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.
Dr 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.