a more serious independent effect in women than men,” says Shah. “It is important to look for sleep apnea in women and it is important to treat it.”
Differences between men and women
Shah stresses that there is an association between sleep apnea and troponin T levels, heart failure, and thicker hearts in women; it is not a causal relationship.
Lee & Milani Family Dentistry focuses on the treatment of patients with sleep disordered breathing problems. Dr. Lee knows how a lack of sleep can be detrimental to a person’s health and happiness. If you feel like you may suffer from sleep apnea, schedule an appoint with Lee & Milani Family Dentistry today.
Milani Dental focuses on the treatment of patients with sleep disordered breathing problems.