February 18, 2014
1 min read

Men with fibromyalgia experienced greater sleep respiratory disorders than women

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Men with fibromyalgia experienced more alterations in sleep respiratory patterns compared with women with the condition, according to study results.

Researchers in Spain conducted interviews with 40 patients (mean age, 48 years; 55% women) with fibromyalgia (FM). BMI was measured, and patients completed questionnaires on pain, sleep, fatigue, depression, anxiety and functional impact. A full-night polysomnography study at home was conducted for all patients.

More men than women (61% vs. 31.8%) experienced an apnea-hypopnea index greater than 15. Desaturation indices greater than 5 were twice as common in men than women. Poorer sleep quality (16.05 ± 2.92% vs. 13.08 ± 3.88%; P=.01) and slow wave sleep (stage 3 duration, 9.02 ± 7.84% vs. 14.44 ± 7.32%; P=.03) also were experienced more often by men.

BMI, pain, emotional distress or daily functional levels were not significantly different between sexes. “However, pain in men, fatigue in women and functional impact in both sexes seemed to be related to worse sleep quality,” the researchers said.

Less total sleep time was related to higher emotional distress in women (anxiety: r=–0.517, P<.05; and depression: r=–0.556, P<.01), as did length of rapid eye movement sleep (fatigue: r=–0.466 and anxiety: r=–0.424, P<.05).

“More so in male FM patients, the alterations in sleep patterns, nonrefreshing sleep and other FM-related symptoms … might be part of a primary sleep-disordered breathing,” the researchers wrote. “Further research is necessary… to explore how treatment of [sleep-disordered breathing] could improve the clinical picture, psychological status and quality of life in FM patients.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.