Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder worldwide; however, epidemiological studies on its prevalence lack in Saudi Arabia. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors of OSA in Saudi Arabia.
Methods: The study was performed from 2013 to 2015 in two stages. The screening stage was first; a random sample of Saudi employees (n = 2682) 30-60 years of age completed a survey that included the Wisconsin questionnaire. According to these data, the subjects were categorized as habitual, moderate, or nonsnorers (NSs). The confirmatory second stage was a case-control study conducted on 346 individuals selected from each group using polysomnography (PSG).
Results: In the first stage, the prevalence of habitual snoring was 23.5%, moderate snoring was16.6%, while 59.9% of the sample was NSs. Among the 346 individuals who underwent PSG, a total of 235 (67.9%) subjects had OSA with an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of ≥5; 76 (22.0%) had OSA syndrome (OSAS), defined by an AHI of ≥5 plus daytime sleepiness; and 227 (65.6%) had clinically diagnosed OSA syndrome (COSAS), as defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. A conservative estimate of at least 8.8% (12.8% in men and 5.1% in women) was calculated for the overall prevalence of OSA. Similarly, the overall estimated prevalence of OSAS and COSAS was 2.8% (4.0% in men and 1.8% in women) and 8.5% (12.4% in men and 4.8% in women), respectively. A multivariate analysis revealed age, gender, obesity, and hypertension as independent risk factors of OSA.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that the rate and risk factors of OSA in the Saudi population are similar to those observed in Western studies.
Keywords: Daytime sleepiness; obstructive sleep apnea; prevalence; risk factors; syndrome.