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Tags: sleep | apnea | women | breathing | cardiac | problems

Women Face Sleep Apnea Risks

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 03:55 PM EST

Doctors have long known sleep apnea raises the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems in men. New research has now found women with the condition are also at risk.
Spanish researchers tracked 1,116 middle-aged women seeking care for obstructive sleep apnea -- a breathing disorder the causes frequent interruptions of sleep – for a seven-year period.
Over the course of the study, they found deaths from heart problems were much more frequent in women who had apnea that was not treated than those who were treated for the condition. In fact, women who were treated for apnea were at no greater risk than those without it.
“The mortality observed among women with severe [apnea] who were treated…was similar to that among women without [apnea],” the researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Lead Researcher Dr. Francisco Campos-Rodriguez, director of the sleep disorders clinic at Valme University Hospital in Seville, said the study indicates apnea may raise a woman’s risk of dying from heart disease as much as 3.5 times.
Treatment for apnea typically involves a so-called “continuous positive airway pressure” (CPAP) device that delivers pressurized air through a mask that the patient wears during sleep. Masks can cost up to several hundred dollars and the machines sell for $120 to $5,000 or more, and are often covered by health insurance.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of a person’s throat fail to keep the airway open, causing a breathing pause that lasts 10 seconds or more. The condition can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. For people with sleep apnea, the combination of disturbed sleep and oxygen starvation may lead to hypertension, heart disease and mood and memory problems.
An estimated 18 million American adults have sleep apnea.

© HealthDay

It's not only men who face heart risks from the night-time breathing disorder, a new study has found.
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 03:55 PM
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