African American Men May Be At Higher Risk for Severe OSA Symptoms

August 15, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

A new study from the Annals of the American Thoracic Society has found some disturbing discoveries: that African Americans are at a higher risk of more and more severe sleep apnea symptoms than other races.

The study examined 890 patients from the University of Cleveland Medical Center sleep laboratories who had been newly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea between February 2007 and December of 2010, and found that among African American patients, men had the most severe obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, with a higher mean AHI than white men, white women, and African American women, respectively.

These findings highlight a need for greater testing for African American men, especially those who are obese, diabetic, and who report symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, including snoring, stopping and restarting breathing, daytime lethargy, cognitive problems, high blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and depression.

If you are an African American man and believe you could be suffering from sleep apnea or are exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to speak to your physician as soon as possible to be tested for obstructive sleep apnea.

If you are of any race or gender, the same remains true. Obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk of many dangerous conditions, including stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. It can also increase your risk of sudden death, according to another new study.

If you have been hesitant to treat your obstructive sleep apnea because you are hesitant to wear a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask and unit during the night, there are alternatives to CPAP that most users find more comfortable and more effective.

A mandibular sleep device works by propping your airway open through a retainer-like device that is custom-fit to your individual mouth. This comfortable device helps position the jaw naturally and does not use forced air or machinery, making it more comfortable than CPAP. Dr. Peterson offers these devices in his office and would be happy to evaluate you for one if you are interested.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mingus to be fitted for a mandibular sleep device, please contact the office for an evaluation today.