Many African Americans may have undiagnosed sleep apnea

(Reuters Health) – Even though almost one in four black people in the U.S. may have moderate to severe sleep apnea, a common nighttime breathing disorder, a new study suggests the vast majority haven’t been diagnosed or treated by a doctor.

Sleep apnea that isn’t properly treated has been linked with excessive daytime sleepiness, heart attacks, heart failure and an increased risk of premature death. Often, patients are prescribed treatment with a mask connected to a machine that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to keep the airway open at night.

For the study, researchers examined data from the larger, long-term Jackson Heart Study that includes more than 5,000 African American adults in Mississippi. The study team analyzed records for 852 people who had undergone…

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