According to a new study published in the journal Sleep, sleep disturbance and undiagnosed sleep apnea are common in the US, and their incidence is influenced by race and ethnicity.

Underdiagnosed Conditions

There a higher likelihood for minorities to be diagnosed with sleep apnea.This study showed a very high percentage of the entire study population had sleep apnea, though rates were even higher among some minority groups. About 34% of participants who had a polysomnography had either moderate or severe sleep apnea. Measurements of other participants showed that 31% had short sleep duration (less than 6 hours) based on actigraphy (movement tracking).

Complementary data from questionnaires showed that 23% reported insomnia while 14% reported daytime sleepiness. It’s good to remember that although daytime sleepiness is common in people with sleep apnea, not all sleep apnea sufferers experience this symptom.

Only 9% of respondents said they had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. This again reminds us that you may have to bring up sleep apnea with your doctor. Since nearly 75% of sleep apnea sufferers continue to go undiagnosed, the major strides we’ve made in awareness for both patients and doctors are obviously not enough.

A Diverse Population

This study is unique in that it drew its study population from a number of diverse urban areas to attempt to get a good understanding of how these conditions impact different ethnicities. The 2230 participants aged 54 to 93 were drawn from six different sites.

The data showed that after accounting for age, sex, and study site, blacks had the highest risk of sleep disturbance, sleep apnea, and daytime sleepiness. Hispanics and Chinese also had elevated risk of sleep disordered breathing and short sleep duration, though Chinese were least likely to report insomnia.

These studies are important to ensure that we understand the magnitude of the impact of sleep apnea on the entirety of American society and the need for a comfortable, convenient sleep apnea treatment.

No matter what your race or ethnicity, if you suspect you may have sleep apnea in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.