Introduction: There is scant data on the risk factors of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in the general population in Asian countries.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey of a random population sample of 2298 adults aged 20-75 years, stratified by gender, ethnicity (Chinese, Malay and Indian) and age. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to elicit responses to questions on daytime somnolence and nocturnal events. Three categories of SDB were defined for analysis: habitual snoring; apnoeic snoring (SDB I); and apnoeic snoring or snoring with diurnal hypersomnia (SDB II).
Results: Snoring was reported by 201 persons (6.8%), SDB-I in 44 (1.9%) and SDB-II in 112 (4.9%) in the sample. The adjusted odds ratio (95% C.I.) of association with snoring were: male gender, 3.79 (2.69-5.33); older age (>60 years old), 2.15 (1.41-3.29); Indian versus Chinese, 1.54 (1.05-2.25); family history, 2.21 (1.56-3.12); obesity (BMI>30), 2.64 (1.62-4.30); neck circumference (>40 cm), 2.57 (1.59-4.11); and cigarette smoking, 2.05 (1.21-3.45). The risk factors for SDB were similar to that of snoring.
Conclusion: Population risk factors associated with habitual snoring and SDB in Singapore are largely similar to those reported in other populations. Differential risks underscore the importance of ethnicity in determining the burden of SDB.