It May Be More Dangerous for Women
Previous studies have linked sleep apnea to heart disease in men, but the risk for women remained unknown for a long time. To assess whether the risks were the same in women and men, the researchers measured the sleep quality of 737 men and 879 women.
None of them had been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study, 6 which lasted 14 years. In addition, troponin T was reviewed in all of them. This protein is a marker of heart damage and elevated levels suggest an increased risk of heart disease.
As it turns out, sleep apnea seems to be much more dangerous for women than for men. Even among women who do not develop heart failure, sleep apnea was associated with cardiac damage, which led to poorer health outcomes.
Obstructive sleep apnea was independently associated with increased troponin T, heart failure and death in women, but not in men. In addition, in women, sleep apnea was related to dilation of the heart, another risk factor for cardiovascular disease.