Monday, April 19, 2010

Sleep Disturbances and Quality of Life

A new study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine gives insight into how sleep disorders can affect people’s quality of life (QOL). The researchers compared sleep’s impact on QOL between three racial/ethnic groups.

The participants were part of the Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS). They included more than 5,000 men and women. Five percent of the people were Hispanic, nine percent were African American/Black and 86 percent were Caucasian/White. The participants were all at least 40-years-old.

Each person took a sleep study and the SF-36. The SF-36 is a short questionnaire from the Medical Outcomes Study. It measures QOL by examining aspects of physical and mental wellness. The test is self-reported. Some healthcare providers use the SF-36 to assess care outcomes in adult patients.

United Press International explains that the participants had a high rate of sleep problems. Forty-six percent had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 34 percent frequent snoring, 30 percent insomnia symptoms and 25 percent excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

There were no significant differences involving OSA by race. But there were some differences between the races.

African Americans with frequent snoring, insomnia, and EDS reported lower physical QOL. In contrast, Hispanics with frequent snoring, insomnia and EDS reported lower mental QOL.

The researchers explained that this study helped determine norms for physical and mental QOL in people suffering from sleep disorders. This set of norms can help doctors gauge the impact of sleep disorders on their patients.

Earlier this month, the Official Blog of the AADSM reported more results from the SHHS. The research found that men with sleep apnea were twice as likely as men without sleep apnea to have a stroke. This risk increased with OSA severity. Men with moderate to severe sleep apnea were nearly three times more likely to have a stroke than men without sleep apnea or with mild OSA.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.