Sleep apnea: Diet high in antioxidants can help reduce symptoms among women

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New Delhi: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is often underestimated in women, leading to detrimental consequences if left untreated. Research shows that OSA is an independent risk factor for hypertension and other cardiovascular disease such as stroke and myocardial infarction. It has also been reported to play a role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and Type II diabetes.

In addition to these effects, the excessive daytime sleepiness associated with OSA has been implicated in motor vehicle accidents and a general decrease in quality of life.

Dr Shruti Sharma, ENT Apollo Spectra Mumbai, said, “Women with OSA are at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, hormonal imbalances, and mental health issues compared to men. Women do not show the “classic” symptomotology and thus may be under diagnosed.”

Women often undiagnosed for sleep apnea

Women presenting with fatigue, daytime sleepiness, palpitations may be overlooked or misdiagnosed with depression or other illness delaying necessary intervention. Women are more reluctant than men to complain of snoring, a symptom some think masculine and most think “unlady like.”

Prompt identification and treatment of OSA in women can tremendously improve their quality of life and overall health outcomes. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy not only alleviates symptoms but also reduces the risk of cardiovascular complications associated with untreated OSA. By raising awareness about the unique presentation of OSA in women and advocating for early intervention, experts can ensure better health outcomes for female patients struggling with this underdiagnosed condition.


Women with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often struggle to find effective lifestyle changes to manage their condition. In addition to using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, implementing dietary modifications can have a significant impact on improving symptoms.

“A diet high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can help reduce inflammation and support overall health for women with OSA. Regular exercise is another crucial lifestyle change that can benefit women with OSA. Engaging in physical activity not only helps with weight management but also strengthens the muscles involved in breathing, potentially reducing the severity of sleep apnea episodes,” added Dr Sharma.

By combining healthy eating habits and regular exercise, women with OSA can improve their quality of life and minimise the negative effects of this sleep disorder on their overall well-being.

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