A community study of snoring and sleep-disordered breathing. Symptoms

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995 Aug;152(2):707-10. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.152.2.7633730.


Four hundred forty-one subjects 34 to 69 yr of age were recruited from a random sample of the community. The sample was biased in favor of men, snorers, and subjects with subjective sleep complaints. They answered a questionnaire and were monitored in their homes for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). This report concerns the presence of symptoms associated with the obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome in the subjects with SDB detected in this community sample. Most of the symptoms commonly recognized as occurring in OSA were associated with SDB in our sample: snoring that disturbed the sleep of other persons, reports of apnea, reports of gasping or choking sounds during sleep, and finding the bedclothes in disarray in the mornings had significant univariate associations with SDB. Nocturnal choking and morning headache were negatively associated with SDB. Excessive daytime somnolence (EDS) was reported by 41% of those with SDB, but it was also reported by 37% of snorers without SDB and by 37% of nonsnorers. We conclude that the symptoms seen in clinic patients with OSA also occur in subjects with SDB who have not presented for medical attention. Enumeration of these symptoms by questionnaire, however, is a poor test for OSA in the community. EDS was reported by a higher than expected proportion of subjects not affected by SDB, suggesting that causes of self-reported EDS other than SDB may be common.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Airway Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Headache / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Polysomnography
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Snoring / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires