Sleep Disordered Breathing


A recent study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation concluded that 26% of the adult population has a high risk of having obstructive sleep apnea. 

This is significant because, at current adult population estimates of the United States, almost 60 million Americans are in this risk group. Also alarming is that only 10% of this number have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Previously it had been accepted that only around 12 million Americans are affected. Other findings from the study suggest men have a higher risk for apnea, 31%, than women, 21%. 

Tired? It may be sleep apnea. New evidence shows it is more common than originally believed.

Tired? It may be sleep apnea. New evidence shows it is more common than originally believed.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common medical condition which has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension, coronary vascular disease, congestive heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, glucose intolerance, impotence, and increased cardiovascular mortality. OSA occurs when the tissue at the back of a person’s throat relaxes and closes their airway during sleep. This leads to lowered blood oxygen levels and multiple awakenings. 

The study, which was published in the medical journal CHEST in June 2006, utilized the Berlin Sleep Questionnaire to predict the number of people surveyed who fell into the high risk category for sleep apnea. The Berlin Questionnaire is a tool that estimates the likelihood of obstructive sleep apnea based on answers to specific questions. For more information on the Berlin Questionnaire, please refer to page 2 of this publication. For more information about sleep disorders and what you can do if you think you have sleep apnea, visit our website at


Having sleep apnea significantly increases your chances of being involved in a car crash, Canadian researchers recently announced. As reported in May 2007 by, the University of British Columbia conducted a comparison over three years of 1600 people, half with sleep apnea, half without. Those with apnea had 250 crashes in that time frame while those without had only 123. Apnea patients also were three to five times more likely to be involved in serious crashes with personal injuries. "We were surprised not only about how many of the sleep apnea patients' crashes involved personal injury, but that some patients had fairly mild sleep apnea and were still having serious crashes," said study author Dr. Alan Mulgrew, of the University of British Columbia Sleep Disorders Program. 

If you feel tired at all when driving, pull over and take a rest. You could be saving your life and someone else’s. For more information and tips on staying awake, visit


According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2006 Sleep in America Poll of adolescents and parents, most parents in this country don’t know their children aren’t getting enough sleep. Adolescents from 6th through 12th grade participated in the study, and the results were surprising. On average, only 20% of children and teens get the amount of sleep they need on school nights. An estimated 45% of adolescents get an insufficient amount of sleep (7.5 hrs) and 31% are borderline (8 to less than 9 hrs). The recommended time is at least 9 hours.

Children and teens need at least 9 hours of sleep every night.

Children and teens need at least 9 hours of sleep every night.

When researchers polled parents, they found 90% of them believed their children get
enough sleep on school nights. The disparity between the numbers shows that in general,
most parents are in the dark about their children’s sleep.

Only 20% of children and teens get the recommended amount of sleep on school nights.

There are many possible reasons for the lack of sufficient sleep in adolescents. Researchers point increased school workload, earlier wakeup times and commutes, and more access to electronics devices such as TV, cell phones, and computers. Sleep researchers also believe as children get older they continue to need plenty of sleep but often their circadian rhythm, or “biological clock”, shifts forward. Teenagers can often feel like they’re dragging in the morning but become increasingly energized as the day progresses. Unfortunately, this cycle can collide with school schedules. This means teens tend to get less sleep than
younger children. The majority of them (58%) consider themselves night owls, forced into a system structured in a way that prevents them from getting enough rest time.

Some ways of helping kids get enough sleep include setting a definite bedtime, avoiding caffeine or  stimulating activities like videogames or computer use close to bedtime, and not oversleeping too much on weekends which can further disrupt sleep cycles.


The Berlin Sleep Questionnaire is a explorative tool medical professionals use to determine the likelihood patients will have a sleep disorder. The questionnaire was developed in 1996 and consists of three categories containing questions addressing common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. These include the frequency and intensity of snoring, risk factors such as high blood pressure and BMI, and excessive daytimes sleepiness. Each multiple choice answer is given a numerical value and the end total is calculated to determine whether the patient exhibits evidence of a possible sleep disorder.

When the healthcare worker reviews the results, they can decide whether there is sufficient cause to bring the patient for a sleep evaluation. While it doesn’t take the place of an overnight sleep study, the questionnaire has been found to be a valuable tool for predicting sleep apnea. If you would like to test yourself or someone else, you can get a copy of the Berlin Sleep Questionnaire and have your questions about sleep apnea answered by contacting Oregon Sleep Associates at


Your sleep environment should be dark, quiet , comfortable, and cool.

Your sleep environment should be dark, quiet , comfortable, and cool.

Approximately 70 million people in the United States are affected by a sleep problem. About 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, and an additional 20 - 30 million are affected by intermittent sleep-related problems. However, an overwhelming majority of sleep disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated.

Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are estimated to cost Americans over $100 billion annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, and property and environmental damage.

According to NSF’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, while the majority of America’s adults do not use any type of sleep aid, 11 % said they used alcohol, beer or wine at least a few nights a month; 9% said they use over the counter remedies, and 7% use a prescription medication at least a few nights a month. However, there are ways that you can naturally change your behavior in order to get more sleep and to wake up feeling refreshed. If you are having problems sleeping, try to follow these Healthy Tips for Better Sleep:

  • Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including weekends.

  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music.

  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool and sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.

  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment.

  • Finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime and avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime.


Depending on its severity, sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart attack or death by 20-90% over 5 years.

Depending on its severity, sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart attack or death by 20-90% over 5 years.

Getting treated for Obstructive Sleep Apnea may save your life. A recent study from Yale University demonstrated a strong link between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and cardiac events. The study compared two groups of subjects, those with sleep apnea and those without. After following the subjects for 5 years the researchers examined the rates of cardiac events including heart attacks, coronary angiography, bypass surgery, and death. The results are shocking, the average patient with sleep apnea has a 40% higher risk of a myocardial infarction or death than those without OSA.

The risk increases substantially with the severity of the apnea. Patients with only mild sleep apnea, defined by apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 5-14 breathing events per hour, have a 20% higher risk. Those with moderate apnea (AHI 15-30) have a 50% increase. Perhaps most startling, severe apnea (AHI >30) leads to a 90% increased risk for heart attack or death over 5 years.

The presenting doctor, Neomi A Shah MD, emphasized that the risk with OSA “is the same level as having had a heart attack in the past”. Based on these findings, it is very important that anyone who might have sleep apnea be treated as soon as possible to reduce their risk. For treatment options go to