Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which a person’s soft palate and airway can collapse while they are asleep and cause them to stop breathing. It has a detrimental effect on more than just a good night’s sleep. Sleep apnea can lead to a number of medical conditions that can persist during the daytime, even when you’re breathing normally. Aside from a poor night’s sleep greatly affecting your waking hours; sleep apnea can also cause medical issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Just how common is this sleep disorder and who suffers from it?
• Sleep apnea is estimated to affect four percent of men and two percent of women.
• One of every five American adults experience at least a mild form of sleep apnea.
• Before the age of 50, men are much more likely to develop sleep apnea. After the age of 50, the risk for developing the disorder is the same in both sexes.
• Over sixty percent of people over the age of 65 experience sleep apnea.
• It’s estimated that only twenty percent of people with sleep apnea have been officially diagnosed and treated for the disorder.
• The more obese you are, the more likely it is that you suffer from sleep apnea. Over seventy percent of people who are clinically obese suffer from sleep apnea.
• Although it is unlikely, sleep apnea can develop at any age. Even an infant can suffer from the disorder. Barring children that are not obese and otherwise normally healthy, less than three percent of children under eight years of age experience sleep apnea. Removal of the tonsils and adenoids usually cures sleep apnea in children.
• If your neck measures greater than seventeen inches around, you are more likely to experience sleep apnea.
• Between thirty and fifty percent of people who already have some underlying heart condition also suffer from sleep apnea.
• One of every three police officers experience sleep apnea along with raising the odds of having heart disease by 45 percent and depression by 120 percent.
• Over fifty percent of individuals living with Down Syndrome have sleep apnea. As the individuals get older, the likelihood of experiencing sleep apnea increases.
Edward Grandi, Executive Director of the American Sleep Apnea Association states “Sleep apnea is a major health concern worldwide.” Furthermore, “It’s common but under-diagnosed, and the effects of untreated sleep apnea can be quite serious.” It is believed the actual number of people experiencing a sleeping disorder jumps to 33 percent; 24 percent in men and nine percent in women. Many conditions can be managed if diagnosed correctly.