First Nation Communities and Causes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

First Nation Communities

A recent study published in Biomed Central Pulmonary Medicine assesses the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness in First Nation communities across Canada.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is associated with factors including body mass index, age, and sex. Environmental influences such as socioeconomic status and employment also impact excessive daytime sleepiness. Development of the condition may result in reduced work performance, vehicle accidents, and other injuries. Previous research has documented the occurrence of excessive daytime sleepiness in Caucasian populations within Canada.

Globally, the highest rates of excessive daytime sleepiness have been identified in Indigenous populations from New Zealand. In Canada, First Nation populations have witnessed the prevalence of respiratory conditions and socio-economic disadvantages, both of which are contributing factors to excessive daytime sleepiness. A study published by Biomed Central Pulmonary Medicine determines the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness in two First Nation populations within Canada.

The research assessment was conducted by the University of Saskatchewan in two Cree First Nation reserves. The study utilized data from the First Nations Lung Health Project in 2012 and 2013. Research assistants informed individuals within these communities of the project using brochures that outlined the purpose and process of the study. Following the first stage, members of the community who were at or over the age of 17 years attended health centres where interviewers facilitated the completion of questionnaires. The individuals also participated in clinical assessments. The study measured the extent of daytime sleepiness using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Excessive daytime sleepiness was identified as a score greater than 10.

The study identified 874 applicable participants within the two First Nation communities. Researchers determined valid Epworth Sleepiness Scale scores for 829 individuals. Eleven percent of the participants were classified with excessive daytime sleepiness. Within the sample populations studied, the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness in women was greater than in men. The researchers statistically analyzed the correlation between excessive daytime sleepiness and respiratory conditions, snoring, and environmental conditions. They found significant associations between all these factors and the occurrence of excessive daytime sleepiness.

The research presents valuable information pertaining to First Nation populations in Saskatchewan. Due to differing lifestyles and environmental conditions between communities, the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness can vary significantly. As a result, the study offers useful data, allowing healthcare professionals to address the source of excessive daytime sleepiness within First Nation communities and suggest effective and case-based treatment methods. Further research extending to other First Nation communities across Canada may contribute to increasingly accurate data and solidify the findings of this study.

Written by Shrishti Ahuja, HBSc

Reference: Van Der Spuy, I., Karunanayake, C. P., Dosman, J. A., McMullin, K., Zhao, G., Abonyi, S., . . . Pahwa, P. (2017). Determinants of excessive daytime sleepiness in two First Nation communities. Biomed Central Pulmonary Medicine. doi: 10.1186/s12890-017-0536-x

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