The epidemiology of adult obstructive sleep apnea.

Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.
Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society 03/2008; 5(2):136-43. DOI: 10.1513/pats.200709-155MG
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition characterized by frequent episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep. Its effect on nocturnal sleep quality and ensuing daytime fatigue and sleepiness are widely acknowledged. Increasingly, obstructive sleep apnea is also being recognized as an independent risk factor for several clinical consequences, including systemic hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and abnormal glucose metabolism. Estimates of disease prevalence are in the range of 3% to 7%, with certain subgroups of the population bearing higher risk. Factors that increase vulnerability for the disorder include age, male sex, obesity, family history, menopause, craniofacial abnormalities, and certain health behaviors such as cigarette smoking and alcohol use. Despite the numerous advancements in our understanding of the pathogenesis and clinical consequences of the disorder, a majority of those affected remain undiagnosed. Simple queries of the patient or bed-partner for the symptoms and signs of the disorder, namely, loud snoring, observed apneas, and daytime sleepiness, would help identify those in need of further diagnostic evaluation. The primary objective of this article is to review some of the epidemiologic aspects of obstructive sleep apnea in adults.

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