A recent study in Sweden shows that close to 50% of all the women tested had some type of sleep apnea ranging from mild cases to very severe. Scientists in Sweden monitored over 400 adult females’ patterns of sleep overnight. The researchers concluded that 50% of the women experienced at least five different episodes of sleep apnea per hour. Sleep apnea is defined when an individual stops breathing for at least 10 seconds while sleeping.
The percentage of women who experience sleep apnea increases for those who are obese or suffer from hypertension. Both are risk factors for the disorder. The percentage for women who experience sleep apnea and suffer from either obesity or hypertension is as high as 84%.
Dr. Karl Franklin, the lead author in the recent study, said it is not known by medical experts how important having sleep apnea is. A number of doctors tell patients that even a small case of sleep apnea needs to be monitored because often times is will not stop, but rather it will worsen. Experts have tied sleep apnea to a higher risk of stroke, early death and heart attacks.
Scientists in the recent study of 400 women between 20 and 70 years of age, asked the women to sleep in their homes while sensors attached to their body measure different things. The sensors measured leg movement, eye movement, blood oxygen level, heart rate, airflow, heart rate and brain waves.
The results of the study showed that in women between 20 and 44, 25 % experienced sleep apnea, in women who were 45 to 54 years of age 56% experienced sleep apnea and in women who were 55 to 70 years of age 75% experienced sleep apnea.