If you’re one of the 75% of women who get hot flashes around the time of menopause, there may be more than just the heat that is affecting your sleep.
According to a North American Menopause Society (NAMS) November 1 online publication of Menopause, severe hot flashes may be putting you at risk for both sleep apnea and some related heart issues.
A study of nearly 1,700 women in and around menopause revealed that roughly 25 percent were at intermediate or high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. They were older, heavier and had higher blood pressure.
The women who had severe hot flashes were almost two times as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea, according to the report.
Night time hot flashes can disrupt sleep, and sleep apnea can result in pauses in breathing or in shallow breathing that prevent adequate oxygen or adequate sleep.
In addition, sleep apnea places a person at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression and early death unless treated.
Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, the executive director of NAMS commented that “sleep disruption is a common complaint at menopause. It is important to recognize the high number of undiagnosed sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.”
It’s important to note that the association between severe hot flashes and the chronic sleep disorder does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
If you’re a person who is tired all the time, wake up with a headache or are awakened from sleep and feel you stopped breathing, particularly if you have severe hot flashes, talk with your healthcare provider about sleep apnea.
Don’t let sleep apnea take your breath away.