Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Race, community a factor in CPAP compliance

African-Americans and residents in poor areas are least likely to stick with their prescribed use of CPAP. A study in the December issue of SLEEP compared CPAP use by residents in five U.S. cities. Comparisons were based on ethnicity and socioeconomics.

Researchers interviewed 191 participants from Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Madison, Wis. Ethnicity was determined through a questionnaire. Socioeconomic status was tracked by ZIP code. All participants were being treated for moderate to severe sleep apnea.

CPAP compliance was assessed at one month and again at three months. The average amount of time CPAP was used each night was lower in blacks and in patients who lived in poor areas. Even after age, sex and education levels were adjusted for. Access to CPAP and standardized health care was not an issue since this was a clinical trial study.

Researchers concluded that demographic factors have a definite influence on CPAP adherence. But they could not explain why the participation rate was less among blacks and the poor. They said more research is needed to identify the barriers and to develop intervention measures.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most common and effective way to treat obstructive sleep apnea. A steady stream of air blows through a mask and into the back of the throat to keep the airway open. Read more about CPAP in the Sleep Education Blog.

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