It is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with 80 percent of the cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea undiagnosed. 

If we accept the reports that a minimum of 80% of Sleep Apnea is undiagnosed, then only 20% is actually addressed in any fashion.

  And we don’t know how many of those who have been diagnosed have been effectively treated. These figures suggest an epidemic health issue that is screaming for attention. The first step is universal screening and diagnosis but why are so many sleep apnea afflicted people undiagnosed?

The undiagnosed may fit into these categories:

1. Patients have no idea that such a thing as Sleep Apnea exists.

        Hard to believe it but there are such people.
2. They know about, but have no idea that they suffer from, Sleep Apnea .
        “Isn’t snoring normal?”  “Doesn’t everyone wake up 4-6 times a night?”
3. They know they have the symptoms of Sleep Apnea but are in denial.
        I know a smart lawyer who insists sleep apnea does not exist. He tells me that I am “just as bad as [his] wife” who listens to him snore and gasp for breath every night.
4. They know they have problems but refuse to do anything about it.
       Some have heard horror stories about CPAP machines and simply do not want to take action. They need to learn about the oral appliance therapy (OAT).
5. Misdiagnosed Sleep Apnea.
        There is a lack of knowledge of sleep apnea among many health professionals. Physicians are alerted only to the stereotypes but Sleep Apnea is a non-discriminating attacker- it effects people of all genders and ages.It is often misdiagnosed as ADHD.

It is sometimes very difficult to get these people to want to be screened and diagnosed by just telling them their symptoms are evidence of a serious disease.    It is necessary for them to “see” it for themselves and for them to adopt a top down approach – of their own volition.

The best way to do this is to educate them in the most simple, effective, non intimidating and cost effective way – we can show them films of OSA victims having sleep breathing events.  We must find a way to get them screened and filmed and then show them their results. This is an massive education deficit issue.


American Sleep Apnea Association

Indy Star,Lauran Neergaard, http:/ / articles/ 9/ 186972-5719-052.html

Detroit Free Press, Bill Dow,http:/ / news/ health/ sleep2e_20041102.htm