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Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Jul 15;170(2):193-202. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp108. Epub 2009 May 22.

Sleep-disordered breathing and frailty in the Cardiovascular Health Study Cohort.

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  • 1Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA.


Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is associated with pathophysiology that may influence the development and progression of frailty. Using data collected in 1995-1996, the authors explored the relation between SDB and components of frailty among 1,042 participants of the Cardiovascular Health Study. Diagnosis of SDB was based on the results of overnight polysomnography, and severe SDB was defined as an apnea-hypopnea index of >30 per hour of sleep. Slow walking speed, low grip strength, exhaustion, low physical activity, and unexplained weight loss were referred to as frailty indicator variables. There were 584 (56%) female and 458 (44%) male participants, and the mean age was 77 (standard deviation, 4) years. There was independent association between severe SDB and 1 or more frailty indicator variables (adjusted odds ratio = 4.85, 95% confidence interval: 1.40, 16.78), slow walking speed (adjusted odds ratio = 2.67, 95% confidence interval: 1.04, 6.84), and low grip strength (adjusted odds ratio = 3.29, 95% confidence interval: 1.36, 7.96) among female study participants. The finding of an independent association between SDB and frailty indicator variables among older women could have important implications in interventions aimed at preventing or delaying the progression of frailty.

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