Sleep apnea is a brief cessation of breathing during sleep that is caused by a narrowing or collapse of throat tissues. The condition hits men more often, but many women suffer from it, too, especially as we age.
One study found that women over 60 have roughly 10 times the risk for sleep apnea as women under 45. The hormone changes that come with menopause also increase a woman’s risk for sleep apnea — one more reason I endorse the use of bioidentical hormones.
Hormones are critical to the functioning of all bodily systems, and this includes your airway, which temporarily closes in patients with sleep apnea. Muscle aches and pains, urinary changes, mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats are all examples of menopausal symptoms that can also disrupt sleep.
In some cases, losing weight may cure your sleep apnea. Put another way, if your weight is giving you sleep apnea, you have a compelling medical need to get to a healthy weight.
Increased risk of automobile accidents, heart disease, and diabetes have all been tied to sleep apnea.
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