This study evaluated the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea-related symptoms and assessed the relationship with obesity or unusual sleep postures in Down syndrome patients in Japan. We obtained the demographic characteristics, sleep postures, and obstructive sleep apnea-related symptoms experienced by 90 people as reported by their caregivers. Although 71% reported snoring and 59% arousals, obstructive sleep apnea-related symptoms were not significantly different between obese and non-obese participants. The youngest age group had the fewest obstructive sleep apnea-related symptoms, especially symptoms of snoring. The odds for arousal, nocturia, and apnea tended to be higher in the unusual sleep-postures group. Unusual sleep postures were most frequent in the group 6-15 years of age. People with Down syndrome might sleep in unusual postures to avoid upper airway obstruction caused by other anatomical factors. For nurses and other health professionals working in mainstream service, it is important to screen all persons with Down syndrome for symptoms suggestive of obstructive sleep apnea, particularly those six years of age and older, and to refer them for further evaluation for sleep disorders.
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