24%The effect on health, quality of life and safety has led obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to become a significant public health issue. There are millions of people that suffer from all degrees of sleep disordered breathing from simple snoring without pathology to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Epidemiology
The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study estimated in 1993 that roughly one in every 15 Americans were affected by at least moderate sleep apnea.5 6 It also estimated that in middle-age as many as nine percent of women and 24 percent of men were affected, undiagnosed and untreated.5 6 7
Obstructive sleep apnea is not typically recognized as a chronic disease that is a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes have more readily been accepted as major epidemics and threat to good health. Sleep disordered breathing affects as many as 9% of middle-aged women and 24% of middle aged men.1 The National Sleep Foundation reports that as many as 18 million people suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.2 Population studies from the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia have shown a high prevalence of un-diagnosed sleep apnea in adults.3 Studies show as many as 90% of individuals with sleep apnea are un-diagnosed.4


1 Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J, Skatrud J, Weber S, Badr S. The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults. The New England Journal Of Medicine 1993;328(17):1230-35.
2 The National Sleep Foundation. Sleep Apnea and Sleep; 2009.
3 Young T, Peppard PE, Gottlieb DJ. Epidemiology of obstructive sleep apnea - A population health perspective. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2002;165(9):1217-39.
4 Young T, Evans L, Finn L, Palta M. Estimation of the clinically diagnosed proportion of sleep apnea syndrome in middle-aged men and women. Sleep 1997;20(9):705-06.
5 Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J, Skatrud J, Weber S, Badr S (April 1993). "The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults". The New England Journal of Medicine 328 (17): 1230–5.
6 Lee W, Nagubadi S, Kryger MH, Mokhlesi B (June 1, 2008). Epidemiology of obstructive sleep apnea: a population-based perspective
7 Young T, Peppard PE, Gottlieb DJ (May 2002). "Epidemiology of obstructive sleep apnea: a population health perspective". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 165 (9): 1217–39.

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Diagnosing OSA

While qualified Dentists play an important role in treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Dentists are not permitted to diagnose Sleep Apnea.