Study finds link between sleep disturbances and complex multimorbidity in Chinese, Korean Americans


Researchers have found an association between sleep disturbances and complex multimorbidity, defined as the co-occurrence of three or more chronic conditions affecting more than three body systems, among Chinese and Korean Americans.

Key findings: The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in March 2023, found that 18.2% of Chinese and Korean Americans with sleep disturbances had 2.15 times the prevalence of having complex multimorbidity than those who do not, while people at high risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) had 1.19 times the prevalence.

Additionally, the study found that male participants, Korean American individuals and those who had lived in the United States for 22 years or less have a stronger association with sleep disturbances and complex multimorbidity.

How the study was conducted: Researchers supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) gathered and analyzed data from 400 participants, including 200 Chinese and 200 Korean Americans aged 50 to 75 in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area, from 2018 to 2020. After identifying the participants' physician-diagnosed diseases to determine complex multimorbidity, they examined how it related to self-reported sleep disturbances and OSA risk. They also considered differences based on gender, Asian subgroup and years lived in the U.S.

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Related study: Some researchers involved in the paper also published a study on sleep disturbances in Chinese and Korean Americans in January 2023 that focused on the mediating role of sleep disturbance between stress and poor self-rated health. It found that participants with mild, moderate or severe sleep disturbance had worse self-rated health and stress compared with those without or only slight sleep disturbance.

What's next: With their findings, the researchers aim to educate healthcare providers and the public on risk factors, signs, symptoms and treatments for sleep disorders and chronic diseases. They also stress the need for further research on the effects of sleep health interventions on preventing chronic diseases.


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