Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 317–322 | Cite as

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in a Caribbean sample

  • Ferdinand Zizi
  • Girardin Jean-Louis
  • Sonalis Fernandez
  • Hans von Gizycki
  • Jason M. Lazar
  • Joao Nunes
  • Clinton D. Brown
Original Article


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.


Sleep apnea Snoring Sleepiness Ethnicity Caribbean 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ferdinand Zizi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Girardin Jean-Louis
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Sonalis Fernandez
    • 1
  • Hans von Gizycki
    • 5
  • Jason M. Lazar
    • 1
  • Joao Nunes
    • 4
    • 6
  • Clinton D. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Brooklyn Center for Health Disparities, Division of Cardiovascular MedicineSUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Sleep Disorders Center, Department of NeurologySUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Department of OphthalmologySUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  4. 4.Brooklyn Research Foundation on Minority HealthKingsbrook Jewish Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  5. 5.Department of Scientific ComputingSUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  6. 6.Sophie Davis School of Biomedical EducationCity College New YorkNew YorkUSA

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