According to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, middle-aged women with low levels of estrogen and progesterone are more likely to snore and to report symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea is reported be higher in women after menopause. However no population-based study has previously examined whether this is the result of altered sex hormone levels.
In the new study, the researchers analyzed data from 774 women aged 40 to 67years. Women in the study participated in questionnaires on their respiratory health, women's health factors, lifestyle and sleep, and gave blood samples for hormone analysis.
It was observed that 71.2% of the women in the study were told they snored, and 411 of those women also reported other symptoms of sleep apnea. Among all women, a doubling of serum concentrations of estrone was associated with 19% decreased odds of snoring. Also, a doubling of progesterone levels was associated with 9% decreased odds of snoring.
While among snorers, a doubling of the concentrations of three estrogens was associated with 17% to 23% decreased odds of women having been told they breathe irregularly during sleep. A doubling of progesterone concentration, among snorers, was associated with 12% decreased odds of having woken with a choking sensation in the previous year.
The authors concluded that adjusting female sex hormones might be a strategy to decrease the high prevalence and associated morbidity of obstructive sleep apnea.
Reference: Erla S. Sigurðardóttir,Thorarinn Gislason,Bryndis Benediktsdottir,Steinar Hustad,Payam Dadvand,Pascal Demoly,Karl A. Franklin,Joachim Heinrich,Mathias Holm,Diana A. van der Plaat,Rain Jõgi,Benedicte Leynaert,Eva Lindberg,Kai TriebnerPublished: June 22, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0269569.
Dr. Nandita Mohan
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)