What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
It is the most common sleep-related breathing disorder. The most common and intrusive symptom of this condition is snoring. This occurs when the muscles in the throat relax during sleep and cause blocked/impaired breathing.
Who cares? This doesn’t sound so bad
OSA is not to be taken lightly. OSA in both men and women has been linked to increased development of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, OSA in women has been linked to more depressive symptoms (likely due to the lack of high quality sleep) and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Hm. Why is this happening?
Overall, the occurrence of OSA in women prior to perimenopause or menopause is lower than in men. However, the occurrence increases during the hormonal changes associated with the perimenopausal and menopausal times. This occurs since women tend to gain weight during this time due to the hormonal fluctuations.
What can I do?
Firstly, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial. OSA occurs more frequently in those who are overweight. In addition, having a regular exercise routine can also help. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy can be prescribed once you’re diagnosed with OSA. This includes a machine with a mask to be worn over the nose and mouth, which delivers positive pressure during sleep to help with breathing during this time.
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-Written by Paavana Varanasi