Common indicators of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) include snoring, daytime fatigue, and physical signs of apnoeic episodes such as choking or gasping during sleep. Most of which have been observed in male studies.
Recent reports have found that females show fewer symptoms of daytime sleepiness or fatigue and instead they generally will experience other symptoms such as insomnia, restless legs, depression, and hypertension1
We're realising that OSA is just as common in females as it is in males, and as the symptoms in women appear differently, lack of awareness can often lead to many females being undiagnosed.
Characteristics of women with OSA;
- Generally take longer to fall asleep
- Suffer from restless legs syndrome or hypertension
- Experience more flow limitations and arousals throughout the night
- Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) is lower, with more apneas occurring during REM sleep
In addition, research indicates that women can become more susceptible to sleep disordered breathing during pregnancy and post-menopause due to hormonal changes2