To study the prevalence of sleep-related breathing disorders in adults of rural population of Delhi.
Nineteen out of 232 villages in Delhi were randomly selected. Households were then selected randomly to obtain a sample of 350-400 subjects of either sex from each village. The study was done using a questionnaire. The field investigators made house-to-house visits and administered the questionnaire to all over 18 years of age. A repeat visit was made by the Investigators to contact the members absent during the first visit. The questionnaire had fifteen multiple-choice questions and each question was scored depending on the severity of symptoms. Each subject has to choose one of five possible alternatives for each question: “never”, “less than once a week”, “once or twice a week”, “three to five nights/days a week”, or “almost everyday/night”. The respondents were classified as having sleep-related breathing symptoms if they had loud snoring (scores 4 or 5) and/or daytime sleepiness (scores 4 or 5). Age, weight and height were recorded.
A total of 6908 subjects from the rural area of Delhi were studied. There were 3562 (51%) males and 3346 (49%) females. A history of sleep-related breathing symptoms was present in 763 (11%) of 6908 subjects. Of these, 448 (12%) were males and 315 (9%) females. Further analysis had shown that subjects with sleep-related breathing symptoms were older (p<0.001) and had weight (p<0.001) and body mass index (p<0.001) higher in both sexes compared to subjects without such symptoms. In subjects with sleep-related symptoms, snoring was significantly more in males (p<0.001) compared to females. However, the daytime sleepiness and morning headache were more in females (p<0.001).
Eleven percent of adult subjects in the rural area of Delhi had sleep-related breathing symptoms. The symptoms increased with age in both sexes and the prevalence of snoring was more in males.
The study makes the physicians aware the magnitude of the problem of sleep-related breathing disorders which has not received adequate attention till recently.
V.K. Vijayan, None.