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Researchers point out that the prevalence of sleep apnea is much higher than the number of people treated.

Sleep apnea “is manifested by repeated and uncontrolled interruptions of breathing during sleep”, recalls Inserm. In a study recently published in the European Respiratory Journal, scientists studied more than 20,000 patients, only 3.5% of whom were being treated for sleep apnea. They reveal that in this sample, the prevalence would be much higher.

Sleep apnea syndrome leads to incessant micro-awakenings, without the patient realizing it: apneas are estimated to last 10 to 30 seconds and occur at least 5 times per hour of sleep, recalls Inserm. The consequences are: snoring, chronic fatigue (sleep is not restorative), drowsiness during the day, and cardiovascular disorders can result.

The older you get, the more likely you are to develop it.

It concerns more men, and increases with age and overweight, notes Inserm, which reports that at least 30% of over 65s would be affected. “Nevertheless, these numbers are likely underestimated given the asymptomatic nature of the syndrome in some people.”

And this is precisely what the study underlines, which found that in the cohort studied, one in five people are likely to suffer from apnea, according to a questionnaire specializing in sleep apnea, the Berlin test, completed by the participants, i.e. 20% of patients followed, against 3.5% detected. The researchers note that sleep apnea should be further investigated in patients who present with depressive symptoms in particular.

Sources: Inserm, European Respiratory Journal

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