Original Article

Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 317-322

First online:

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in a Caribbean sample

  • Ferdinand ZiziAffiliated withBrooklyn Center for Health Disparities, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical CenterSleep Disorders Center, Department of Neurology, SUNY Downstate Medical CenterDepartment of Ophthalmology, SUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklyn Research Foundation on Minority Health, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center
  • , Girardin Jean-LouisAffiliated withBrooklyn Center for Health Disparities, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical CenterSleep Disorders Center, Department of Neurology, SUNY Downstate Medical CenterDepartment of Ophthalmology, SUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklyn Research Foundation on Minority Health, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center Email author 
  • , Sonalis FernandezAffiliated withBrooklyn Center for Health Disparities, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • , Hans von GizyckiAffiliated withDepartment of Scientific Computing, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • , Jason M. LazarAffiliated withBrooklyn Center for Health Disparities, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • , Joao NunesAffiliated withBrooklyn Research Foundation on Minority Health, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical CenterSophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City College New York
  • , Clinton D. BrownAffiliated withBrooklyn Center for Health Disparities, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

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Abstract

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a prevalent sleep disorder that disproportionately affects blacks. While clinical and epidemiologic data indicate intraethnic differences in several medical diseases, little is known about whether OSA symptoms differ within the black ethnic group. We estimated the rate of OSA symptoms in a community-based sample of Caribbean-born black men and women. We also ascertained which sociodemographic and/or medical factors were associated with OSA risk. A total of 554 patients (mean age = 48.17 ± 16.75 years) participated in the study; 55% were women. Data were collected in four primary-care clinics in Brooklyn, NY. A health educator explained the purpose of the study to interested patients and assisted consenting participants in completing questionnaires, which required 15 min to complete. Participants reporting habitual snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and sleep fragmentation were considered at high OSA risk. The rate of OSA symptoms was: snoring (45%), excessive daytime sleepiness (33%), and difficulty maintaining sleep (34%). Many reported falling asleep while watching television (47%) or while driving (14%). Based on logistic regression analysis, a history of heart disease was the most important predictor of the likelihood of expressing OSA symptoms, with a corresponding multivariate-adjusted odds ratio of 11 (95% confidence interval = 3.03–40.63). Findings suggest the need to investigate whether Caribbean-born blacks are at greater risk for developing OSA than African Americans and whites. Caribbean-born blacks with a history of heart disease should be a prime target for interventions that promote adequate screening and timely OSA diagnosis.

Keywords

Sleep apnea Snoring Sleepiness Ethnicity Caribbean