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Adults with sleep apnea are more likely to experience involuntary job loss

June 12, 2019

SAN ANTONIO - Recently unemployed people with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea have a higher risk of having lost a job multiple times, according to preliminary results from a new study.

Results show that individuals with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea were more likely to have experienced multiple involuntary job losses. Compared to participants who did not have sleep apnea, those with moderate-to-severe sleep apnea were more than twice as likely to have a history of multiple job layoffs or firings.

"These results suggest that undetected obstructive sleep apnea could have long-term, negative effects on vocational functioning," said principal investigator Patricia Haynes, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Nearly 30 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic disease that involves the repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Common warning signs include snoring, choking or gasping during sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and impairments in cognitive functioning.

This analysis of data from the ongoing, prospective Assessing Daily Activity Patterns through occupational Transitions (ADAPT) study involved 261 participants with an average age of 41 years; 58% were women. Seventy-three percent received hourly wages rather than a salary, and about 45% of participants had a history of multiple job losses. Breathing during sleep was evaluated with a home sleep apnea test, which revealed that 42% percent had at least mild sleep apnea.

After a propensity score analysis, 39 matched pairs (78 participants) remained for the logistic regression model. Results were controlled for potential confounders such as age, sex, race, and job payment type.

The authors noted that one limitation of the study was the inability to include body mass index in the analysis.
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The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and was presented Sunday, June 9, in San Antonio at SLEEP 2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), which is a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

This study was supported by funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Abstract Title: Individuals with Obstructive Sleep Apnea have Higher Likelihood of Multiple Involuntary, Job Losses
Abstract ID: 0484
Presentation Date: Sunday, June 9
Poster Presentation: 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., Board 139

For a copy of the abstracts or to arrange an interview with a study author or an AASM spokesperson, please contact the AASM media relations staff at 630-737-9700 or media@aasm.org.

About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality, patient-centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards (http://www.aasm.org). The AASM has a combined membership of 10,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals. For more information about sleep and sleep disorders, including a directory of AASM-accredited member sleep centers, visit http://www.sleepeducation.org.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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