237003 Sleep apnea in refugees as compared to immigrants: A contributing factor to health

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:42 PM

Bengt Arnetz, MD, PhD, MPH, MscEp , Dept.. Family Med. & Public Health Sci., Div. Occup. & Env. Health / Dept. of Public Health & Caring Sci., Uppsala Univ.Sweden, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Waleed Saudi, MD, RPSGT , Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Science, Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Thomas Templin, PhD , College of Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Hikmet J. Jamil, MD, PhD, FFOMI , Department of Family Medicine & Public Health Sciences, Division of Occupational & Environmental Health, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Background: Little is known about the possible role of sleep disorders in the development of post-trauma disorders among refugees. The current study explores the role of physician-diagnosed sleep apnea in mediating the relationship between environmental stressors and psychosomatic and somatic disorders. Methods: A random sample of Iraqi refugees (n=205) and immigrants (145) participated in a validated structured interview including questions on sociodemographics, stressor exposures, SRH, physician-diagnosed sleep apnea, somatic, and psychosomatic disorders. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to explore mediating pathways between refugee status, environmental stressors, sleep apnea and health. Results: The prevalence of sleep apnea among refugees (53.7%) was significantly higher than among immigrants (34.5%; P < 0.001). Psychosomatic disorders, hypertension, and heart diseases were also more prevalent among refugees. Sleep apnea mediated the relationship between environmental stressors and somatic and psychosomatic disorders. Furthermore, environmental stressors directly mediated the relation between refugee status, sleep apnea and psychosomatic disorders. Conclusion: Sleep apnea in refugees is associated with an increased risk for psychosomatic and somatic disorders, as compared to immigrants. We hypothesize that sleep apnea contributes to worse post-migration health and stress-resiliency in refugees. Future studies need to look at the etiologic role of war-related environmental exposures in the development of sleep apnea in refugees.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Basic medical science applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Epidemiology
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
To learn more about the role of sleep disorders in the development of post-trauma disorders among refugees. To let the audiences understand the association of sleep apnea with an increased risk for psychosomatic and somatic disorders in refugees as compared to immigrants. ________________________________________

Keywords: Refugees, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Board Certifieds in Occupational and Environmental Health with a long history of carrying out stress- and trauma-related health-disorder research. I am the PI of a NIH funded study of pre- and post-displacement stressors and mental health and the importance of institutional resources. I have no personal financial disclosures. However, Pfizer Corporation provided a grant to cover part of the cost to collect data used in the current presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.