Severe Hot Flashes Linked to Sleep Apnea
Sleep disturbances are common in menopausal woman – night sweats and hot flashes affect approximately 80 percent of women approaching menopause. But is there a link between hot flashes and related heart risks and serious sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea? A study conducted by researchers from The North American Menopause Society looked at this possible association.
In menopausal women, those who reported severe night sweats had a 1.87 times higher risk for sleep apnea than women reporting mild or no hot flashes. Mayo Clinic questionnaires completed by 1,691 women suggest 24.9 percent are in the intermediate and high-risk categories for obstructive sleep apnea. Most of these women are older and have a higher body mass index (BMI) and higher rates of hypertension.
Sleep apnea is more common in men than women. In women, the condition occurs more often with age and weight gain. About 53 percent of menopausal women who experience sleep disturbances are diagnosed with a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. But women often have different symptoms of sleep apnea than men, making the diagnosis more difficult. Men typically experience loud snoring, while women have insomnia, headaches, fatigue, depression, and anxiety, which could be attributed to menopause or other conditions. An accurate diagnosis is important because sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.