Study objectivesWhile sleep apnea has been associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in white individuals in the U.S., these associations in Chinese and Korean Americans are less well-understood, particularly how these associations vary by age, gender, Asian origin, obesity, chronic conditions, and daytime sleepiness.
MethodsWe used a sample of Chinese and Korean Americans ages 50-75 (n = 394) from the Baltimore-Washington DC Metropolitan Area to examine the associations of high risk (HR) sleep apnea with diagnoseable hypercholesterolemia and diabetes, as well as the following biomarkers: total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), total cholesterol/HDL-C ratio, triglycerides, and glucose (non-fasting). Poisson models included demographic factors, socioeconomic status, and body mass index (BMI). We tested for potential effect modifiers.
ResultsHR-sleep apnea was associated with higher LDL-C level (β = 14.56, p < 0.05) and higher total cholesterol/HDL ratio (β = 0.64, p < 0.01). Younger respondents had higher levels of triglycerides associated with HR-sleep apnea than older respondents. For men, HR-sleep apnea was associated with higher total cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL-C ratio, and triglycerides. Obese and overweight respondents had positive associations between HR-sleep apnea and total cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL ratio, and triglycerides, while underweight/normal weight individuals did not. The interactions between snoring and daytime sleepiness were associated with hypercholesterolemia and diabetes.
ConclusionsThis study demonstrates associations between sleep apnea risk and dyslipidemia among Chinese and Korean Americans. Associations were particularly pronounced among younger, male, overweight/obese, and sicker individuals. Future research should examine how to improve sleep health in Asian American populations to improve CVD risk.