Male. Middle-aged. Obese. Snores loudly and frequently. Bedpartner notices pauses in breathing during sleep. That is the typical description of a person who has obstructive sleep apnea.
But don’t be mistaken: Women have sleep apnea too.
Do women have different symptoms than men? A new study takes a look. It compared 20 women with 71 men who were all admitted to a sleep clinic.
The average age, body mass index and blood pressure were similar between men and women. They also reported a similar level of daytime sleepiness.
Snoring was the most common symptom in both men and women. It was reported by 95 percent of the men and 90 percent of the women.
Women were more likely than men to report morning headaches. They were less likely to have dry mouth in the morning. Women also were more likely to have depression or hypothyroidism.
The results support a previous study in the journal Sleep. That study also found that women with sleep apnea were more likely to complain about insomnia.
Sleep apnea is more common in women who are menopausal or postmenopausal. Having a neck size of 16 inches or more also increases a woman’s risk for sleep apnea.
View a list of warning signs for sleep apnea. Find out if you are at risk for sleep apnea.