Investigating the contribution of genes, fat distribution, and physical inactibity in obstructive sleep apnoea

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] Background and aims: Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder characterised by repetitive narrowing and collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Obesity is a common risk factor and therefore many studies account for the confounding influence of obesity on OSA by adjusting for the metric of body mass index (BMI). Nonetheless, the aetiological relationships between OSA and obesity are complex.

    The core aim of the research described in this thesis was to investigate the inter-relationships between OSA and obesity. Specifically, this was achieved by assessing the relationship in terms of genetic, physiological and environmental factors. Associated with the examination of OSA and obesity was the use of a case-control methodology where the control subjects were picked from a general population sample. A methodological investigation into the prevalence of undiagnosed OSA in a Western Australian community was conducted. Additionally, the capacity of a questionnaire-based method to identify subjects without moderate-severe OSA for use as suitable community controls was assessed. The first study examined whether genetic polymorphisms known to be associated with BMI were independently associated with OSA. The second study used dual-energy absorptiometry (DXA) to examine the role of fat distribution on the severity of OSA. The spectrum of severity in OSA is often attributed to variations in fat distribution; however, previous studies in this field have been compromised by small numbers and inadequate acknowledgement of the role of sex on fat distribution. The third component examined the contribution of environmental influences on obesity and OSA by the measurement of daily physical activity. There is evidence that vigorous exercise may modify the risk of OSA.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


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