The research and collection of data for sleep apnea statistics are changing and improving all the time. In a few years from now, we should have a more accurate picture of sleep apnea and sleep disorders from improved and advanced data sources.
According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, approximately 38,000 deaths occur each year relate to cardiovascular problems that in one way or another are connected to sleep apnea.
Number of people affected by Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Number of people affected by OSA by gender
This would indicate that men are at a higher risk of OSA than women. Or is this because more men have been part of the data collection?
Men are at risk of sleep disorders because of the location of fat when weight is gained as they age. It deposits around the neck and abdomen weighing down the airway and lungs.
28% of men over 65 have sleep apnea according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Men with severe sleep apnea are three times more likely to have a stroke than men without sleep apnea.
Women are at risk, especially after the age of 50 and as they enter into the menopause.
10% of post-menopausal women have sleep apnea. Oestrogen and progesterone, the two hormones that seem to protect women from sleep disordered breathing, cease to be produced as they age.
24% of women over the age of 65 have sleep apnea according to the National Sleep Foundation.
The National Institute of Health estimates that until recently, 75% of the research on sleep was conducted on men, looking at insomnia, poor sleep and sleep breathing disorders such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. These conditions are now being identified in women more and more as the research progresses.
Between 1 and 4% of children suffer from sleep disorders and between 3 and 12% of children are habitual snorers according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Growth retardation occurs in 7% of infants born to mothers who snored while pregnant according to Franklin et al (2000).
Children with Sleep Breathing Disorders require 226% more health care than children without Sleep Breathing Disorders according to Reuveni et al (2002).
The IQ score, attention span and memory skills in children with Sleep Breathing Disorders are lower compared to children with Sleep Breathing Disorders according to Kennedy et al (2004).
25% of children with ADHD have symptoms of OSA.
Behaviour problems, learning difficulties, retarded growth, bed wetting, sleep walking and other metabolic and hormonal problems can be a consequence of OSA or chronic fragmented sleep.
Recent studies showed a close association between childhood obesity and pediatric sleep disorders.
Find out more about Sleep Apnea in Children, how they are affected and treated.
Number of people affected by different levels of OSA
Risk factors for sleep apnea based on ResMed’s Sleep Apnea Facts and Figures
Effects of sleep disorder on young adults
It could be argued that this is not a sleep apnea statistic but more a reflection on young people and their lifestyle today who don't necessarily have sleep apnea or a sleep disorder but more a lack of sleep. It is up to the reader to decide how to interpret the sleep apnea statistics.
Effects of treatment following diagnosis of OSA
Sleep apnea statistics are only useful when an accurate sample is used. Many research studies have been carried out with the majority of male participants which does not give an accurate overall picture.
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