Estimation of the global prevalence and burden of obstructive sleep apnoea: a literature-based analysis PMC


Men have 4x higher rates of sleep apnea compared to women in this age group. Because symptoms of sleep apnea are difficult to observe, the condition often goes undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is the second most common sleep disorder in the world, and health experts are becoming more concerned about its effects as our population ages. To better understand and illustrate the impact of this growing epidemic, we’ve compiled the collection of sleep apnea statistics you’ll find below. One literature review says sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140%, the risk of stroke by 60%, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%. Around 38,000 people die from heart disease and sleep apnea each year.

Starting around age 30, your risk of developing sleep apnea increases until the age of 70. Sleep apnea has significant overlap with other serious conditions like depression and anxiety. A systematic review of over 70 publications found that 35% of sleep apnea patients have depressive symptoms, while 32% had anxiety disorder symptoms. However, being obese does raise the risk of developing sleep apnea. Research indicates that 26% of people with a BMI over 30 have sleep apnea, and 33% of people with a BMI over 40 have at least moderate sleep apnea.

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Second, we recognise that the parent studies from which we derived our estimates also have their own limitations, including first night effect, degree of sleep deprivation, body position, night to night variability, and participation and selection bias. Participation bias is an issue with many epidemiological studies and cannot easily be addressed with changing study design. Selection bias reflects the fact that people who are invited to participate might not be representative of the general population.


Almost 40,000 people with sleep apnea per year die from heart disease. The total number of people who die due to other sleep apnea-related conditions could be significantly higher. Men have about 3x higher rates of sleep apnea compared to women in this age group. Men have about 2x higher rates of sleep apnea compared to women in this age group.

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Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles that support the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax. When these muscles relax, your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off. But other conditions, like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are more of a mystery. Depression and PTSD show up at higher rates page in people with OSA compared to people without, though the research has yet to uncover if or how one condition causes the other. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is very effective at reducing apnea episodes while sleeping, but doesn’t actually cure the underlying cause. In addition, studies indicate patients with sleep apnea are 2-3 times more likely to get into an accident.

Treatment for OSA usually starts with CPAP therapy and lifestyle changes. However, there are alternative treatments as well, including Oral Appliance Therapy, Positional Therapy, surgery, and nerve implants. Early diagnosis supports a person in regaining healthy function, daytime these details performance, avoiding injury, and minimizing the risk of cardiovascular events. Statistical assistance with the generation of confidence interval values was provided by Colleen Kelly, an independent statistician, from Kelly Statistical Consulting, funded by ResMed.

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Manual scoring of sleep studies is also likely to result in interscorer variability, especially in scoring arousals, which could affect hypopnea scoring and partly explain the variation seen in the published prevalence data for obstructive sleep apnoea. Re-scoring the raw data from the original studies according to consistent criteria would be challenging and standardisation try what he says of equipment from previous studies is not possible. Instead, we attempted to make estimates based on these known sources of variance. As a result, there are wide confidence intervals around our estimates based on strict versus liberal criteria. Nonetheless, we are aware that much higher prevalence figures could be generated depending on the assumptions used.

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