Menopausal status and sleep-disordered breathing in the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study

Terry Young, Laurel Finn, Diane Austin, Andrea Peterson
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2003 May 1, 167 (9): 1181-5
Menopause is considered to be a risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing, but this hypothesis has not been adequately tested. The association of premenopause, perimenopause, and postmenopause with sleep-disordered breathing was investigated with a population-based sample of 589 women enrolled in the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study. Menopausal status was determined from menstrual history, gynecologic surgery, hormone replacement therapy, follicle-stimulating hormone, and vasomotor symptoms. Sleep-disordered breathing was indicated by the frequency of apnea and hypopnea events per hour of sleep, measured by in-laboratory polysomnography. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for having 5 or more and 15 or more apnea and hypopnea events per hour. Odds ratios (95% confidence interval), adjusted for age, body habitus, smoking, and other potential confounding factors, for 5 or more apnea and hypopnea events per hour were 1.2 (0.7, 2.2) with perimenopause and 2.6 (1.4, 4.8) with postmenopause; odds ratios for 15 or more apnea and hypopnea events per hour were 1.1 (0.5, 2.2) with perimenopause and 3.5 (1.4, 8.8) with postmenopause. The menopausal transition is significantly associated with an increased likelihood of having sleep-disordered breathing, independent of known confounding factors. Evaluation for sleep-disordered breathing should be a priority for menopausal women with complaints of snoring, daytime sleepiness, or unsatisfactory sleep.

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