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Prevalence of symptoms and risk of sleep apnea in Dubai, UAE

Authors Mahboub B, Afzal S, Alhariri H, Alzaabi A, Vats M, Soans A

Received 6 November 2012

Accepted for publication 17 January 2013

Published 6 March 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 109—114


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Bassam Mahboub, Shahid Afzal, Hassan Alhariri, Ashraf Alzaabi, Mayank Vats, Annie Soans

Sleep Disorders Center, Department of Medicine, Rashid Hospital, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Purpose: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranks 18th on the 2007 Forbes list of fattest countries with 68.3% of its citizens with an unhealthy weight and it is well known that weight gain and obesity are important determinants in the progression of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). The purpose of this study is to estimate the prevalence of symptoms and risk of OSAS in the primary health care setting in Dubai, and the relationship between obesity and sleep apnea.
Methods: In this prospective survey, a trained medical nurse administered the Berlin Questionnaire to a consecutive random sample of patients in the age group older than 14 years, who attended the primary health care center in Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE, from September 2011 to March 2012. Based on the questionnaire answers, individuals were classified into high risk and low risk groups for OSAS.
Results: Based on the responses and measurement of the Berlin Questionnaire of 1214 subjects studied, 58% (n = 704) of the respondents were female, while 42% (n = 510) were male. Two-hundred-fifty-four respondents met the criteria for the high risk scoring. This gives a prevalence rate of 20.9% (out of which 22.9% of the male respondents were high risk for OSAS, while 19.5% of the females were high risk for OSAS), while the remainder of the participants were classified as low risk. The overall mean age of the high risk for OSAS female respondents was 39.95 years (standard deviation [SD] 11.73 years) and was 41.18 years (SD 14.95 years) for male respondents The highest prevalence was observed between age 51 to 60 in both genders. Seventy percent of the high risk group had a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2 and nearly 75% of the low risk group had a BMI < 30 kg/m2, and the mean BMI was 32.06 kg/m2 (SD 5.67 kg/m2) for males and 33.59 kg/m2 (SD 6.44 kg/m2) for females.
Conclusion: In the primary health care setting, the prevalence of symptoms of OSAS among adult UAE citizens is very high, and UAE patients are at risk for OSAS and may benefit from proper evaluation for OSAS.

Keywords: obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, daytime sleepiness, prevalence primary care, Berlin Questionnaire, Dubai

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