Sleep apnea epidemiology and demographics
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The true prevalence of sleep apnea is difficult to estimate because mild cases may remain undiagnosed, and the majority of patients only present following the development of clinical manifestations. Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder, and clinical manifestations often develop as the disease progresses. Accordingly, elderly patients are more commonly diagnosed with sleep apnea than younger adults. Male gender and African American race are associated with higher prevalence of sleep apnea compared with female gender and other ethnicities.
- The true prevalence of sleep apnea is difficult to estimate because mild cases may remain undiagnosed, and the majority of patients only present following the development of clinical manifestations.
- In the general population, sleep apnea prevalence is estimated to range from 3,000 to 7,000 per 100,000 individuals
- Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder, and clinical manifestations often develop as the disease progresses. Accordingly, elderly patients are more commonly diagnosed with sleep apnea than younger adults.
- Compared with younger adults, the prevalence of sleep apnea is 2 to 3 greater among individuals older than 60-65 years of age
- Sleep apnea is more common among males
- The male:female ratio ranges between 2:1 to 3:1
- The prevalence of sleep apnea is approximately 3,000-7,000 per 100,000 for adult men and 2,000-5,000 per 100,000 for adult women
- The increased prevalence among males may be attributable to the larger neck circumference and a longer pharyngeal airway
- Compared with Caucasian and Asian race, African-American race is associated with a 2-3 fold increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea
- Sleep apnea due to craniofacial factors is more frequently observed among Chinese patients than among Caucasians.
- The predilection of central sleep apnea based on race is unknown.
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