WESTCHESTER, Ill. Higher neighborhood socioeconomic factors and social support are independently related to improved continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) adherence, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
The study, authored by Alec Platt, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, focused on 275 newly diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients.
According to the results, those who lived in poor, low education and low employment neighborhoods spent less time using their CPAP machine than patients from better-off neighborhoods. Even after adjusting the data for individual demographic characteristics, the effects of living in a neighborhood with low socioeconomic status persisted.
The results from this study signify that patients from disadvantaged neighborhoods may face greater challenges in benefiting from CPAP, said Dr. Platt. The next step is to figure out how to help patients living in these neighborhoods spend more time on their CPAP machines so they can be more awake and alert during the day, and also, perhaps, avoid the long-term cardiovascular complications that come from compromised breathing during sleep.
OSA is a sleep-related breathing disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. OSA occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway. This keeps air from getting into the lungs. It is estimated that four percent of men and two percent of women have OSA, and millions more remain undiagnosed.
First introduced as a treatment option for sleep apnea in 1981, CPAP is the most common and effective treatment for OSA. CPAP provides a steady stream of pressurized air to patients through a mask that they wear during sleep. This airflow keeps the airway open, preventing the pauses in breathing that characterize sleep apnea and restoring normal oxygen levels.
On average, most adults need seven to eight hours of nightly sleep to feel alert and well-rested.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good nights sleep:
Those who think they might have OSA, or another sleep disorder, are urged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.