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Respir Med. 2001 May;95(5):423-9.

Symptoms related to obstructive sleep apnoea are common in subjects with asthma, chronic bronchitis and rhinitis in a general population.

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Department of Medicine, Sunderby Central Hospital of Norrbotten, Luleå, Sweden.


The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of self-reported snoring, apnoeas and daytime sleepiness in relation to chronic bronchitis, recurrent wheeze, physician-diagnosed asthma and rhinitis. This was a questionnaire study in a representative sample of a general population. The study was a part of the Obstructive Lung Disease in Northern Sweden Studies (OLIN). A total of 5424 subjects aged 20-69 years, born on the 15th day of each month, participated in the study. Eligible answers were obtained from 4648 subjects (85.7%). Having snoring as a problem was reported by 10.7%. Among subjects with chronic bronchitis it was reported by 25.9%, with recurrent wheeze by 21.3%, with physician-diagnosed asthma by 17.9%, and with rhinitis by 14.7%. Relatives' concerns of witnessed apnoea was reported by 6.8% of all subjects, while among subjects with chronic bronchitis it was reported by 18.1%, with recurrent wheeze by 17.1%, with physician-diagnosed asthma by 14.3%, and with rhinitis by 9.1%. After correction for age, gender and smoking habits, chronic bronchitis, rhinitis, asthma, and current smoking were significantly related, with snoring as a problem and with relatives' concern of witnessed apnoeas. Symptoms of daytime sleepiness were significantly related with concern of witnessed apnoeas, chronic bronchitis, snoring as a problem, recurrent wheeze and age 50-59 years. In conclusion, respiratory symptoms and conditions affecting mainly the lower respiratory tract, such as chronic bronchitis and asthma, were related with symptoms common in obstructive sleep apnoea.

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