Sleep Apnea & Insomnia Go Undiagnosed In Blacks At An Alarming Rate

African American woman sleeping in bed hitting alarmDespite a rise in many sleep disorders, a good portion of the African American community continues to go undiagnosed, even when the severity may affect their livelihood, per new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.

“African Americans experience a disproportionate burden of numerous health problems, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, all of which have been shown to be associated with sleep,” lead study author Dayna A. Johnson, PhD, MPH, MS, MSW, a postdoctoral research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.

“It seems plausible that sleep apnea and insomnia are important risk factors contributing to these health disparities.”

Sleep apnea is defined as a chronic health problem which affects breathing during sleep. It affects an estimated 18 million Americans and can worsen over time, if left untreated.

Insomnia, on the other hand, is the inability to sleep. Short-term insomnia (which lasts less than three months) plagues 15 to 20 percent of people in the U.S., per the National Sleep Foundation.

Still, “There is a disturbingly high prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders in our study population of African Americans,” Dr. Johnson added. “It is important to investigate the reasons for this high prevalence as well as investigate interventions targeted at increasing awareness and screening for sleep disorders.”

The dangers are eye-opening, at best. The Sleep Disorders Guide states that…