The worsening severity in sleep-disordered breathing is primarily attributable to increases in obesity, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Dr Jeffery Pretto, Stephen Gyulay and Professor Michael Hensley, from the Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, and School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle, conducted a study aimed at describing trends in sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) severity and whether incidences and severity changed in the Hunter New England region between 1987 and 2007.
AdvertisementDr Jeffery Pretto said that between 1987 and 2007, 14,648 new diagnostic sleep studies were performed.
Of those observed the median body weight of patients increased from 89kg to 99kg for men (11 per cent) and from 73kg to 85kg for women (16 per cent). For every unit increase in BMI, sleep-related breathing disorders (apnoea-hypopnoea index [API]) increased by 5.5 events per hour for men, and by 2.8 events per hour for women.
"There is a continuing trend towards increasing body weight and BMI in people undergoing diagnostic sleep studies," Dr Pretto said.
"The finding that about 80 per cent of the observed variance in AHI is attributable to increases in BMI suggests that the observed worsening in severity of SDB is primarily attributable to increasing obesity.
"Trends indicate that adult sleep services can expect subjects who weigh more, have higher AHIs, and represent a more balanced mix of men and women.
"There will be an ongoing higher demand for sleep laboratory services and treatment provision in Australia over the coming years."
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.