DR. DONALD JOHNSON: Have hot flashes or night sweats?

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Around 80 percent of women who are middle-aged have hot flashes and sweating at night, which researchers have discovered may is some way be associated with increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This information is found in a study published in the journal Menopause.

Women with high blood pressure and obesity (BMI over 30), as well as women of normal weight are at risk. Even though OSA has been thought to be a mens’ health issue, women are also affected. The airway in men is longer than the airway in women. The risk for OSA in women goes up after menopause. This is because after menopause, testosterone dominates estrogen and weight gain is in the abdomen, neck, and tongue. This weight gain in the neck and tongue make the airway smaller and therefore these women are at increased risk for OSA. Fatigue and snoring, as well as headaches and depression, are common in women with OSA.

Researchers reported that even two years after their clinical consultation with these women who reported having hot flashes and night sweats, 65 percent of that group of women who showed the increased risk of OSA were still undiagnosed. The consequences of this are devastating; they even include dementia and early death among other things.

The study found that better screening tools need to be implemented for women with night sweats and hot flashes to help detect these serious health issues, such as OSA, sooner and get the patients treatment sooner. OSA only gets worse with age!

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Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help patients stop their snoring and live free with no limits! Obstructive sleep apnea is usually able to be treated with a small oral appliance. Dr. Johnson’s office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco. The website for more information is www.NWSleepDoc.com and the office phone is 208-667-4551. Schedule a free consultation appointment today!

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