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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are men or women more prone to sleep apnea? If so why?

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  • The Sleep Health Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of ‘valuing sleep’ as part of a healthy lifestyle alongside regular exercise, a ... View Profile

    Men are often thought to get snoring and sleep apnea more commonly than women, but after the menopause, rates of sleep apnea in men and women are similar. 
     
    It has been shown that testosterone, a hormone that is much higher in men than women, increases sleep apnea. Also, for women, after the menopause, loss of oestrogen and progesterone, leads to tissue in the upper airway tending to be more floppy, so that it is more prone to narrowing whilst breathing in leading to snoring and sleep apnea. 
     
    It is also fair to say that the stereotype of sleep apnea is of overweight, middle-aged men, so this pattern may be recognised more often, particularly when there is loud snoring. Sleep apnea can present more subtle ways in women with restlessness during sleep and waking feeling tired, so may not be as readily recognised and therefore not diagnosed as often.  
     
    For more information on sleep apnoea click here.
     

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