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27 Sleep Apnea Statistics and Trends (2022)

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Sleep apnea often goes misdiagnosed and is much more common than most people think.

With global obesity rates still on the rise, sleep apnea will likely continue to become more and more common.

Let’s take a look at the most important statistics and facts about sleep apnea.

Top 5 Sleep Apnea Stats

  • Approximately 20% of adults have some degree of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Men are approximately 2.5 times as likely to develop sleep apnea than women.
  • Approximately 70% of all sleep apnea patients are obese.
  • The risk of heart failure in people with obstructive sleep apnea is 140% higher.
  • While CPAP treatment is effective, it has a high noncompliance rate, up to 40%.

Prevalence of Sleep Apnea Statistics

How Many Adults Have Sleep Apnea?

It’s estimated that 1 in 5 adults have at least mild obstructive sleep apnea, and 1 in 15 adults has at least moderate sleep apnea.

How Many Cases of Sleep Apnea Go Undiagnosed?

Estimates indicate that approximately 93% of women and 82% of men that have at least moderate sleep apnea are undiagnosed.

Because symptoms of sleep apnea are difficult to observe, the condition often goes undiagnosed. In most cases, it takes a sleep study to confirm a diagnosis.

Does Gender Affect Sleep Apnea Rates?

Dozens of studies have shown that men are approximately 2.5 times as likely to develop sleep apnea than women.

In the Wisconsin Cohort Study, the rates of sleep apnea in 30-60 year old men was 9-24%, while being just 4-9% in women.

While there are multiple factors, one of the most often noted differences is that men are more likely to have fat distribution that stores more around the neck area.

How Common is Sleep Apnea in People That Are Obese?

While the majority of sleep patients are obese, that doesn’t mean that all obese people have the condition.

However, being obese does raise the risk of developing sleep apnea. Research indicates that 26% of people with a BMI over 30 have sleep apnea, and 33% of people with a BMI over 40 have at least moderate sleep apnea.

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Causes of Sleep Apnea Statistics

How Many People With Sleep Apnea Are Obese?

The heavy majority of sleep apnea patients are overweight. Current estimates indicate that about 70% of sleep apnea patients are obese.

Are Older People More Likely to Develop Sleep Apnea?

The rates of sleep apnea go up dramatically as people get older. Research has shown that the rate of sleep apnea approximately triples in people that are older than 65 compared to adults that are 30-64 years old.

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Effects of Sleep Apnea Stats

Is Sleep Apnea Linked to Depression or Anxiety?

Sleep apnea has significant overlap with other serious conditions like depression and anxiety. A systematic review of over 70 publications found that 35% of sleep apnea patients have depressive symptoms, while 32% had anxiety disorder symptoms.

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Panic Attacks?

As sleep apnea is related to anxiety, it’s not surprising that research has also found that patients with sleep apnea are approximately 2.17 times more likely to have a panic disorder than people without the condition.

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Cardiovascular Health?

One of the biggest side effects of this condition is that sleep apnea causes high blood pressure.

This can damage blood vessels and have significant impacts on the cardiovascular system, leading to an:

  • Increased risk of heart failure of 2.4x
  • Increased risk of coronary heart disease of 1.3x
  • Increased risk of stroke of 1.6x

In addition, an estimated 30-70% of sleep apnea patients develop hypertension.

What Economic Impact Does Sleep Apnea Have?

Like all health disorders, sleep apnea impacts the productivity of a society.

Even after adjusting for comorbidities, patients with sleep apnea were still 1.61 times more likely to miss workdays.

In addition, studies indicate patients with sleep apnea are 2-3 times more likely to get into an accident.

Finally, research indicates that the United States would save over $11 billion if they were able to hypothetically treat all sleep apnea sufferers.

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Treatment Options for Apnea Statistics

How Well is CPAP Treatment Tolerated?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is very effective at reducing apnea episodes while sleeping, but doesn’t actually cure the underlying cause.

While it is the recommended first line of treatment in most cases, research shows that noncompliance is up to 40%. This is mainly due to the discomfort of wearing the device.

Note that CPAP does not cause weight loss, so it does not treat the underlying causes of sleep apnea.

Are Oral Appliances a Viable Alternative to CPAP?

Oral appliances are an alternative to CPAP that are more tolerable to most sleep apnea patients. They have a success rate of 54% for managing sleep apnea, proving useful for some patients, typically with milder cases of sleep apnea.

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Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.


About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.