Sleep Disorders

11 June 2009

Neck size affects sleep apnoea

Though obesity is a known major risk factor for obstructive sleep apnoea, many non-obese people also have the condition, according to the results of a new study.

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Though obesity is a known major risk factor for obstructive sleep apnoea, many non-obese people also have the condition, according to the results of a new study.

Among 5 426 non-obese adults (with a body-mass index between 18.5 and 27), obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) was present in 54%. About half of those with the condition had mild cases and half had moderate to severe OSA.

The study found that moderate to severe OSA was most common in middle-age men with larger neck sizes. The researchers noted that they were surprised to find no significant differences in Epworth Sleepiness Scale results and neck size between non-obese people who did and did not have OSA. The scale is a standardised method of measuring daytime sleepiness.

"More than 50% of non-obese OSA patients had mild OSA, suggesting that in-lab polysomnography may be more accurate in assessing people in this demographic, as opposed to portable monitoring systems," said lead author Teimur Yeligulashvili, clinical supervisor at SleepTech.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. Earlier research had found an association between OSA and serious health problems such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and increased risk of death. – (HealthDay News, June 2009)

Read more:
Apnoea link to sleepwalking

 

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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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