Saturday, June 25, 2022

Hormones linked to sleep apnea and snoring in postmenopausal women – study

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Hormones may be linked to breathing problems during sleep and snoring in postmenopausal women, new research suggests.

According to the study, middle-aged women with low levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are more likely to snore and report obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) symptoms more often.

Researchers suggest that adjusting female sex hormones could be a way to reduce the high prevalence of the condition.

The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea — in which breathing stops and starts during sleep — is known to be higher in postmenopausal women.

However, no study has yet investigated whether this is due to altered sex hormone levels.

The study authors say: “Female sex hormones are crucial for health and disease, and especially after the menopause the hormone status should be considered in order to develop holistic treatment strategies.”

They conclude, “Middle-aged women with low serum estrogen and progesterone levels are more likely to experience symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.”

In the new study, the researchers analyzed data from 774 women aged 40 to 67 from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey conducted in seven countries between 2010 and 2012.

They had answered questionnaires on respiratory health, women’s health determinants, lifestyle and sleep, and provided blood samples for hormone analysis.

Of the sample, 551 (71.2%) were reported to have snored, and 411 of these women also reported other symptoms of sleep apnea.

In all women, a doubling of the concentration of the hormone estrone was associated with a 19% reduction in the likelihood of snoring.

While a doubling in progesterone levels was associated with a 9% reduced likelihood of snoring, the study found.

In snorers, a doubling of levels of three estrogens was associated with a 17% to 23% reduced likelihood of women being told they were breathing irregularly during sleep.

The study also found that doubling progesterone levels in snorers was associated with a 12% reduced likelihood of waking up feeling suffocated in the previous year.

Researchers say more studies are needed to confirm the results published in the PLoS One journal.

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