Stockholm: Women suffer from high rates of sleep apnoea, a condition marked by frequent pauses in breathing during sleep, despite the disorder being linked predominantly with males.
The study from Uppsala and Umea Universities also suggest that women with hypertension and/or obesity were more likely to experience sleep apnoea.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) increases with age and it is considered more prevalent in men than in women, the European Respiratory Journal reports.
The study analysed 400 women from a random sample of 10,000 women. The participants answered a questionnaire and underwent a sleep examination, according to an Uppsala statement.
The results found that OSA was present in 50 percent of women aged 20 years. Researchers also found links between age, obesity and hypertension: eighty percent of women with hypertension and 84 percent of obese women suffered from sleep apnoea.
Additionally, severe sleep apnoea was present in 31 percent of obese women aged 55-70 years old.
Karl Franklin, professor at Umea, who led the study, said: "We were very surprised to find such a high occurrence of sleep apnoea in women, as it is traditionally thought of as a male disorder."