How does the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) vary by sex?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Himanshu Wickramasinghe, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

The male-to-female ratio in community-based studies is 2-3:1. [31, 38] Androgenic patterns of body fat distribution (deposition in the trunk, including the neck area) predispose men to OSA. In general, sex hormones may affect neurologic control of UA-dilating muscles and ventilation.

In population studies that have examined the incidence of OSA, women were not only less likely than men to have OSA but also less likely to be diagnosed early in the disease process. Survival rates are lower for women than for men, after an OSA diagnosis has been established by PSG, presumably due to the delayed OSA diagnosis.


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