Monday, August 9, 2010

Study Examines Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea in Young Europeans

A new study in the journal Sleep and Breathing investigated the risk factors for OSA in young people living in Brussels, Belgium.

The study included 121 patients. Medical data was collected from patients under 40 years of age who were referred by a physician for an overnight sleep test between 2007 and 2009. Researchers then assessed their shared characteristics.

The group included 17 women and 104 men. It was 55 percent Caucasian and 42 percent African.

OSA severity is determined by how many times a person stops breathing per hour of sleep. This number is called the AHI. A sleep test determines this rate. An AHI of 30 or more indicates severe sleep apnea.

The median AHI of this group was 39 in men and 23 in women. The median AHI was 30 in Caucasians and 39 in Africans.

Body mass index (BMI) positively correlated to AHI. BMI is a common factor for OSA because excess weight increases OSA risk.

In patients less than 40 years of age with OSA, disease severity was associated with high BMI, large neck circumference, male sex, and African origin. African origin, smoking, and neck circumference predicted AHI, independently of BMI.

Upper-airway abnormalities did not predict AHI. Facial abnormalities can be a factor in OSA patients, especially in people with Down syndrome.

The researchers also looked at other diseases experienced by OSA patients. They found that the following diseases were common with the patients.

• High blood cholesterol – 27 percent
• Hypertension – 20 percent
• Diabetes - 13 percent
• Depression - 13 percent
• Reflux and gastric ulcer - 13 percent
• Asthma – 9 percent
• Allergies – 8 percent
• Hypothyroidism - 5 percent

OSA is a serious medical condition that requires treatment. You can get tested for sleep apnea at an accredited sleep center.

Image by Gregory Melle

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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.