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Sleep Med Rev. 2008 Dec;12(6):481-96. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2007.11.003. Epub 2008 Oct 31.

Gender differences in obstructive sleep apnea and treatment implications.

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Department of Surgery, San Diego School of Medicine, University of California, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0617, USA.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common cause of daytime sleepiness for millions of Americans. It is also a disease associated with an increased likelihood of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, daytime sleepiness, motor vehicle accidents, and diminished quality of life. A number of population-based studies have shown that OSA is more common in men than in women and this discrepancy is often evident in the clinical setting. There are a number of pathophysiological differences to suggest why men are more prone to the disease than women. Although the exact mechanisms are unknown, differences in obesity, upper airway anatomy, breathing control, hormones, and aging are all thought to play a role. The purpose of this review was to examine the literature on gender differences in OSA and to analyze whether or not these differences in pathogenic mechanisms affect diagnosis or treatment.

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