Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders Hurt Blacks Most

older man sleeping

Undiagnosed sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, are common among older U.S. adults, especially among certain minority groups, a new study finds.

The researchers — who looked at 2,230 men and women aged 54 to 93 — say troubled sleep may play a role in health disparities in America.

Black, Chinese and Hispanic Americans were more likely than whites to have sleep problems, including nighttime breathing disruptions characteristic of sleep apnea, the study found.

“As sleep apnea has been implicated as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and mortality, our findings highlight the need to consider undiagnosed sleep apnea in middle-aged and older adults, with potential value in developing strategies to screen and improve recognition in groups such as in Chinese and Hispanic populations,” the study’s senior author, Dr. Susan Redline, said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Redline is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.