Sleep Apnea in Hispanics and its Association with Cardiovascular Diseases


How is sleep apnea related to high blood pressure and diabetes among Hispanics? A report following a study of 14,440 middle-aged Hispanic men and women during the period 2008 to 2012 (and published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine) shows that the population at risk for cardiovascular disease in this group had also a high prevalence of sleep apnea.


There is worse to come though. Sleep apnea in this population is often undiagnosed, and thus untreated too. Not only does this increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular diseases but is closely related to obesity and being overweight too.


Participants for this landmark study of Latinos (SOL) were recruited from four field centers across the country in Miami, San Diego, Chicago and the Bronx.

Researchers found the following interesting data points.

  1. 33 percent of men and 19 percent of women had sleep apnea. Of this, only 1.3 per cent had been diagnosed by a physician at the time of the study.
  2. Those with moderate to severe sleep apnea had a 44 percent higher chance of hypertension, a 50 percent higher chance of impaired glucose tolerance and a 90 percent higher chance of diabetes


Clearly, this study tells us that as common a problem sleep apnea is in the Hispanic population, it is clearly under-diagnosed and under treated. Says Alberto R. Ramos, (Assistant Professor of clinical neurology and co-director of the Sleep Medicine Program at Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute), “By detecting and treating it, we can potentially modify these other vascular risk factors and improve their overall cardiovascular health.”



For the full report see

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