African Americans with sleep apnea and insomnia are rarely diagnosed with either disorder, even when the severity is likely to affect their health, according to new research presented at the American Thoracic Society 2017 International Conference, held May 19–24 in Washington, D.C.
Dayna A. Johnson, PhD, MPH, MS, MSW, a postdoctoral research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and her colleagues studied data on 825 African Americans who underwent a sleep study as part of the Jackson (Miss.) Heart Study, a population-based longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The average age of those undergoing the study was 63 years, and two-thirds of the participants were women.
The study found that three of every four participants had sleep apnea: 38.4% had mild sleep apnea; 21.3% had moderate sleep apnea; and 15.8% had severe sleep apnea. Only 2.1% of those with sleep apnea reported that a physician had diagnosed the condition, however.