June 26, 2023 3 min read
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), known simply as sleep apnea, is a highly prevalent sleep disorder. It is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, which can last anywhere from 10 seconds to over a minute . These episodes lead to chronically fragmented sleep and increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even early death .
But how common is sleep apnea exactly, and which country is most affected? Well, research carried out by ResMed has found some surprising numbers when it comes to the global burden of sleep apnea. According to their findings, not all parts of the world are affected equally. Find out which country has the highest rate of this common sleep problem below.
Sleep experts and researchers have known for a long time that sleep apnea is fairly common. But until a couple of years ago, estimating its prevalence in the general population was a guessing game. This is due to a lack of statistical analyses and because the majority of sleep apnea cases remain undiagnosed .
But a 2019 study by ResMed, which was presented by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society, is the first to give us close estimates .
Three major findings from this study are:
The same study also looked at the available data to determine sleep apnea prevalence by country. The researchers searched PubMed and Embase to find studies reporting sleep apnea prevalence and used a conversion algorithm for countries outside the United States. The results were as follows:
The rising global prevalence of sleep apnea is due to more people being overweight and older than in decades past, according to the researchers carrying out this study. Obesity rates have doubled over the past four decades . And according to the World Health Organization, 1 in 6 people will be over 60 years by 2030 .
Both older age and obesity are the leading risk factors for OSA, explaining its growing prevalence. What this also means is that more people are at risk of its sequelae, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
But sleep apnea is preventable and treatable. Losing weight, following a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can lower your risk of many chronic diseases, sleep apnea included. If you suspect you may have the disease, seeing a sleep specialist is the first step toward treatment, which may include conservative measures, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, ororal appliance therapy.
February 20, 2024 3 min read
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