Sleep Facts

Sleep Disorder Facts

Sleep disorders are a relatively silent epidemic affecting countless people of all ages around the world. Men, women, and children — no group is spared. Some examples of debilitating sleep disorders are insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), restless legs syndrome, circadian rhythm disorders like narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder, and persistent sleep deprivation. To make matters worse, some types of sleep disorders increase the risk for obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and unexplained sudden death.

The reality is that sleep disorders can be deadly, as evidenced by the untimely passing of NFL great Reggie White who was known to have obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, numerous accidents and disasters have occurred as a result of impaired mental performance due to sleepiness related to sleep deprivation or sleep disorders. One of the most infamous accidents likely a result of cloudy judgment related to sleep deprivation was the Exxon Valdez oil spill tragedy that affected our planet’s wildlife and ecosystem off the coast of Alaska in 1989. Other examples of disasters at least partially attributed to sleep deprivation or disorders include the chemical accident at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine and the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in 1979.

Hypertension Links:

  • Studies have shown that sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for hypertension
  • 30-83% of patients with hypertension have sleep apnea
  • 43% of patient with mild OSAS and 69% of patients with severe OSAS have hypertension
  • AHA guidelines on drug-resistant hypertension have shown treatment of sleep apnea with CPAP likely improves blood pressure control

Type 2 Diabetes Links:

  • 48% of type 2 diabetes sufferers have sleep apnea
  • OSA may have casual role in the development of type 2 diabetes
  • OSA is associated with insulin resistance (independent of obesity)
  • 30% of patients presented to a sleep clinic have impaired glucose intolerance
  • Mild forms of Sleep Disordered Breathing may be important in predicting risk of pre-diabetes
  • 86% of obese type 2 diabetic patients suffer from sleep apnea

Stroke Risk:

  • 65% of stoke patients have sleep disordered breathing
  • Moderate to severe sleep apnea triples stoke risk in men

Mortality Links:

  • Sleep Disordered Breathing is associated with a threefold increase in mortality risk
  • There is an independent association to moderate to severe OSA with increased mortality risk
  • Severe sleep apnea raises the death risk by 46%

Healthcare Costs:

(Economic consequences of untreated sleep disordered breathing)

  • Undiagnosed patients used $200,000 more in the two-year period prior to diagnosis than matched controls.
  • Prior to sleep apnea diagnosis, patients utilized 23-50% more medical resources
  • Total economic cost of sleepiness = approximately 43-56 billion
  • Undiagnosed moderate to severe sleep apnea in middle-aged adults may cause 3.4 billion in additional cost in the US.

Traffic Accidents:

  • People with moderate to severe sleep apnea have up to 15 times higher risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
  • Treating all US drivers suffering from sleep apnea would save $11.1 billion in collision cost and save 980 lives annually.