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Which Countries Suffer From Sleep Apnea?

July 18, 2023


Which Countries Suffer From Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea, characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep, affects over a billion people worldwide. While sleep apnea can affect individuals regardless of their geographical location, certain factors such as lifestyle, demographics, and environmental conditions can contribute to its prevalence in specific countries. Here are the countries that report the most cases of sleep apnea and the possible reasons. 

United States 

With one of the highest prevalences of sleep apnea worldwide, many estimates say nearly a third of the US population experiences sleep apnea. Obesity is a leading factor contributing to the statistics. The aging population and often sedentary lifestyles also contributing significantly to this figure. 

It’s important to know that in the US, diagnostic tools and sleep clinics are widely available and accessible. This contributes to the diagnosis and awareness of sleep apnea.


China faces a considerable sleep apnea burden, enhanced in part by having the largest population on earth. A staggering 150 million people in the country experience sleep apnea, 10% of their population. The country’s rapid economic growth has resulted in lifestyle changes, including increased urbanization. This has caused greater exposure to pollution, and long working hours leading to stress. These factors often cause a more sedentary life and diet changes contributing to obesity rates and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.


One emerging hotspot for sleep apnea is Brazil. Similar to the United States, obesity rates play a significant role in increasing cases, with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and dietary patterns contributing to a rise in obesity levels in the country. Moreover, Brazil’s population has seen rapid urbanization and industrialization, which has brought about lifestyle changes, including irregular sleep patterns, increased stress levels, and exposure to pollution. 


Sleep apnea is also prevalent in Australia. Factors such as high obesity rates, genetic predisposition, and a predominantly Western lifestyle contribute to its occurrence. The Australian Sleep Health Foundation estimates that around 9% of the adult population in Australia has sleep apnea. A high prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes contribute to this figure, as these are comorbidities that significantly increase the risk of developing sleep apnea.

Middle Eastern Countries 

Several Middle Eastern, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, have experienced a recent surge in sleep apnea cases. Obesity rates and cultural factors influencing sedentary lifestyles have been identified as significant factors in the region. The prevalence of sleep apnea in Middle Eastern countries underscores the importance of raising awareness and implementing effective preventive measures.

Despite an increase in diagnoses worldwide, most experts agree the current figure is a severe underestimate. As technology to diagnose sleep apnea more effectively and accurately continues to develop, we will likely see a global increase in cases. 

If you are experiencing snoring, daytime sleepiness, or poor sleep quality, you may have undiagnosed sleep apnea. Visit www.advancedhomecareonline.com/sleep-studies to coordinate a sleep study and start your path to more restful nights. 

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