Snoring And Apnoea Blog

A New Study Finds A Link Between Menopause And Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Posted on Thu, Feb 22, 2018

upset-2681502_960_720 (1).jpgIf you’re like most women who are going through menopausal stages, it’s time to stop thinking that your sleeping problems are due to hormonal changes. Experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, and short-term memory can be signs of something more serious than menopause. There’s a probability that you’re probably experiencing obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

A study published by the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has revealed the connection between menopause and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). As women continue to age, gain weight and reach perimenopausal and postmenopausal status, the possibility of having OSA also increases. During the study, NAMS found out that 53% of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who are experiencing sleeping problems are revealed to be having OSA. In fact, perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who are experiencing severe hot flashes have 1.87 times higher risk for OSA than women who are experiencing mild or no hot flashes at all.

Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS Executive Director said that sleep disruption is a very common complaint during menopausal stages. Early morning headaches or excessive daytime sleepiness should not be taken lightly and raise concern for obstructive sleep apnoea and signal a possible need for sleep apnoea testing.

The symptoms of OSA in women are different than the obvious symptoms men encounter like loud snoring. Women often experience headaches, insomnia, hot flashes, fatigue, depression, and anxiety, which makes it more challenging to diagnose OSA in women.

The risk of sleep disorders like OSA are endless; heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, death and more. But it can also make a great impact on your daily life and it includes:

  • Waking unrefreshed,
  • Daytime sleepiness,
  • Poor concentration,
  • Weight gain,
  • Reduced libido,
  • Frequent nighttime urination,
  • Acid reflux,
  • Higher chance of car accidents,
  • Weakened immune system, and
  • Damage to business and personal relationships.

So, if you think that your menopausal symptoms may actually cause by sleep disorders like OSA, it’s important to do something about it. Speak to your doctor or your local GP as soon as possible or you can complete an online Sleep Self-Assessment Questionnaire to learn more about your sleep health.

Tags: obstructive sleep apnoea, menopause

OSA - What Is It?

Posted on Thu, Mar 03, 2011

OSA stands for obstructive sleep apnoea, or obstructive sleep apnea, depending on which part of the world you come from.

OSA is one of a constellation of disorders referred to generally as 'sleep disordered breathing'.

As the names suggest, OSA and sleep disordered breathing relate to conditions where the sufferer's airway is compromised during sleep.  Milder (but still serious) forms of sleep disordered breathing, such as snoring, allow the sufferer to breathe while asleep.  That said, the noise of snoring is a loud signal that the airway is constricted and consequently the airflow is not natural and effortless.

Think of it this way:  If you saw someone who was wide awake, but they were breathing like a snorer, you'd be worried about them and concerned for their health.  Yet when we see a person snoring and thus exhibiting the same laboured breathing while asleep, we tend to think of it as normal.  The truth is, snoring and other forms of sleep disordered breathing are very common, but they are certainly not normal or healthy.

OSA is a more severe form of sleep disordered breathing.  In patients suffering from OSA, the tissue of the soft palate (i.e., the soft part of the roof of the mouth), the uvula (the droopy flap of tissue at the back of the soft palate), the tongue and the pharyngeal walls (i.e., the airway above the windpipe or trachea, where there is no rigid structure to hold the airway open) tend to collapse into the upper airway, preventing inhalation. 

Patients with OSA are frequently unaware of the existence of their condition, because they are asleep while it is happening.  Often the first notice they get of the condition is when their sleeping partner nudges them awake to get them breathing again.  Diagnostic sleep studies (polysomnograms) are used to monitor and record exactly what happens while the patient is asleep and to determine the degree of severity of any OSA. 

OSA does not typically self-resolve, meanining some form of treatment or intervention will be required.  Treatment of mild OSA is commonly done via oral appliance therapy, which involves the custom fitting of dental devices which typically hold the lower jaw and connected tissue clear of the airway.  In more severe cases of OSA, the best treatment is continous positive airway pressurisation (CPAP).  CPAP works by feeding gently pressurised air into the patient's airway, to create an 'air splint' which holds the walls of the upper airway apart. 

Common consequences and co-morbidities associated with OSA include hypertension, gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GERD, or acid reflux), ischemic heart disease, depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, loss of libido and impotence ... plus much more. 

OSA should be treated, not tolerated.  The numerous negative consequences can be avoided or more successfully treated once the OSA has been resolved. 

Tags: obstructive sleep apnoea, obstructive sleep apnea, OSA