Snoring and sleep apnea: A population study in Italian women

Luigi Ferini-Strambi, Marco Zucconi, Vincenza Castronovo, Paola Garancini, Alessandro Oldani, Salvatore Smirne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing by means of a validated portable instrument (MESAM IV) and to investigate the relationship between snoring and sleep apnea in a sample of Italian middle-aged female population. We randomly chose 750 subjects aged 40 to 65 years and 365 agreed to participate to the study. In this group, 19.7% of subjects were every-night snorers according to the questionnaire; when recorded, 54.2% snored for more than 10% of the night, and 7.1% for more than 50% of the night. Sleep apnea was also common: 10.7% of subjects had a respiratory disturbances per hour (RDI) between 5 and 9, 7.7% an RDI between 10 and 19, and 2.2% had an RDI ≥20. Snoring percentage and RDI were significantly correlated. However, 50% of subjects who snored for more than half the night had no evidence of sleep apnea. Snoring amount >50% resulted influenced by body mass index, while RDI>10 was influenced by neck diameter. We concluded that in middle-aged women, both snoring and sleep apnea are very common. A high percentage of snoring is not essential for the occurrence of sleep apnea, nor it necessarily indicates the presence of sleep apnea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-864
Number of pages6
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Epidemiology
  • Female population
  • Sleep apnea
  • Snoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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