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ATS: Sleep Apnea, Insomnia in Blacks Often Go Undiagnosed

High prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders seen in study population

African american woman getting blood pressure checked

TUESDAY, May 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Most black people in the United States with sleep apnea or insomnia don't get their sleep disorder diagnosed, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society, held from May 19 to 24 in Washington, D.C.

Researchers looked at sleep status among 825 black men and women. All were participants in a larger study on cardiovascular health funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The investigators noted that three in four of the study participants had some degree of sleep apnea. Yet only 2.1 percent said their condition had been diagnosed. One in five black people in the study had insomnia; 6.7 percent had been diagnosed.

"There is a disturbingly high prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders in our study population of African-Americans," study author Dayna Johnson, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a news release from the American Thoracic Society. "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."

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