A recent analysis of data from a multi-ethnic cross-sectional study of the US population indicates that minorities, including Mexicans and other Hispanics, may be at an elevated risk for sleep apnea. The sleep apnea rates for this study are quite high, and show that a large percentage of the population has undiagnosed sleep apnea.
A Diverse Population Thoroughly Assessed
This study uses the Sleep Cohort of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), which consists of 2230 people aged 54 to 93, were drawn from six sites across the country, though, sadly, not San Diego.
The study showed that 34% of participants who were evaluated by polysomnography had sleep apnea. This is a huge number, especially considering that only 9% of the population had previously been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Other sleep problems were common. Some patients had their sleep patterns measured by actigraphy (movement tracking), showing that 31% had short sleep duration (less than 6 hours). Questionnaires that 23% reported insomnia while 14% reported daytime sleepiness.
Analysis of the data showed that minority groups were often at higher risk for sleep problems. For example, blacks had the highest risk of sleep disturbance, sleep apnea, and daytime sleepiness.
Hispanics and Chinese had elevated risk of sleep disordered breathing and short sleep duration.
Insights for San Diego’s Population
At nearly a third of the population, the Hispanic or Latino community represents the largest minority group in San Diego. And of that Latino population, at least 95% are Mexicans. Our best understanding of the health of this population comes from the Hispanic Community Health Survey/ Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), which included data on sleep apnea among other sleep problems.
This study showed a sleep apnea rate of about 25% for Hispanics age 45 and older. Based on the MESA data, it’s likely that this is less than the actual number of Hispanics who have sleep apnea.
In addition, more than 42% of Mexican men report loud snoring, as well as nearly 32% of Mexican women. This means that more Mexicans need to seek evaluation and treatment for these types of sleep disordered breathing.
If you want to learn more about snoring or sleep apnea treatment in San Diego, please call (619) 299-5925 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at Strober Dental.