Public health and safety are threatened by the increasing prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea, which now afflicts at least 25 million adults in the US, according to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.
Several new studies highlight the destructive nature of obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic disease that increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression.
“Obstructive sleep apnea is destroying the health of millions of Americans, and the problem has only gotten worse over the last two decades,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, a national spokesperson for the Healthy Sleep Project. “The effective treatment of sleep apnea is one of the keys to success as our nation attempts to reduce health care spending and improve chronic disease management.”
Data previously published in the American Journal of Epidemiology show that the estimated prevalence rates of obstructive sleep apnea have increased substantially over the last two decades, most likely due to the obesity epidemic. It is now estimated that 26 percent of adults between the ages of 30 and 70 years have sleep apnea.
Findings from new studies emphasize the negative effects of sleep apnea on brain and heart health; however, these health risks can be reduced through the effective treatment of sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure therapy:
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