According to a study in ERJ Open Research, about one in five people could have obstructive sleep apnea, but only a fraction of those affected have been diagnosed with the condition. Accordingly, only a few are being treated.
A survey of 20,151 adults in France found that 20.2 percent of 18-69 year olds show signs of obstructive sleep apnea. However, only 3.5 percent of those surveyed were therefore receiving treatment. Obstructive sleep apnea was more common in men when they were older, had cardiovascular disease, were socioeconomically disadvantaged, or were less physically active. Snoring and nocturnal breathing pauses were also more common among smokers and people showing signs of depression. Women were even more likely to go undiagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea than men.
dr Pauline Balagny from the Paris-Cité University said: “We know that obstructive sleep apnea is a major health risk. But when patients are diagnosed with the condition, they can receive treatments and advice to lower the risk. Our study suggests that obstructive sleep apnea is common, yet most sufferers are unaware they have the condition.”
People with obstructive sleep apnea often snore loudly, stop breathing, and may wake up repeatedly. This leads to daytime sleepiness and can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Treatment and lifestyle changes can help.
Which: DOI 10.1183/23120541.00053-2023