31+ key sleep apnea stats for 2023

Sleep Apnea in the United States Statistics

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders on the planet, with some researchers finding that up to a billion people experience a form of it. While sleep apnea demographics include people of all ages, genders, and races, there are some factors that increase your risk of developing it, including obesity.


While sleep apnea can affect people of either gender, it is more common for men to be diagnosed with sleep apnea.

sleep apnea in men vs.  women


People of almost any age can develop sleep apnea, but older adults are most at risk.

risk of sleep apnea with age

Statistics of causes and risk factors of sleep apnea

Like most disorders, there is no single cause of sleep apnea. Rather, it is usually a combination of factors that contribute to the disorder.

Sleep apnea symptoms

Symptoms of sleep apnea include more than just snoring, although snoring is an indicator of sleep apnea. Many signs of sleep apnea, such as depression and other mental health issues, can be attributed to other causes, which is why so many people are not properly diagnosed.

The American Sleep Apnea Association lists the following symptoms.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Loud snoring at night with cases of choking or shortness of breath.
  • Feeling excessively sleepy during the day.
  • Having headaches that last for several hours in the morning.
  • Having a dry mouth upon waking up.
  • Restless sleep.
  • Need to get up to urinate during the night.
  • Feeling angry and frustrated.
  • Having the focus reduced.

Central sleep apnea symptoms

  • Breathing problems during sleep, including pauses in breathing and slow or rapid breathing.
  • Having excessive sleep during the day.
  • Waking up in the middle of the night.
  • Feeling chest pain or shortness of breath at night.
  • Having trouble concentrating.
  • Headaches in the morning.
If you or a loved one is dealing with several of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about being screened for sleep apnea. They may ask you some Epworth Sleepiness Scale questions or prescribe a sleep study.

sleep apnea symptoms

Sleep apnea side effects

While a single night of poor sleep can leave you feeling tired and a little low, the side effects of untreated sleep apnea can be highly disturbing and dangerous.

Sleep apnea treatment

If you think you might have sleep apnea, don’t worry. There are several treatment options available for mild, moderate, and severe cases.

  • Losing weight can help reduce the effects and severity of sleep apnea. (Sleep Foundation)
  • A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is one of the most common ways to treat apnea. It creates a constant flow of air at just the right pressure level to help you breathe while you sleep. (Sleep Foundation)
  • CPAPs can help reduce the risk of heart failure in patients over 60 years of age. (Sleep Foundation)
  • Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) machines are similar to CPAPs, but instead of delivering a stream of air at the same pressure, these devices automatically adjust the amount of air pressure based on the person’s breathing rate. (Sleep Foundation)
  • BiPAP (Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure) machines change the amount of pressure they deliver based on the user’s inhalations and exhalations. (Sleep Foundation)
  • Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are specially designed mouthpieces that position the mandible in such a way as to keep the airway open. (National Library of Medicine)
  • Surgical options are available but represent a very small percentage of sleep apnea treatments (approximately 0.2%). (National Library of Medicine)
  • Sleep apnea treatment can lower your blood pressure even when you are awake. (American Heart Association)

CPAP Statistics

A CPAP machine is one of the most common sleep apnea aids. The machine connects to a face mask via a hose that forces a constant flow of air into a sleeping person’s airway to prevent the airway from collapsing. There are a number of positive effects of this treatment. Many people sleep better, wake up feeling better, and don’t feel as tired during the day.

  • Nearly 8 million people in the US use a CPAP machine. (Forbes)
  • A common reason people discontinue CPAP therapy is the discomfort caused by the mask. (National Library of Medicine)
  • There are several different types of masks that can make CPAP therapy more comfortable, including full face masks, nasal masks that cover the nose, and nasal pillow masks that only cover the nostrils. (Sleep Apnea.org)
  • Evidence shows that long-term use of CPAP can reduce mortality and the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. (National Library of Medicine)
  • People report a 20% or more improvement in quality of life after three months of CPAP therapy. (National Library of Medicine)
Some machines, including some CPAPS made by Philips, were recalled after injuring people. Talk to your doctor if your mask is not fitting properly or if you are uncomfortable using the machine. They can help you find ways to better fit your mask so you can sleep better.

cpap tips

Frequently asked questions about sleep apnea

How many people have sleep apnea?
Researchers estimate that 26% of people in the United States ages 30 to 70 have sleep apnea.

How many sleep apnea deaths occur per year?
Nearly 40,000 people with sleep apnea each year die from heart disease. The total number of people who die due to other sleep apnea-related conditions could be significantly higher.

How common is sleep apnea by age?
You are more likely to develop sleep apnea as you age. From the age of 30, the risk of developing sleep apnea increases until the age of 70.

How many people have untreated sleep apnea?
There is no definitive answer, but researchers estimate that 80% of people with sleep apnea are not being treated.

Are there surgical options for treating sleep apnea?
There are several surgical options for sleep apnea that work to correct the underlying causes of sleep apnea, including:

  • Jaw and nose surgeries. There are several operations that can change the orientation of the jaw or correct problems that impede the flow of air through the nostrils.
  • sound design. This surgery uses radiofrequency to reduce the soft tissue in the area around the trachea.
  • Tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy. Removing the tonsils and adenoids can help create enough space to breathe more easily. This surgery is usually performed on children with obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep better and improve your quality of life: tips for people with sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is treatable. Taking the time to talk with your doctor to get a diagnosis is the first step on the journey to better sleep. In addition to what they suggest, there are other actions you can take to sleep better and improve the quality of your sleeping (and waking) life. Check out the infographic below for some ways to take care of your sleep apnea.

sleep apnea statistics for 2023

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making any health care decisions.

31+ key sleep apnea stats for 2023

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