Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Metabolic Syndrome in Spanish Population

Bienvenido Barreiro*, 1, Luis Garcia2, Lourdes Lozano1, Pere Almagro3, Salvador Quintana1, Monserrat Alsina4 , Jose Luis Heredia1
1 Pneumology Department, Hospital Universitario Mutua Terrassa, University of Barcelona
2 Endocrinology Department, Hospital Universitario Mutua Terrassa, University of Barcelona
3 Internal Medicine Department, Hospital Universitario Mutua Terrassa, University of Barcelona
4 Immunology Department, CatLab, Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain

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© Barreiro et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Pneumology Department, Hospital Universitario Mutua Terrassa, Dr Robert, 5, 08221 Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain; Fax: 34-937836631; E-mail:


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a clinical picture characterized by repeated episodes of obstruction of the upper airway. OSA is associated with cardiovascular risk factors, some of which are components of metabolic syndrome (MS).


First, determine the prevalence of MS in patients with OSA visited in sleep clinic. Second, evaluate whether there is an independent association between MS components and the severity of OSA.


Patients with clinical suspicion of OSA were evaluated by polysomnography. Three groups were defined according to apnea hypoapnea index (AHI): no OSA (AHI <5), mild-moderate (AHI≥ 5 ≤30), and severe (AHI> 30). All patients were determined in fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin. MS was defined according to criteria of National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).


A total of 141 patients (mean age 54 ± 11 years) were evaluated. According to AIH, 25 subjects had no OSA and 116 had OSA (41mild-moderate and 75 severe). MS prevalence ranged from 43-81% in OSA group. Also, a significant increase in waist circumference, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure levels, and a decrease in HDL cholesterol levels was observed in more severe OSA patients. All polysomnographic parameters correlated significantly with metabolic abnormalities. After a multiple regression analysis, abdominal obesity (p <0.02), glucose (p <0.01) and HDL cholesterol (p <0.001) were independently associated with OSA.


Our findings show high prevalence of MS in OSA, especially in severe group. A significant association between OSA and some of the components of MS was found in Spanish population.

Keywords: : Obstructive sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome, HDL cholesterol, insulin resistance..