Sleep Apnea in Jamaica: Propensity and Risks

Sleep Apnea in Jamaica


  • Sleep apnea is the periodic stops of breathing during sleep
  • Every 1 out of 5 adults in Jamaica suffer from sleep apnea
  • Genes play a role in the transmission of SA
  • Other risk factors contribute to OSA, as well.
  • There are home-based tests available for the detection of SA
  • There is a vast proportion of people suffering from SA that go undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea in Jamaica

Sleep apnea refers to the condition in which there are periodic stops in breathing during sleep. The patient often experiences it 20 to 30 times in an hour. The lack of oxygen prompts the brain to create a pause in a deep sleep, which results in drowsiness and lethargy in the following day. Most people are not aware of it as the duration of being awake is brief. Jamaicans are among the primarily affected populations from Sleep apnea (Morley, 2017). Read more about sleep apnea here.

The number of Jamaican people suffering from it

Every 1 of 5 adults in Jamaica suffers from sleep apnea due to varying reasons. Caribbean black individuals are seen to have ten times more chances of developing sleep apnea than the Americans’ population. Among all, Caribbean black individuals with a history of heart disease are the most affected by OSA (Rosenthal, 2017).

The propensity of the people in Jamaica to get it based on genetics

According to the study conducted on the Genetic Aspects of OSAS by J. Bras in June 2010, there is a strong genetic link of OSA on BMI when patients from Nigeria, Jamaica, and Africa were tested. Similarly, studies also showed monozygotic twins to exhibit the signs of snoring during OSA in Caribbean populations. First-degree relatives of OSA patients tend to show the characteristics of the disease (Petruco, 2010).

Other conditions that can develop it

Among the risk factors of sleep apnea other than genetics, gender predilection has a role to play. Males, precisely above 40 years of age, are seen to be commonly affected than females. Obesity and smoking, and the use of alcohol and tranquilizers have been connected to the disease for many years now; several research types have been conducted to prove the relationship. Mostly, people with heart diseases, history of heart diseases, neuromuscular problems, brain tumors, and strokes are also at high risk of developing sleep apnea (Foldvary-Schaefer, 2017).

How easy is it to test at home?

Sleep apnea can easily be tracked and tested at home by FDA-approved testing devices. A straightforward breathing monitor can detect unusual signs of sleep apnea in a regular sleeping pattern. The doctor must prescribe the device (Rosen, 2018).

How can many be undiagnosed?

Apart from heart diseases’ contribution to sleep apnea, a perfectly normal individual with genetically caused sleep apnea can lead to severe heart and neuromuscular problems. Strokes, diabetes type 2, heart attack, and a shorter life span are associated with sleep apnea. There is a chance of more than half of the individuals suffering from sleep apnea to be unaware of the condition (Lin, 2018).


Foldvary-Schaefer, N. R. (2017). Sleep-Disordered Breathing. . Continuum (Minneapolis, Minn.), 23(4, Sleep Neurology), 1093–1116.

Lin, J. &. (2018). Sleep Apnea and Sleep-Disordered Breathing. Otolaryngologic clinics of North America, . 51(4), 827–833.

Morley, J. E. (2017). Sleep Apnea: A Geriatric Syndrome. . Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 18(11), 899–904.

Petruco, A. C. (2010). Aspectos genéticos da SAOS. Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia, , 36(Suppl. 2), 13-16.

Rosen, I. M. (2018). Clinical Use of a Home Sleep Apnea Test: An Updated American Academy of Sleep Medicine Position Statement. Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 14(12), 2075–2077.

Rosenthal, D. M.-L. (2017). Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Cardiovascular Disease Risks among Haitian Medical Students. Journal of sleep disorders & therapy, 6(2), 264.