Sleep Apnea Odds Are Higher for Blacks

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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more prevalent among blacks, and they are less likelyto seek treatment for the disorder, according to study results presented recently at the annualmeeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology -Head and Neck Surgery.

In order to have a random sample from the general population, the researchers set up ascreening booth at a large Chicago health fair. Of the 523 participants interviewed, 287(55%) were black and 236 (45%) were white. The black population had a higher averagebody mass index than the white: 32 vs 28. The researchers were able to assess the risks forsleep apnea by combining sleep apnea signs (eg, tongue position and tonsil and neck size)and giving them a numeric value. The results of the study showed that the OSA score wasgreater for blacks, compared with whites (7 vs 5.9, respectively). In addition, the blacksreported more incidents of daytime sleepiness, a key symptom of sleep apnea.

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