What causes sleep apnea in menopause?

Updated: Jan 30, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Ana Hategan, MD, FRCPC  more...
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Answer

Answer

Rates of sleep apnea increase with age, rising from 6.5% in women aged 30–39 years to 16% in women aged 50–60 years. The pathophysiology is not known, but theories include a relation to postmenopausal weight gain or to decreased progesterone levels (because progesterone stimulates respiration). [17, 18] Besides undergoing changes in estrogen and progesterone levels, postmenopausal women experience declines in levels of melatonin and growth hormone, both of which have effects on sleep. [19]


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