The prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing seems to be increasing in the United States, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2013;177:1006-1014).
Paul E. Peppard, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues used data from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study to estimate the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in the United States for the periods of 1988 to 1994 and 2007 to 2010. Participants (1,520 adults aged 30 to 70 years) were randomly selected from an employed Wisconsin population and had undergone baseline polysomnography studies. Repeat studies were performed at four-year intervals. Moderate to severe sleep-disordered breathing was defined as 15 or more events/hour, measured using the apnea-hypopnea index.
For men, the current prevalence estimates of moderate to severe sleep-disordered breathing were 10% for 30-49-year-olds and 17% for 50- to 70-year-olds. For women, the corresponding prevalence estimates were 3% and 9%.
These estimated prevalence rates represent substantial increases over the last two decades, the authors wrote.