According to a new study published by the North American Menopause Society, menopausal women who suffer from severe hot flashes may also be at greater risk for sleep apnea. This is concerning because sleep apnea has been linked to increased risk for cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing or shallow breathing that can affect sleep quality.
The study looked at approximately 1,700 middle-aged women. Of these women, around 25 percent were at an intermediate or high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Factors that are considered to align with risk for sleep apnea include high blood pressure, older age, and higher levels of body fat.
During the study, women who reported severe hot flashes were almost twice as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea when compared with women who had no hot flashes or only mild hot flashes.
JoAnn Pinkerton, the executive director of the North American Menopause Society, stated that sleep disruption is a common complaint among menopausal women, and that many sleep disorders are undiagnosed.
It is important to note that while an association was found between severe hot flashes and sleep disorders, it did not prove that there was a cause and effect relationship. Patients should watch for symptoms such as excessive daytime fatigue or headaches upon waking, which could be signs of sleep apnea.
Some new parents feel guilty about asking for help in the weeks after bringing home a new baby. Yet in dealing with the pain, exhaustion, and hormonal shifts, no new mom (or dad) should be ashamed of accepting assistance from family and friends. In fact, medical professionals recommend that new parents accept all of the help that they can.
Connecting With Loved Ones
With your new baby around, you will likely have a lot of loved ones offering to spend time with the baby while you rest, clean, or take a shower. Some may want to drop off meals. Whenever possible, accept this help from people that you trust. You have suddenly found yourself with less energy and a more demanding lifestyle, and these offers can make a big difference.
Feeling guilt about taking some time away from your baby to shower or rest is normal. Realize that you are a better parent when your own needs are taken care of. As long as you are leaving your baby in the hands of someone you trust, there is no reason to feel guilty. In fact, getting quality time with other family members or friends can be good for your baby.
Expanding Your Search
If you are not lucky enough to have loved ones offering their help, you can find some of your own your area by asking around for recommendations or by utilizing websites that provide profiles and locations of caregivers complete with references, background checks, and reviews. If you find yourself desperate for a nap or some time away, take advantage of any resources you can find.
You may also want to consider joining an online forum specifically for new parents in your area. Many bigger cities or metro areas have forums where likeminded parents can meet, ask each other questions, and find support from other parents with children of all ages.
No matter how you take advantage of help and support after bringing your newborn home, trust that these actions are helping to improve both your mental and physical health. If you are concerned about your stress levels or emotions after having a baby, be sure to talk to your doctor.