A new study examined gender differences in the effects of obstructive sleep apnea. It also evaluated how men and women respond to treatment with CPAP therapy.
The results were published in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
The study involved 152 men and 24 women with OSA. They had an average age of 47 years. They were obese with an average body mass index (BMI) of 38.
Their sleep apnea was severe; they had an average of 64 breathing pauses per hour of sleep. Follow-up testing was conducted after three months of CPAP therapy.
Results show that age, BMI, and sleep apnea severity were similar between men and women. But women had more problems in their daily functioning. They had lower activity levels and less general productivity.
Excessive daytime sleepiness was reported more often by women than men. Women also reported more overall mood disturbances. And their performance was worse on a vigilance test.
The study also found that CPAP use was similar for both genders. And men and women experienced similar benefits. CPAP improved functional status and relieved OSA symptoms.
The authors noted that a referral bias may have contributed to the low number of women in the study. Many people mistakenly think that OSA only affects men. So women may be less likely to be referred to a sleep disorders center for evaluation.
The authors added that the study excluded people over the age of 60. Women with OSA are usually older than men on average.
In September the Sleep Education Blog reported on women and sleep apnea risk. Read how women may be surprised by sleep apnea. Learn about the signs of OSA in women.
Get more information on SleepEducation.com about snoring and sleep apnea in women.Get help for sleep apnea at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.