What are the facts and stats about sleep apnea?

How many Americans have sleep-disordered breathing?

Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) includes obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); Central sleep apnea (CSA); Nocturnal hypoventilation and Cheyne–Stokes respiration (CSR) and approximately 42 million American adults have Sleep-disordered breathing (reference: Young et al. New England Journal of Medicine 1993).

Another amazing set of stats about sleep apnea is that it’s estimated that 1 in 5 adults has mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and 1 in 15 adults has moderate to severe OSA.  (reference: Young et al. Journal American Medical Association 2004). It could affect your friend, it could affect your relative, or it could affect you.

9% of middle-aged women and 25% of middle-aged men suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. (reference: Marshall et al. Sleep 2008).

To put this in perspective I would like to compare the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea to other common medical conditions. The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea is similar to asthma and diabetes which affects 20 million and 23.6 million of the United States population respectively. (reference: United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2008).

Although many people have sleep Apnea we are still super heroes.

Sleep Apnea Super Hero

Hypertension, Stroke and Sleep Apnea

In addition, 30%-83% of patients with hypertension have obstructive sleep apnea (reference: Logan et al. J Hypertens 2001 and Sjostrom et al. Thorax 2002). Also, 43% of patients with mild OSA and 69% of patients with severe OSA have hypertension (reference: Young et al. Sleep 2008). Although studies have shown that sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for hypertension the American Health Association guidelines on drug-resistant hypertension have shown that treatment of sleep apnea with CPAP likely improves blood pressure control.

The prevalence between sleep-disordered breathing and other conditions certainly doesn’t sound good but it gets worse because next up are the stats about sleep apnea and strokes.  Another one of the stats about sleep apnea says that 65% of stroke patients have sleep-disordered breathing (reference: Medicare – $20.4 billion p.a.). And up to 70% of patients in rehabilitation therapy following stroke have significant SDB (AHI >10) (reference: Kuniyoshi et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008).

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Educate yourself about sleep apnea and then educate the world to help save lives!