Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.
Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is estimated to affect
about 4% of men and 2% of women. In one study of people over 18 years of age,
obstructive sleep apnea was estimated to develop in 1.5% of people per year
over the 5 year study. It is probably more common than either of these numbers
because the population is becoming more obese, and
obesity worsens obstructive sleep apnea. More shocking is the
estimate that only 10% of people with obstructive sleep apnea are currently receiving treatment and many patients with sleep apnea remain undiagnosed.
Some groups are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
Men are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea
than women before age 50.
After age 50, the risk is the same in men and women.
Among obese patients, 70% have obstructive sleep
apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea worsens in severity and prevalence with
Among patients with heart disease 30% to 50% have obstructive sleep
apnea, and among patients with strokes, 60% have obstructive sleep apnea.
A recent study estimated that 14% of NFL football
players and 34% of NFL linemen have obstructive sleep apnea.
African-Americans have a 2.5 times greater risk of obstructive sleep
apnea than Caucasians. In India, 7.5% of males have obstructive sleep apnea. Chinese males have
a 4% prevalence and Chinese females a 2% prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea. This is interesting
because the prevalence is similar to American Caucasians, but the Chinese
population is generally smaller and less obese than the general American
population. Therefore, something besides obesity must be the explanation for
obstructive sleep apnea in the Chinese population. We do not understand the reasons for these differences, but studies
are ongoing to better define the risks.
The prevalence of sleep apnea in nonobese and otherwise healthy children younger than 8 years old is somewhere between 1% to 3%. Obstructive sleep apnea may develop in children of all ages, even in infants. Prematurely born infants are at a higher risk to develop sleep apnea.