Background: The relationship of weight changes to the incidence, progression, and remission of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is not well defined. This study aims to determine the relationship between change in weight and progression or remission of SDB by polysomnography.
Methods: We performed a longitudinal cohort study of the cardiovascular consequences of sleep apnea in diverse US communities. Sleep apnea and polysomnographic indicators of SDB were assessed 5 years apart.
Results: A total of 2968 men and women (mean age, 62 years) participated in the study. Men were more likely to have an increase in Respiratory Disturbance Index (RDI) with a given increase in weight than were women, and this was not explained by differences in starting weight, waist circumference, age, or ethnicity. In a linear regression analysis, both men and women had a greater increase in RDI with weight gain than a decrease in RDI with weight loss. In a categorical analysis of larger degrees of change, this sex difference was also evident. Associations were similar in diverse ethnic groups. However, SDB progressed over time, even in those with stable weight.
Conclusion: Modest changes in weight were related to an increase or decrease in SDB, and this association was stronger in men than in women.