EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: June 11, 2009, at 12:01 a.m.

Kelly Wagner
(708) 492-0930, ext. 9331
WESTCHESTER, Ill. – According to a research abstract that will be presented on Thursday, June11, at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, a link exists between the severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and weight gain.
Results indicate that people with a baseline apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 15 or more had an increase in body mass index (BMI) of 0.52 kg/m2 over approximately five years compared with those who had an AHI of less than 5; AHI is an average of the combined episodes of apnea and hypopnea that occur per hour of sleep. Participants with an AHI between 5 and 15 had an increase in BMI of 0.22 kg/m2. The association between OSA severity and subsequent change in BMI was significant despite adjustment for key covariates. 
According to lead author Mark Brown, MD, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, people suffering from more severe OSA may be more likely to gain more weight over time than those with less severe OSA.
“OSA is a disorder characterized by decreases or cessation of breathing during sleep. Obesity is a known risk factor for the disorder; however, it is hypothesized that the effects of OSA itself may predispose patients to weight gain,” said Brown.
The study involved data from 3,001 men and women from the Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS) with an average age of 62 years. Of the sample, 55.2 percent of participants were female and 76.1 percent were Caucasian. Participants were classified as having no OSA (AHI of less than 5), moderate OSA (AHI of at least 5 but less than 15), and severe OSA (AHI of 15 or more). Weight and complete sleep data derived by polysomnography were collected. Linear regression was used to examine the association between AHI groups and the change in BMI over approximately five years. The final model was adjusted for age, gender, race, initial BMI and change in AHI over 5 years.
More information about OSA can be found at:  https://www.aasm.org/resources/FactSheets/SleepApnea.pdf.
SLEEP 2009 will bring together an international body of 6,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.
More than 1,300 research abstracts will be presented at SLEEP 2009, a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society. The scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.
Abstract Title: Sleep-disorded breathing and weight gain: The Sleep Heart Health Study
Presentation Date: Thursday, June 11
Category: Sleep Disorders – Breathing
Abstract ID: 0515