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Sleep complaints, which are very common in the menopause, may have a substantial impact on quality of life, but can be improved by hormone replacement therapy through its beneficial effects on nocturnal hot flushes and sweating, periodic limb movements and bruxism. However, sleep quality may be also affected by sleep breathing disorders, a situation that occurs more frequently in women than in men. The typical breathing disorder is called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, which is characterized by a history of snoring, sleep disordered breathing in the form of short episodes of cessation of respiration, insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep fragmentation and symptoms of restless leg syndrome. It is linked to high morbidity and mortality in both men and women. The disorder was thought to be higher in prevalence in men (4% vs. 2% in men vs. women, respectively [1]), but a new study in the USA has recently shown that 25% of the adult female population is at high risk of having the syndrome [2]. The study analyzed data on 1254 women from the 2007 Sleep in America Poll of the National Sleep Foundation, an annual telephone survey of a representative sample of US adults. The Berlin Questionnaire was used to estimate the risk for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Among the women at high risk, common symptoms such as habitual snoring (61%), observed apneas (7%) and daytime sleepiness (24%) were highly prevalent. The risk increased with age ([i]p[/i] < 0.05), obesity ([i]p[/i] < 0.001) and menopause ([i]p[/i] < 0.001).

Author(s)

  • Joan Tan Garcia
    Philippine Society of Climacteric Medicine, Quezon City, The Philippines

Citations

  1. Redline S, Kump K, Tishler PV, Browner I, Ferrete V. Gender differences in sleep disordered breathing in a community-based sample. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1994;149:722-6.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8118642
  2. Kapsimalis F, Kryger M. Sleep breathing disorders in the US female population. J Womens Health 2009;18:1211-19. Published August 2009.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19627224
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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15893251
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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7846459
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