Nocturnal Problems in Postpolio Syndrome: Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Nocturia


  • Eileen R. Chasens DSN RN,

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    • Eileen R. Chasens is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her research interests include sleep disorders, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and gerontology.

  • Mary Umlauf PhD RN,

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    • Mary Umlauf is an associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

  • Thamban Valappil PhD,

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    • Thamban Valappil is a mathematical biostatician for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  • Karan P. Singh PhD

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    • Karan P. Singh is a professor and director of biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of North Texas Science Center in Fort Worth, TX.

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Nocturia, generally accepted as an inevitable consequence of aging, is also a symptom of a potentially lethal condition—obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The descriptive study reported in this article examined nocturia and sleep-related breathing problems in persons with postpolio syndrome (PPS) and tested the Sleep Disordered Breathing—Nocturia Model. This model describes the cascade of events that results in polyuria in persons with sleep-related breathing disorders. Data were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics. A 34-item questionnaire was published in the newsletter of a national polio support group, and the 584 respondents constituted a convenience sample. The results showed statistically significant associations between OSA symptoms, nocturia, poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, lower urinary tract symptoms, naps, and decreased self-rated health. Study limitations were the use of a convenience sample and possible self-selection of persons with more severe sleep and bladder problems. The results support the model and document how nocturia and sleep disturbances negatively impact persons with PPS.