A new research study recently released indicates gender differences in risk factors related to sleep apnea. The New York Times (10/20, D6, Bakalar) “Well” blog reports on a Circulation-published study by a group of Epidemiologists who examined sleep disorders and heart risk factors. The study looked at gender differences in the likelihood of the development of cardiovascular complications by measuring such things as troponin T, a protein that is released into the bloodstream when there is damage to the heart.
The study followed 752 men and 893 women over the course of 14 years and measured the incidence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) against incidents of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and death from cardiovascular disease. The study found that OSA was independently associated with increased levels of troponin T, heart failure and incidents of death in women. This was not the case with men. Also, sleep apnea was found to be associated with an enlarged heart in women.