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Asthma tied to sleep apnea in women

Fri Sep 1, 2006

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Asthma appears to almost double the risk of symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in young mothers, Ohio-based researchers report.

"In a large population-based cohort of young women, we found that women with asthma are twice as likely to have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea as compared to women without asthma," lead investigator Dr. Maninder Kalra told Reuters Health.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which the tissues at the back of the throat temporarily collapse, causing a brief pause in breathing until the brain rouses the person from deep sleep. This can happen dozens of times during the night and often leads to poor sleep quality and daytime drowsiness.

Snoring is an indicator of sleep apnea.

Dr. Kalra, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues studied 677 women with an average age of about 30 years.

In all, more than half of the women reported that they never snored, but 231 (34 percent) reported snoring at least 1 night per week, and 85 (13 percent) reported snoring "almost always."

The 122 black women in the cohort were significantly more likely than whites and others to be snorers. Non-asthmatic smokers were also at increased risk for snoring.

In addition, women diagnosed with asthma and currently having symptoms were almost twice as likely to snore.

Sleep apnea has been linked to heart disease and other serious health problems.

"Knowledge that asthma is associated with increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea has the potential of translating into reduced morbidity due to obstructive sleep apnea, by allowing early diagnosis and treatment," concluded Kalra.

SOURCE: Annals of Allergy Asthma and Immunology August 2006.


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