Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome and the metabolic syndrome in an internal medicine setting

Department of Experimental Medicine, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.
European Journal of Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.3). 06/2010; 21(3):191-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejim.2010.03.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) is widely accepted as a cardiovascular risk factor. Lately it has been considered in turn as both a component and one of the causes of the metabolic syndrome (MS).
We studied 281 heavy snorers of both sexes consecutively attending a metabolic clinic. Aim was to evaluate the association of OSAS and MS in a large series of patients within an internal medicine setting. Patients underwent a clinical and biochemical work up and performed unattended polysomnography.
Of 226 non-diabetic snorers, 48 had primary snoring; 54 mild, 51 moderate, and 73 severe OSAS. A positive association was found between OSAS severity, central obesity indices and the mean metabolic score (p=0.016). Prevalence of hypertension increased with OSA severity (p=0.010). Polysomnographic indices were correlated with the metabolic score, insulin levels and central obesity indices. At regression analysis, male sex (t=3.92; p=0.000) and waist circumference (t=3.93; p=0.000) were independently associated with AHI (apnoea/hypopnoea index), while ODI (oxygen desaturation index) and waist circumference were the independent predictors (t=2.16; p=0.033 and t=3.74; p=0.000 respectively) of the metabolic score. Prevalence of OSA was 83% in 55 patients with diabetes and 34% had severe OSA. Almost all diabetics with OSA had MS. The metabolic score was higher in diabetic OSA as compared to non-diabetic OSAS (p=0.000).
Our findings show a high prevalence of OSAS among patients referred to a metabolic outpatient clinic because of suspected metabolic disorders and heavy snoring and suggest a strong bidirectional association between OSAS and MS.