Women’s Risk of Sleep Apnea Increases at Menopause
One common risk factor for sleep apnea is being a man. This leads to people thinking of sleep apnea as a man’s condition, especially a condition that affects older, overweight men. Nonetheless, people of any age, sex, or weight can have sleep apnea. Women can develop sleep apnea, and for them, as for men, the risk increases with age.
In particular, the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study showed that menopausal women were 3.5 times as likely to have moderate or severe sleep apnea than premenopausal women.
Later research showed that this risk increased with every year following menopause. A 2017 study said that the number of pauses in breathing increased for women by about 4% for each year in menopause.
These studies demonstrated that it was critical for doctors to rigorously screen women for sleep apnea, especially when they reported snoring, daytime sleepiness, or waking up unrested.