Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Roblin Magee

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew Magee


Background: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a chronic breathing disorder that is estimated to affect 20% of the US adult population. Intermittent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation caused by OSA likely affects cardiometabolic function. Individuals with OSA might be at risk of developing hypertension and type 2 diabetes (T2DM), with a dose-response relationship related to OSA severity. The objective of this study was to estimate the association between severity of OSA at diagnosis with 1) incidence of hypertension incidence of hypertension and 2) incidence of T2DM.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of Kaiser Permanente members diagnosed with OSA during 2000-2005. Adults without baseline hypertension or T2DM were eligible. Patients were excluded if hypertension or T2DM was diagnosed within one year prior to OSA diagnosis, and right censored at the end of follow-up or at the time Kaiser Permanente membership ended. Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox Proportional Hazard models were used to estimate the association between OSA severity and incident hypertension and incident diabetes.

Results: Overall 719 patients were diagnosed with OSA during the study periods; 614 were included as those at risk of developing either hypertension (N=265) or T2DM (N=489). Overall, 261 had severe OSA at diagnosis. Those with severe OSA were more likely to be middle aged, overweight, and have prevalent hypertension or T2DM. Among those without prevalent hypertension at OSA diagnosis, 47.4% (126/266) were subsequently diagnosed with hypertension. Among those without prevalent T2DM at OSA diagnosis, 16.3% (80/491) were subsequently diagnosed with T2DM. After adjusting for BMI and prevalent T2DM, the hazard rate of incident hypertension among patients with severe OSA was 1.35 (95%CI: 0.88-2.06) compared to the rate among patients with mild OSA. The hazard rate of incident T2DM among patients with severe OSA was 1.49 (95%CI: 0.83-2.67) compared to the rate among patients with mild OSA after adjusting for BMI and prevalent hypertension.

Discussion: We found high incidence rates of hypertension and T2DM among adults diagnosed with OSA. Severe OSA at diagnosis was associated with increased risk of either incident hypertension or T2DM, but not significantly (for p≤0.05).