Prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea and obesity among middle-aged women: Implications for exercise capacity

Martinha Millianny Barros de Carvalho, Ricardo Quental Coutinho, Isly Maria L. Barros, Laura O.B.F. Costa, Ana Kelley L. Medeiros, Thais C. Lustosa, Carolina A. Medeiros, Marcus Vinícius França, Tarcya L.G. Couto, Ulisses R. Montarroyos, Virend K. Somers, Rodrigo Pinto Pedrosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: The aim of the current study was to evaluate the association between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and exercise capacity in middle-aged women. Methods: Consecutive middle-aged female subjects without cardiovascular disease, aged 45 to 65 years, from two gynecological clinics underwent detailed clinical evaluation, portable sleep study, and treadmill exercise test. Results: We studied 232 women (age: 55.6 ± 5.2 years; body mass index [BMI]: 28.0 ± 4.8 kg/m2). OSA (apnea-hypopnea index ≥ 5 events/h) was diagnosed in 90 (39%) and obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) in 76 (33%) women, respectively. Participants with OSA were older, had a higher BMI, and an increased frequency of arterial hypertension compared to women without OSA. Multiple logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between OSA and exercise capacity, controlling for traditional risk factors including BMI, age, hypertension, diabetes, and sedentary lifestyle. In multivariate analysis, the presence of obesity without OSA was associated with low exercise capacity (odds ratio [OR] 2.88, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02–8.11, P = .045), whereas the presence of OSA without obesity was not (OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.31–3.69, P = .912). However, the coexistence of obesity and OSA increased markedly the odds of reduction in exercise capacity (OR 9.40, CI 3.79–23.3, P < .001). Conclusions: Obesity and OSA are common conditions in middle-aged women and may interact to reduce exercise capacity. These results highlight the importance of obesity control programs among women, as well as the diagnosis of comorbid OSA in older women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1471-1475
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 15 2018


  • Cardiac stress test
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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