The implications of sleep apnoea continue to be studied from a number of aspects, and there is little doubt that it is a common condition with the possibility of serious consequences.
Research has shown that a person deprived of sleep has the same impaired judgement and response times as a driver with an illegal blood alcohol concentration1. This means that a sleep-deprived person is more likely to have an accident while operating a motor vehicle or machinery.
The long-term risks of failing to treat sleep apnoea may include complications such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure/hypertension, further increasing the cost to the patient and healthcare provider.
Estimates on the presence of sleep disorders in such diseases is high2:
|Presence sleep disorders*|
|Diabetes type 2||80%|
|Congestive heart failure||50%|
From a cost perspective, the consequences of sleep- related diseases in the US alone are estimated as follows3,4:
38,000 vascular deaths accountable to sleep apnoea effects
800,000 sleep apnoea-related highway accidents causing 1,400 fatalities
Overall cost of USD 16 bn
Overall, it is estimated today that 4% of men and 2% of women in middle age suffer from this condition5.
1 Haraldsson PO, Akerstedt T, Institutionen för öron-, näs- och halssjukdomar, Karolinska institutet. per-olle.haraldsson@. Drowsiness – greater traffic hazard than alcohol. Causes, risks and treatment. Lakartidningen 2001 Jun 20;98(25):3018-23.
2 Logan et al., J. Hypertension 2001. Einhorn et al., 2007 In Press. Maisel et al., HFSA 2007. Sjostrom et al., Circulation 2004.
3 Mehra, Reena. Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Cardiovascular Disease: Exploring Pathophysiology and Existing Data. Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews, Volume 3, Number 4, November 2007, pp. 258-269(12). Publisher: Bentham Science Publishers.
4 Sassani A, Findley LJ, Kryger M, Goldlust E, George C, Davidson TM. Reducing motor-vehicle collisions, costs, and fatalities by treating obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. Sleep 2004;27:453–458.
5 Young T. The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults. N Engl J Med 1993; 328(17):1230-1235.