Those who snore might not have sleep apnea, but, Punjabi said, those with sleep apnea usually snore. However, it is the times that the person with sleep apnea stops breathing — sometimes 70 to 80 — times per hour that are of the most concern, he said.
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Although men are often labeled as the snoring culprits, Punjabi said literature published 20 years ago said that's not 100-percent true. He said one out of four men have sleep apnea, and estimates one out of eight or nine women have it.
"The risk factors in women include being post-menopausal, being overweight and age," he said. "Similar risk factors exist in men, men that are overweight and obese, that are older, that have the typical symptoms of snoring, stopping breathing episodes, are the most at risk for having sleep apnea."
Minotti said the study designers estimate that at the end of the study, they would have seen between 200 and 250 participants. She said the study hopes to have recruited all of its participants by next fall.
The study is seeking people ages 21 and those younger than 75.
"To participate in the study, they can't be being treated for sleep apnea," Punjabi said. "We are looking for individuals who are "treatment naive." One of the first things they do, they actually get a simple home sleep monitor they take with them."
Minotti said participants will undergo an oral glucose intolerance test, as well as an IV glucose intolerance test. Other tests include an EKG, blood pressure tests, a Dexa scan, which measures muscle mass and bone density and body fat. But most importantly, sleep apnea must be established.
Participants who qualify for the study will first undergo a home sleep study.
"After we do those tests, we're asking those people to be treated with the treatment for sleep apnea, or not be treated for two months," Minotti said.
She said participants will return after that to repeat the tests. At that time there will be a group that had to wear the CPAP (continous positive airway pressure) machine and those who did not.
The commitment is between three and four months, Minotti said. And participants will be compensated for their time. She said there is the possibility of earning up to $860, depending on how far participants get in the study.
In addition to the money, participants will also be given their medical information so they can share it with a family doctor or find a sleep doctor in the area, Minotti said.
For Punjabi, he would just hope that those jokes about snoring would stop.
"We hope to raise the awareness of sleep apnea and that it's no longer a condition for party jokes of 'My spouse snores,'" he said. "... This study would hopefully add to that sort of knowledge base to determine whether treatment of sleep apnea may be related to risk factors of diabetes.
Want to participate?
To participate in Johns Hopkins study call SOMNOS Study recruiter at 410-550-4891.